Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey recipe is a Christmas favourite. Learn how to cook the perfect turkey with this tried-and-tested recipe from the British chef.
Gordon Ramsay‘s roast turkey recipe is flavoured with lemon, parsley and garlic. Gordon Ramsay says: “This is my favourite way to roast turkey – with a savoury butter under the skin to keep the breast meat moist and flavourful. To ensure both the turkey and pork stuffing are cooked properly, I bake the stuffing separately. Another of my secrets is to rest the turkey for a couple of hours or more. As it relaxes, the juices are re-absorbed, making the meat succulent, tender and easier to carve. It may seem like a long time, but the texture will be improved the longer you leave the turkey to rest. Piping hot gravy will restore the heat.”
- 1 free-range turkey (ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze), about 5–5.5kg
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 onions, peeled and halved
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
- 6 bay leaves
- olive oil, to drizzle
- 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:
- 375g butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well to combine.
Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)
Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180°C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.
Top tips for making Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic butter
How to keep the turkey moist
The butter in this recipe keeps the turkey moist which is important things as it's such a lean meat. Adding bacon to the top of the turkey (after 10 mins in the oven, and basting) also helps to protect the roast turkey from drying out when cooking.
How do you stop the butter from burning when roasting a turkey?
The olive oil in the butter mixture stops the butter mixture from burning in the turkey. Drizzle the turkey with oil before cooking, too. This will help the skin crisp up and again, stop the butter from burning.
How to prepare the garlic for a roast turkey
Make sure you puree and crush the garlic before adding to the butter mix so it infuses into the meat without being too overpowering.
How to stuff a roast turkey
Cutting the onions in halves before you place in the cavity. This will make transference of the flavour into the bird's meat, all the more easy.
How do you stuff turkey with butter?
When adding the butter, add under the skin, pin the opening down and massage the butter into the middle of the bird to make sure the butter is evenly spread. The remaining butter should be massaged on the outside of the bird over the breast, wings and legs.
Can you prepare the turkey the night before?
You can do all the prep for the turkey the night before. Just cover the turkey in tin foil once you’ve buttered and stuffed it. You can then store in the fridge overnight ready to cook first thing Christmas or Thanksgiving morning.
For more information about resting turkey and absolutely everything else you need to know about cooking a festive turkey can be found in our Ultimate Christmas turkey cooking guide.