How To Cook Your First Christmas Dinner - Turkey Timings, Temperatures, Tips And Hour-by-hour Instructions

There are a lot of jobs that can be done the night before Christmas, which will help you to save time on the big day. You can get lots of prep work sorted in advance, maximising quality time with the family when it matters the most.

The Night Before

In the first instance, you'll need to work out how long you need to cook your turkey or meat for. Remember to account for its weight, as the heavier your bird, the longer it will need in the oven.

The Day Itself

It's time to release the bird from the fridge - let your turkey come up to room temperature. You could use this quiet time in the morning to prepare your veggies - if you haven't already - so that you're ready for the main event.


Next, warm your oven up to 180 degrees. While that's happening, you could think about setting the table. Or, ask someone else to do it - you are cooking, after all!


Now it's time to pop the turkey in the oven. Everyone has their theory about cooking a turkey, but we recommend cooking it in a little foil house.


Baste your turkey. Don't skip this step - just don't! For those who don't know, that means spooning some of the juices that should by now be collecting at the bottom of the roasting tray back over the meat.


Back again with another reminder to baste your turkey again. It should be smelling delicious now.


Okay one more baste. This time, take the foil off the bird so that the skin can get super crispy.


Get the turkey out of the oven, cover it back over in foil, and leave it to rest. Now it's time to tackle the trimmings.


Carefully - and I mean carefully - take the tray of hot oil out of the oven and lower your potatoes into the fat in a single layer. Roll them over so they're coated and put the tray back in the oven.


Add a tablespoon of honey and a sprinkle of flour to your parsnips, and a drizzle of honey to your carrots (a splash of red wine vinegar or a squeeze of clementine juice is also good with carrots, if you like), then add olive oil or butter - or both - and roast both for 40 minutes.


Give all your roasting vegetables a good shuffle. Then it's time for the sprouts - not everyone likes them, so feel free to skip this step, but we like ours best roasted in the oven.


Add any cheese or breadcrumb toppings you like with your cauliflower cheese, then pop this in the oven for 20 minutes to cook.


Ask someone to start carving up the turkey and heating the gravy and sauces through - delegation is key in these last steps.


You're done! Grab everything out of the oven and dish it up however you like. Don't forget to turn the oven off, dish out the Christmas crackers, and pour a large glass of bubbly for yourself. You've earned it!


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