Home Healthy Eating 🦃 Best Way To Cook A Turkey + VIDEO PLUS easy cooking...

🦃 Best Way To Cook A Turkey + VIDEO PLUS easy cooking schedule


Whether you have never cooked a turkey before, and want to know the best way to cook a turkey with bacon, or you need an easy-to-follow guide, I will teach you everything you need to know.

There is a quick and easy cooking schedule for you. You will learn the secret to NEVER having dry turkey ever again. Heck, there’s even FREE printable Christmas gift tags and a FREE printable sugar-free advent calendar.

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collage showing the best way to cook a turkey

Why is roast turkey sometimes dry?

Because turkey is low-fat meat and has to be cooked for hours, it can easily dry out. To avoid your turkey from being dry, you need to trap in all the moisture and fat the turkey does have AND add as much moisture and flavour as you can.

There are two ways to do this.

  1. You can stuff the skin with low-carb stuffing. This TRAPS in any fat and moisture the turkey has. It also adds a burst of flavour.
  2. You can also cover the turkey with butter then wrap it in bacon. This ADDS more moisture and fat to the turkey.

How much turkey do you need?

I generally buy a turkey weighing 450 – 700g (1 – 1.5 lb) per person.

How long does it take to cook?

Time to cook a turkey

20 minutes at 200C/400F then 15 minutes per 500g/1 lb at 180C/350F

Temperature to cook a turkey

Begin to cook the turkey at 200C/400F to ensure the meat and stuffing are hot, then reduce to 180C/350F for the remainder of the cooking time.

What temperature should the turkey meat be?

The minimum internal temperature of the thickest part of the turkey should be 75 C/165 F.

How to carve the turkey?

Always rest the turkey for 15-30 minutes before carving. This allows all the juices to soak back into the turkey meat and makes it easier to carve that straight out the oven.

While it is resting, keep the cooked turkey covered in foil (or roasting lid) and a few kitchen tea towels (or hand towels). This helps to insulate the turkey, keeping it warm, and helps to draw in the juices.

CHEAT SHEET: Turkey portions and cooking times

20 minutes at 200C/400F then 15 minutes per 500g/1 lb at 180C/350F

Size of turkey Serves Cooking time
1.8-2.7 kg : 4-6 lb (breast or rolled) 2-4 people 1 ½ to 2 ¼ hours
2.7-3.6 kg : 6-8 lb (breast or rolled) 4-6 people 3 to 3 ½ hours
3.6- 5.4 kg : 8-12 lb 8-10 people 3 to 3 ½ hours
5.4- 6.3 kg : 12-14 lb 10-12 people 3 ½ to 4 hours
6.3- 8.2 kg : 14-18lb 12-15 people 4 to 4 ¼ hours
8.2- 9 kg : 18-20 lb 15-18 people 4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hours
Turkey portions and cooking times

The best tips for cooking delicious bacon-wrapped turkey

Should I roast a bacon-wrapped turkey covered or uncovered

a bacon-wrapped turkey served with a slice of lemon on a silver dish

To ensure you have the most tasty and moist turkey, you need to bake the turkey covered to trap in all the juices. You can either use foil, or you can use a covered roasting dish.

The best way to cook a turkey is to wrap the prepared bacon-wrapped turkey using large sheets of aluminium foil. In your large roasting dish, place 1 sheet lengthwise and 1 sheet sideways to the turkey. Once the turkey is ready for cooking, loosely wrap the first sheet of foil over and crimp (fold) the edges together to form a seal.

Do the same with the next sheet and crimp (fold) the edges. The turkey should be sealed from any moisture being lost. It will look like one huge silver Christmas present. If there are any gaps, use another sheet of foil.

I always remove the foil (or lid) for the final 20 minutes cooking time, to allow the skin and bacon to go crispy.

How to maintain the best flavour?

low-carb and keto stuffing held in a serving spoon about to stuff a bacon-wrapped turkey
Low-carb and keto stuffing

Plain turkey can be a bit bland so to give it more flavour, I add herbed low-carb and keto stuffing.

To add the low-carb stuffing, you can add it to 2 areas:

  1. In the cavity of the turkey – either spoon or place balls of turkey stuffing inside the open cavity of the turkey before cooking. The turkey stuffing adds moisture, fat and flavour.
  2. In between the skin and the meat of the turkey – you slowly start separating the turkey skin from the turkey breast to create a small cavity. Begin by pressing stuffing inside by hand.

Which stuffing is the best for turkey?

a perfect bacon-wrapped easy turkey served with a side dish of keto mashed cauliflower

If you love meaty stuffing, then the pork and sage stuffing recipe below is perfect. Especially if you follow the keto carnivore diet. The pork and sage stuffing adds even more moisture, fat and flavour.

If you prefer the traditional bread stuffing, but you want to stay low-carb or keto, then I suggest the low-carb and keto stuffing recipe might be more to your taste

How to prep your turkey?

image showing the best way to cook a turkey by adding stuffing into the cavity by hand
Force stuffing under the skin of the turkey

What to prepare, the night before

Try to get some holiday meal preparation completed the night before.

  • Make the pork and sage stuffing. Roll a quarter of the mixture into stuffing balls. Either store in the fridge OR begin to prepare the turkey by stuffing the cavity and the skin.
  • Peel and cut the roast vegetables. Leave in a large saucepan or mixing bowl of water to stop them from browning
  • Peel and cut any vegetables that need to be cooked on the stovetop
  • Make any low-carb and keto desserts you need
  • Wrap the sausages in bacon, place in a baking dish and cover with aluminium foil. Keep in the fridge

Simple turkey COOKING SCHEDULE

20 minutes at 200C/400F then 15 minutes per 500g/1 lb at 180C/350F

the best way to cook a turkey cooking schedule
Easy turkey recipe cooking schedule

1: Calculate your TOTAL cooking time for the size of turkey you have.

2: Work your turkey cooking schedule backwards from when you want to serve your meal.

3: Always check your turkey using a meat thermometer to ensure it is completely cooked. Your oven may vary in cooking temperature and heat distribution.

Sample cooking schedule for a 4 kg/8 lb turkey

The best cooking schedule for a 4 kg/8 lb turkey from first putting in the oven, to being ready to carve = 20 minutes + 2 hours + 20 minutes +30 minutes = TOTAL TIME 3 hours and 10 minutes.

  • 20 minutes at 200C/400F
  • THEN 2 hours at 180C/350F
  • THEN 20 minutes uncovered at 180C/350F
  • PLUS 30 minutes resting time

This is how I cook our easy roast turkey for Christmas every year, and it turns out perfect and moist every time. Roast turkey is the most popular meal for Christmas and for Thanksgiving. With guests and family over, you want to make it a success.

Plan the timing of everything, so once you have a glass of wine, you don’t need to think of what to do. You will have a plan.

I’ve given you my easy-to-follow schedule to show you exactly how to plan and the best way to cook a turkey. This schedule has saved me many times and allowed me to relax and have a glass of wine.

I don’t have to think, I just have to look at my timesheet and know exactly what has to be cooked when. Set a timer for each next step and make this easy roast turkey.

Mockup of beautiful FREE printable gift tags
FREE printable gift tags

You can download the PDF file for your free printable gift tags. They are a fun way to gift a sugar-free holiday treat such as cinnamon roasted almonds.

FREE sugar-free advent calendar

sugar free advent calendar hanging on string on a white wall
FREE printable sugar-free advent calendar

I have a FREE printable sugar-free advent calendar for you. Why not make this year really special. Imagine the surprise on your children’s face each morning opening their special little gift and an activity to do together. Make this Christmas one to remember.

I have free printables and activity ideas for you. I will show you how to make the bags, some amazing gift ideas, and activity ideas – whether you celebrate Christmas in a hot or cold climate. It’s all here in your FREE sugar-free advent calendar.

For healthy Christmas Low-Carb Sweet Treats, take a look at my new eCookbook. You can enjoy parties AND stay on track this year.

21 Low-Carb Sweet Treats - perfect for winter parties. 21 easy gluten-free and low-carb recipes, 10 baked desserts, 8 sweet treats, 3 beverages. #lowcarbdesserts #ketodesserts #sugarfreedesserts #healthydesserts #glutenfreedesserts

My actual Christmas day routine

The times shown are calculated for a 4 kg/8 lb turkey.

  • 9.50am I put the turkey in the hot oven at 200C for 20 minutes
  • 10.10am reduce the temperature to 180C and cook for 2 hours
  • 12.10pm remove the foil and cook uncovered to crisper the bacon and turkey skin for 20 minutes
  • 12.30pm remove the turkey from the oven, cover in the foil again and place a few tea towels on the clean side of the foil to insulate, keep the turkey hot and let the meat rest for 30 minutes
  • 1 pm ready to carve

Add these times into the turkey schedule if you are cooking sausages, roast vegetables and stuffing balls.

10.10am = I run out of cooking space in my oven so I add the roast vegetables at 10.10am, cook for an hour

11.10am = remove roast vegetables then cook the bacon wrapped chipolatas and stuffing balls for 30 minutes

11.40am = remove chipolatas and stuffing balls

12.30am = When I remove the turkey at 12.30 to allow it to rest, I put the roast vegetables, chipolatas and stuffing back into the empty oven to bring them back up to temperature. I make the gravy and cook the stove top vegetables already prepared last night.

1 pm = all ready

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