A turkey crown with stuffing and Brussels sprouts on the side

Cooking on a budget this Christmas? Our complete guide to how to cook the crown of a turkey will help you spend less, waste less and make the most of this glorious budget-friendly Christmas dinner centrepiece.

For lots of us, Christmas dinner is all about the turkey. And while an epic golden roast turkey is a majestic centrepiece, a whole bird can leave you with a tonne of leftovers, depending on how many people you have to feed. 

Need help working out what size turkey you should buy? Check out our Guide to Christmas turkeys so nothing goes to waste.  

If you look forward to the leftovers as much as the main event, we hear you! Crack on and check out our brilliant ways to use up leftover turkey. But for those of you looking for ways to save money and reduce food waste on Christmas dinner, a turkey crown is a fantastic option that’s just as worthy as a whole bird.

For more inspo, check out our simple Christmas dinner alternatives for smaller gatherings

How to prepare a turkey crown

  1. You can do all this prep on Christmas Eve, ready for the big day. Check the main cavity for the bag of giblets, and if they’re in there – don’t throw them away! Remove the bag and tip into a large roasting tray with a trivet of roughly chopped veg (onions, carrots, celery, garlic and some woody herbs are all great) and you’ll get the most epic gravy that costs pennies!
  2. Fill the neck cavity with your stuffing – homemade or shop-bought is fine, so use whatever you prefer – just be careful not to stuff it in too tightly. Pull the skin back over, and tuck it under the bird, then place the turkey on top of the vegetable/giblet trivet.
  3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the crown, and rub it into the meat, then cover the tray with kitchen foil and store in the fridge overnight.

How to cook a turkey crown

  1. On Christmas Day, take your turkey crown out of the fridge 1 hour before it’s due to go in the oven. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and season the crown with sea salt and black pepper.
  2. As a guide, you want to cook a stuffed higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kilo, and a standard bird for 35 to 40 minutes per kilo. So, if you have a 3kg crown, roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, basting several times with the lovely juices in the tray.

For more info on how long to cook a turkey, check out our tips and timings for perfect turkey.

How to check your turkey crown is cooked

  1. To check your turkey crown is cooked, the simplest way is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the breast – if the juices run clear, it’s done. You could use a meat thermometer to double check – you need to reach an internal temperature of 65ºC for a top-quality turkey crown, such as Paul Kelly’s turkeys, or 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard turkey crown.
  2. Use heavy-duty tongs to lift up the turkey crown so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to your serving plate. Cover with a double layer of kitchen foil and a clean tea towel, then leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on with your trimmings. To see how you finish off your gravy, check out Jamie’s chestnut gravy recipe.

Watch Jamie show you his easy turkey – 2 ways to get the most out of your turkey crown. 

Our favourite turkey crown recipes

When we’re not carving it at the dinner table, here are a few of the ways we love to use up leftover turkey crown

Turn your turkey leftovers into a delicate, delicious Christmas risotto. This recipe uses up the white meat, crispy skin and is finished off with a pool of rich gravy in the middle – absolute heaven!

Load up a bun with that tender turkey crown meat with crunchy veg, pickles and BBQ sauce to make a Christmas sandwich you’ll crave all year round.

Topped with sweet leek and smoky bacon biscuits, this recipe gives your turkey crown a tasty American twist.

Turkey and leek is a match made in heaven, and packed into a pie? Even better! This is the perfect way to use up your leftover turkey crown whilst creating the ultimate comforting dish.

Want more? Check out our top turkey recipes