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How to Cook a Turkey Crown for the Tastiest Christmas Ever?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated November, 4, 2021

Can you really imagine Christmas without a juicy, plump turkey as your table’s centrepiece? You know as well as we that carving that crispy golden bird is the proper way to spend the most festive day of the year.

However, roasting the perfect turkey can be an intimidating task. No worries, we know exactly how to cook a turkey crown that will have all your guests salivating even before you serve it.

Unbuckle up and out!

Ingredients and Preparation

The hardest part of cooking the perfect turkey is the preparation process for such a feast. You might even wonder how to handle the whole turkey or whether or not you even have to. Fortunately, you can also get a regular or a boneless turkey crown that should have enough meat for a standard family of four. The crown also takes less time and effort to cook and prepare. To prepare it for the oven, however, you’ll need the following items:

  • 1 turkey crown
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 2 tablespoons of ground thyme or a handful of thyme leaves
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Ingredients that pair well with turkey meat or the dressing are garlic, onions, apples, rosemary, and other similar herbs.

How much turkey is enough?

For cooking a turkey crown with a bone, around 300 to 400 grams per person is just right. For reference, a 1.2 kg crown is enough for three diners, while a 2.5 kg crown will feed eight. Even if you end up with a larger bird, you can use the leftovers in other delicious recipes.

How to defrost your turkey?

Properly defrosting your ingredients is a crucial step in the cooking process since food poisoning has never been on the Christmas menu. Bear in mind that turkeys usually take a good 12 hours per kilo to defrost, meaning you’ll have to allow a whole day for 2 kg turkey.

To speed up the process, you can also thaw the turkey crown at a temperature below 15˚C in a cooler room, which will take 4 hours per kilo. Then, put the turkey back in the fridge after defrosting it, but remember to check its cavity for leftover ice.

How to prepare the turkey?

First of all, brining the turkey meat beforehand allows for a juicy and tender turkey that ultimately retains more moisture. Simply place the meat in a brine solution (salted water) and leave it to soak in the fridge for up to 18 hours. Adding additional ingredients to the brine, such as herbs, spices, or apple cider, will add extra flavour to the meat.

The Best Turkey Roasting Method

By following our turkey crown cooking process, described below, you will have your guests complimenting its sublime flavour and texture:

  • Preheat the oven at 180˚C/gas 4 or 160˚C in fan mode;
  • Mix the mustard, thyme, maple syrup, and orange juice and season with salt and pepper, as well as other spices per taste;
  • Set your turkey on a roasting tray and glaze it with the previously made mixture;
  • Add 500 ml of chicken stock to the tray;
  • Estimate the turkey crown cooking time based on the bird’s weight and place it into the oven. For a nice and moist finish, pour your mixture over the turkey every 20 minutes;
  • When ready, remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest under a tin foil for about half an hour before serving.

Congratulations! You’ve just prepared the most luscious Christmas dinner ever. Remind your guests to wear looser pants since they will gorge themselves. Also, remember to start the cooking process sooner if you have a bigger turkey. For example, a 9 kg bird must roast for 4 hours.

What to do before serving?

When roasting a turkey crown, its muscles contract, resulting in moisture evaporation. If you immediately cut the bird without letting it rest, the meat will lose even more moisture. On the other hand, letting the turkey rest while properly covered will allow the moisture to reabsorb back into the meat, making it juicier.

Turkey Crown Cooking Tips

How to save time when roasting a turkey crown?

If you’re in a real holiday rush, saving some time when cooking your Christmas turkey will allow you to complete other chores and festive tasks. For example, you can expedite the preparation time by buying an already marinated turkey that only needs to be defrosted and cooked. You can also get a fully pre-cooked turkey from many UK grocery stores offering complete Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. That way, you’ll dedicate your time to decorating your table and to some merry relaxation.

What’s the best turkey crown side dish?

‘Tis a shame to serve a main course without some joyfully tasty side dishes. We recommend roasting some parsnips with carrots to add a healthy touch to your Christmas dinner, or even crunchy coleslaw and roast potatoes. Remember, though: you only live once! So why not add decadent pork stuffing and pigs in a blanket too for a dinner to remember. You are only limited by your culinary creativity.

Famous Recipes

Many of Britain’s favourite chefs added their own twist to the classic turkey crown recipe. Let’s see what they do differently:

Delia Smith’s Turkey Crown

Smith’s pro tip for the juiciest turkey ever is to brush its crown with softened butter and put pancetta slices over the top. She also advises removing the pancetta strips approximately 45 minutes after the turkey has been placed in the oven and adding them back in to reheat just before you take it out. Of course, Delia Smith’s best way to cook a turkey crown includes a delicious cranberry sauce. Here are the ingredients:

  • 3.15 kg turkey crown
  • 25 g lightly toasted pistachios
  • 50 g dried apricots
  • Sage and onion stuffing
  • 200 g smoked pancetta
  • 75 g softened butter
  • 340 ml dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped sage
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry jelly
  • 1 and a half tablespoon balsamic vinegar

This tasty recipe will feed four people with leftovers enough for the whole week. For example, you can make yourself quick yet delicious turkey sandwiches the days following Christmas.

Mary Berry’s Turkey Crown Recipe

Mary takes a fresh spin on the classic turkey formula by mixing softened butter with thyme leaves, spreading it under the turkey’s skin, and adding orange slices on top of the seasoned butter. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2.2 kg turkey crown
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 50 g softened butter
  • 2 smaller oranges
  • 1–2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Berry’s juicy recipe will serve around 8–10 people, and they’ll all be thrilled with this sweet and sour adventurous take on the recipe.

Jamie Oliver’s Easy Turkey

Jamie Oliver doesn’t miss an opportunity to experiment, even on Christmas. For his recipe, you will need a boneless turkey crown to stuff with apricots and sausages, as well as its legs and giblets. Let’s see the ingredients for one of the tastiest recipes to try this Christmas:

  • 3 kg turkey crown with giblets
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch of sage or rosemary
  • 500 g apricot and sausage stuffing
  • 2 x 500 g deboned turkey legs
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid honey or maple syrup

Oliver’s small turkey crown takes over 2 hours to cook, and it will feed around 12–14 guests.

Did Anyone Say Leftovers?

Leaving a cooked turkey crown at room temperature for more than two hours is inadvisable since bacteria grow rapidly. For that reason, leftovers should be refrigerated right after the meal, along with the stuffing and gravy. A turkey crown tightly secured in a container or wrapped in a plastic bag/aluminium foil will last for four days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.

While nothing beats a good old turkey sandwich, you can also prepare other leftover recipes on Boxing Day. If you’re up for a healthier turkey crown recipe after gorging yourself for Christmas, a warm turkey noodle soup is a great idea. But if your diet can wait, try making a delicious turkey and ham pie, a turkey casserole, or get creative and think of your own unique recipe.

Gobbling Away

Cooking a turkey crown sure is a lot of work, and getting it right can be stressful. However, with the right recipe and a bit of patience, you will astound any guest at your table. Hopefully, our guide has inspired you to try the master chef fad, at least for the year’s most wonderful day.

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.