The Simplest Roast Turkey (Also the Best)

This recipe comes from The Ginger Pig, our neighbours at Borough Market. The genius trick here is using streaky bacon to render fat onto the bird, which zaps away any potential dryness. Perfect for beginners and experts alike – you don’t even need to measure anything. For optimal flavour, find the best-quality bird you can.


1 free-range turkey, giblets removed (see Step 3, below)
Softened butter
Fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
1 lemon, cut in half
5-10 rashers of streaky bacon
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Rub the skin with plenty of butter and pepper. Roughly chop herbs, leaving a few whole sprigs behind. Scatter chopped herbs over the turkey. Put remaining sprigs of herbs inside the cavity, along with the halved onions and lemon.  Cover the breast with streaky bacon. 
  2. Make a big tin foil cross inside your roasting pan, and place the turkey breast side-up in the middle. Wrap the foil around the turkey to make a loose but closed parcel. Alternatively, place the turkey on the roasting pan and cover with the Novac reusable chainmail.
  3. Cook at 220°C / 425°F / Mark 7 for 40 mins. Reduce heat to 170°C / 325°F / Mark 3 and cook for approximately a further 3 hours for a small turkey (5-6 kg), 3.5 hours for medium turkey (6-7 kg), 4.5 hours for a large turkey (7-8 kg) and 5 hrs for any turkey more than 8kg.
  4. Uncover for the last 30 minutes to crisp the bacon. Stick a long skewer in the fleshiest part to test for doneness; the juices should run clear. But the best way to check is a meat thermometer; the reading should be at least 75°C. Remove turkey from pan and let it rest on a wooden carving board for half an hour before carving. 

BK Tips

  • Turn the roasting pan once or twice through cooking to ensure an even cook.
  • Baste frequently while cooking, spooning the drippings and pouring over the bird — this is especially good on a Big Green Egg
  • For more efficient cooking, use the Mauviel M'Cook Roasting Pan with Rack. You can cook the turkey on the rack and roasted root vegetables below – the vegetables will get a flavour boost from the turkey drippings.