Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic

(798 ratings)
Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic
Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic
  • Serves: 8-10

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

    (calculating at 30 minutes per kg)
  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

  • Costs: Mid-price

Gordon Ramsay's roast turkey recipe is a Christmas favourite. This delicious, easy to make turkey is flavoured with lemon, parsley and garlic. Gordon says: 'This is my favourite way to roast turkey with a savoury butter under the skin to keep the breast meat moist and flavourful. To ensure both the turkey and pork stuffing are cooked properly, I bake the stuffing separately. Another of my secrets is to rest the turkey for a couple of hours or more. As it relaxes, the juices are re-absorbed, making the meat succulent, tender and easier to carve. It may seem like a long time, but the texture will be improved the longer you leave the turkey to rest. Piping hot gravy will restore the heat.' This recipe takes 3hrs to prepare and cook and serves between 8-10 people. Any leftovers would make a delicious curry the next day!


  • 1 free-range turkey (ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze), about 55.5kg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • 6 bay leaves
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:

  • 375g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

Give this turkey a seasonal twist by swapping the lemon for orange instead. It'll give your turkey a new lease of life.


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well to combine.
  2. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
  3. With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
  4. Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
  5. Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)
  6. Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 1015 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2 hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
  7. To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
  8. Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parsons nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.
Extracted from Christmas with Gordon by Gordon Ramsay, published by Quadrille (15, hardback), only available at Tesco. Photography Chris Terry

Learn how to cook roast turkey the traditional way

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I do love a bit of Gordon Ramsay, but good god something must have went wrong with our Turkey this Christmas, we did all that was asked, shoved what seemed to be a heart attacks worth of butter inside the skin of this turkey... The problems really came when we stuck our bird in that hot oven for 10-15... The butter got angry and started exploding all over the oven as well as setting off the fire alarm the bird took on a rather 'charcoal' appearance. So we set off on the lower heat, basting, returning, basting, returning... and finally it was done... well not for another 2 hours as it needed it's nap... So excited we got all the goods ready, made a delicious gravy (which was 90% butter) and finally went to tuck into our turkey... which reminded me of turkey jerkey more than this mouth watering meat I've heard about.... Where have I gone wrong? Usually I would cover a turkey but since this recipe didn't call for it, I trusted Gordons instructions. 1 out of 10 - my teeth still hurt. What are you people on about?!


fantastic turkey best ever everybody loved it and commented on how juicy the meat was - used Gordons golden rule rest it for as long as you cook it. Would highly recommend 5*

wendy burns

OMG have just cooked the turkey and took a sneaky slice of it ---- totally hohoho orgasmic... thnx Gordon. Now finishing the ham and serving all with winter root veg roasted in garlic and rosemary......


No Garlic with turkey - EVER! It's utterly crazy and ruins the very delicate roast turkey taste. Too much butter - which is not a traditional turkey taste either. Why do chefs demand turkey breast meat be so "juicy"? It's just not meant to be so gosh darn juicy - a bit of dryness goes great with all the other things.


mmm, what a recipe? taste sooooo good, I can eat it every week


Hej Gordon. I am your fans I adore you, I watch your show. I use your recipe to make turkey and invited lunch friends today, they were amazed, they say &#226&#128&#156The best turkey that they ever ate in their life&#226&#128&#157 Thank you for making my Christmas eve lunch unforgettable. They thank me for showing them your website they are going to try your recipe for the New Year and let you know. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with your beloved families Sabella and Abe Sweden

john coghill

gona try this for thev first time looke great to me.


Why, why, why does Gordon Ramsays great x-mas turkey recepie NOT include what he serves WITH the bird, and how to make the gravy - can anybody help???? in the last minute here before x-mas :)

Rocco Tool

That's wrong about the stuffing. In his Complete Cookery Course, Gordon stuffs the chicken and seals it with a lemon. Then he roasts it. Who wrote that goodtoknow?

Garlic clove in brine

The skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs.


Best turkey I have ever made. It melts in your mouth and is so tasty. The gravy is also very good. It tastes fresh and you can find the recipe on some other websites.


Mine was the same. Like eating a dry cracker and yes I am a bad cook that's why I follow recipe to the letter.


I just made this recipe today and it looked and tasted divine! The meat was succulent and juicy with a hint of lemony garlic flavour. I cooked a 5kg bird for exactly 2.5 hours and it turned out perfect! This turkey will definitely be a staple addition to our future christmas dinners!


The lemon is a MUST! You can most definitely taste it in the meat, and it's wonderful!


Ok. I've tried everything now, after fixing this bird his way, and can honestly say that while it was perhaps the best turkey I've yet cooked; it still leaves me wondering why I went to so much trouble, when the marginal difference it made in the finished product, didn't seem worth the effort? I discovered grilling the Turkey, when I bought a new Weber grill 3 years ago,which has brought me rave reviews from everyone, since the first time I cooked on on it. It was easy, simple, and a very effective method for bringing much needed simplicity and flavor to a meat that ( to me personally) has little flavor no matter how it's prepared or cooked. I have to agree that Gorden's method of cooking this was good for 2 reasons; unique flavor, and superior moistness in the meat. And while his gravy recipe yielded satisfactory results, the procedure was most certainly involved, and not really worth the bother. That being said; I want to try his lemon, butter recipe for preparing the turkey the next time I grill one, which will be next November, as I can't wait to see how his flavors will merge with the hickory smoke. Overall, while Ramsey's method yielded very good results, I found it more ingredient and labor intensive than necessary for a dish that never seems to be all that good, for so much effort.


best turkey ever done. yes it uses alot of butter but for once a year really who cares when you get a hit like this. i started 220 for 10 mins then reduced to 160. I also use an instant read thermometer to take all the guess work out so took the turkey out once it reached 75 degrees. Perfection and so very juicy best one ever tasted please try

Teresa Vandal

Probably not quite Elaine, but it can still work as the alcohol should mostly cook off...various kinds of alcohol is always good with meat; that is why there are so many recipes that call for alcohol in one form or another...(i.e. Beef Burgundy, Beer Can Chicken, Chicken Marsala and Bourbon Chicken...)


What an utter load of hogwash.


Yep - English cider is the same :)

Christopher Pullinger

Great recipe, Susanne gravy is easy, use all the excess bits of turkey and stuffing (lemons/onions etc) mash in the pan and fry down within the roasting tin. Reduce until it has halved. Add chicken stock, reduce again (you can add anything at this stage such as plonk if you want). Then siv into a pan, add a rosemary fig for taste then serve.... if I was you I use these recipes as a rough guideline and create your own twist.


the gravy recipe includes cider... i live in denmark. the cider we have here is apple cider in cans with 4.5% alcohol... is this what it should be?


the gravy recipe includes cider... i live in denmark. the cider we have here is apple cider in cans with 4.5% alcohol... is this what it should be?

David Rowe Spain

David rowe in Spain cant wait to try this.


Has anyone made this "turkey" gravy but made it (and served it) with a roast duck? Would the flavours work with roast duck do you think?


I am wondering if I omit the lemon will it change the taste too much? I've never been a fan of using lemon with cooking, and don't care for the taste.

Rachel McKenna

I used Smart Balance instead of real butter for the "herbed butter mixture" to cut out some of the fat and also added a couple sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme and Sage inside cavity along with the lemon, onion and garlic. I cooked a 20 lb turkey with this and it turned out fabulous. Do not overcook! Cooked bird for 3 1/2 hours on 375 and kept it on warm (keep basting every 30 minutes) for 2 hours. My Christmas guests LOVED it! Best turkey I've ever had! Thanks Gordon Ramsay!!!

Genevive Morgan

I made the roast turkey with the gravy and it was a great hit. My guests said over and over after dinner that it was the best gravy they had ever had in their life. I have to admit it was wonderful. I followed the directions exactly and I did have to cover it towards the end of the baking time because the legs were drying out. I will make my turkey next Christmas using Chef Ramsay's recipe again.

Stephanie O'Hara

Sarah, What a pity about that experience. Having recently had our oven looked at, your temperature gauge might be off, your turkey too close to the top of the oven or the olive oil wasn't mixed in with the butter. I also modified mine and did cover it after an hour. Do try it again as this was the best turkey we've ever had!

Stephanie O'Hara

I tried the turkey yesterday and what a hit it was! I watched it carefully but did eventually cover it as mine was stuffed and, ironically, the legs were getting too dry. The bacon was delicious and the whole bird was very moist. We usually only like the white meat but this year really enjoyed the red meat, too. We did leave it stand 1.5 hrs and Gordon is right...the flavours do improve. I basted every hour & used the juices in my roast potatoes & parsnips which were divine. I used only half the butter recommended as we haven't fully embraced the return to butter craze! For that reason, I couldn't bring myself to make gravy with the drippings. All in all, it worked for me with a few modifications & will make it again next year!

Matt Beckwith

Thank you Gordon, my turkey turned out perfect. It was a big hit, everyone loved it. 7.6kg cooked in 4hours in my gas pizza oven.

Alyson Mac

my husband still talks about last xmas much so I am using the same recipe again....this one!!!!!!!!!!!!


you would probably like my grandparents turkey then its dry and tasteless


you probably had you oven set to high or didnt mix in the olive oil failing that i can only assume you're a bad cook


My sil has a citrus allergy. Stuffed the bird with apples and cranberries instead of lemon, and followed the recipe. Turned out wonderful and everyone thought it was the best turkey ever.


The whole 30min per kg is TOTAL lies. Especially if you are resting it for so long, you will end up with one tough dry bird. I did this last year with recommended time and it came out dry. Reduced it by an hour and some today, and it was the most tender turkey i've ever had!


Does anyone know what the oven temp should be for a fan assisted oven?


its on youtube.


Remember to cook your sprouts until they are extremely wet I find these go well with Chef PJV's Turkey, also make sure other veg does not hold its shape when lifted from the plate...a little rule I use is veg soggy-meat dry....have a good Christmas everyone.


Yes, because her last minute christmas problem can be solved three years after she posted about it.


OOPS spelt XMAS wrong ,


I live in Australia and last year i had 14 to cook for, the turkey was great and im cooking it again this year but 6 this time , phew!! the only problem i have my grandson cannot eat lemon flavoured food due to the metalic taste in his mouth afterwards,, what else can i use. we have plenty of fresh mangos. oranges, we have a tree full of lemons but cannot use them. I googled this recipe again hoping it will turn out as good as last year, Do you think a turkey, roast pork and ham is too much for one meal.? I hav 4 days to decide. its very hot here today 35deg , and will be hotter xams day . salads and Veg is also on the menu as well as sliced roast pumkin with cinnamon sprinkled on top whilst cooking. Happy hristmas from OZ,




Buy the book! It's all there!!


I did this recipe last year and it was really delicious. Doing it again this year I think it is the best and easiest one ...I love the lemon flavour and for the first time my turkey was juicy and tasted so nice

Bunny Tang

Hi, does anyone has the recipe for the gravy? Saw sm online but nt sure if it accurate cause it calls for 1L cider n 600ml chicken stock! Isn't tat too much?


your right it is great , did this last year let it rest for the same amount of time I roasted it was the most juicy turkey ever

Tom in Las Vegas USA

Take it from a Yank across the pond. I've had over 40 years of Thanksgiving turkey and this was the juiciest bird I've ever had out of the oven!


You Sir, are a moron. The worst kinda person. Just cause your mom can't cook a turkey doesn't mean that's the standard.

Daniel Gonçalves

This recipe looks amazing on youtube. Definitely making it tomorrow for Thanksgiving and hopefully Christmas as well


As for help w the gravy and what else he makes w his turkey you need to check out his video on you tube. Just type in gordon ramseys turkey. The man is a genious w a turkey. I wont make mine any other way now. Thank you gordon for your recipes,you may be tough but there is good reason for that. YUMMMMY!! Much respect from a huge fan in california! Debi S


the video to make this bird is on you tube: Gordon Ramsay Christmas Turkey and it also shows how to make the gravy. BEST TURKEY EVER! But I also have family from the same area as Gordon so I grew up with "English" flavors.

E pluribus unum

30min per kg, 20lb ~ 10kg = 5hr


Instead of 'rasher', why couldn't he write thin slice of bacon?


Does he use Extra Virgin Olive oil or plain olive oil?


Can anyone tell me what the roasting time and cooking time would for this recipe for a 20lb bird. I saw one posting from a lady who cooked a 20lb bird at 375foe 3 1/2 hours, then I believe she mentioned that she keep it on warm thereafter for 2hours. I'm confused, can anyone help? I'm looking to cook this 11/17/1

Jack Dawson

Do you put water at the bottom of the roasting pan with the turkey or just by itself??? Someone please help me cause i'm making this tomorrow!! haha i'm excited! :)


If you don't have the most fabulous roast turkey then you DID NOT follow the recipe!!! I've told everyone I know about this incredible dinner and now ALL of them are using this recipe. It's the very best special occation turkey I've run across in my 45 years of enjoying cooking! Watch his Christmas Special on TV for all the won't regret it.


PJV, I see you on TV all the time, sharing awesome recipes like Ramseys!!! You are the best, obviously you have won many awards for cooking!! Why have nice white meat so dry that it is hard to swallow... Do yourself a favour..... SHUT UP

Yvonne Dempsey

I used this recipe to cook my Christmas turkey yesterday and was a little scared because I have never cooked a turkey in my life before and I must say it was so easy to do and everyone raved about the turkey and said it was moist and so tasty and a few even said it was the best they had ever eaten in their lives, and that was from an 87 year old. So I definitely recommend giving it a try you won't regret it.

sandy beach

So I just put this altogether... with a 22lb turkey... (they were cheap for Thanksgiving, so I bought extra) I followed the steps carefully... although the turkey is in an oven roasting bag rather than naked in the oven... I just took my jeans, house slippers, tshirt, two large Christmassy Kitchen floor mats, and several dish towels to the laundry to wash them.... There are blobs of seasoned butter mix on my floor, on the stovetop, down the oven door, and because I dropped the bowl I used when I knocked against it, it knocked over the olive oil I bought specially this morning, and the spoon covered in the stuff accross the floor... Smells GREAT!!! But Gordon... Dear, Dear, Funny, Brilliant, Foulmouthed, impatient, Chef.... Could you Not spare the words... "Place your butter mix in the fridge to cool, so that you can insert it under the skin easily without slathering the entire Room!!!"?!?!?!?! I left it on the counter next to me while I attended to the Giant Bird... which... although I had Carefully, and meticulously dried it with paper towels.... must have Sweated in horror at what I was about to do to it with that stuff... was NOT easy to smear the butter mix over after doing the breast, fore and aft.... because the bloody thing was like trying to smear a Greased Pig, with Water! Still... it Smells nice... and all I have to do now to make the mashed potato, cornbread dressing, cranberry and toasted almond spinach salad with home made honey and sesame seed dressing and the corn... is clean half the kitchen to rid it of that delicious, lemony, buttery, bay leafy, garlicky, oniony smell... and grease... so that I hopefully... don't slip while trying to make the rest of the meal... could end up with sesame seed dressing, or mashed potatoes on the ceiling!!!

sandy beach

I would think... probably because this one was just for the turkey recipe? You might try looking for Gordon Ramsay's Christmas Dinner side dishes? Good luck!

jo c

Absolutely divine - moist inside, nice roasted on the outside and smelling heavenly. I took out of the oven an hour ago and everyone is roaming around it...they can't wait until the vegetable are done too...thank you for the inspiration!

Viki Jones

trying this recipe for christmas lunch. How do I get the lemon juice the incorporate into the butter. Just won't happen.


No, but it helps those just now visiting the site. You know what really doesn't help by the way? Your useless sarcastic comment.

Neil Handler

does anyone know if this recipie can be used with a turkey that has been brined the day before or if that will effect the cooking time???


Were you able to get the recipe for the gravy?

Anthony V

First year making a Turkey on our own and tried this out. It was a huge hit and I will absolutely use it again every year. The bacon was also great with breakfast the next day.


What about sauce? I don't know how can I do


This was hands down the BEST turkey I ever made. Sooooooooo not sure what your complaining about. Loved it :) I actually special recipe carded this. Yummy!


In case you are still wondering which you probably aren't since this post was a year ago, you do NOT need to put water at the bottom of the pan. While roasting the butter mixture that you applied will melt and go to the bottom of the pan. The melted butter at the bottom which should be a water consistency is what you will bast your turkey with every so often.


Omg soooooo amazing. Made it twice already the exact same way that the directions told me to and it was awesome. It made my house smell like lemon parsley. Sooooo amazing that my sister, who is food picky, asked for it again again and again and almost had a fit when I said I'm thinking about doing something else. One thing I would suggest is to be sure that the leaves you add with the butter really are parsley leaves because I made the mistake the first time around of using some other herb and this time I used parsley and omg what a difference. I mean they were both awesome but there was a difference. The meat was JUICY by the way. In case you are wondering, I had a 15 pound butterball turkey that I roast in the oven on 350 degrees until the thermometer read 165 degrees, which was 3 1/2 hours. :)


220°C (428°F) for 10 minutes (Turkey skin hardens) 180°C (356°F) @ the rate of 1/2 hr (30 minutes) per kilo A 20 lb (9.07185 kilo) turkey @ 180°C (356°F) will take 4 hours 32 minutes. 30min/kilo*9.07185 kilo = 272.1555 minutes = 4 hrs 32 minutes *Baste from time to time...Your welcome! I would recommend sticking a meat thermometer to the thickest part of the turkey until it reaches @ least 165°F, don't just go by the whole 30/min per kilo estimated timing. Let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes or else the juices are going to run out and you'll end up with a dry bird.


anyone got an answer?

Joe Maxwell

their assumptions are wrong, a Kg is roughly 2.5 pounds, so 20 lbs would be 8 kg, so roughly 4 hrs.


I have used this recipe three times now, it is simply the best. I love deep fried turkey but this recipe is even better. I remove most of the fat from the drippings, add a can of chicken stock and it makes a wonderful gravy as well. With this recipe there is no need to brine the turkey.


no, you just double the ingredients, a 5 kg turkey is a 12 lb turkey. I did this last year (as done on video) and it was great. some of the ingredients that go inside the turkey I had to cut into 4's to make them fit but it did the job...hope that helps :)


why is this recipe different from what he says and does in the video..? I never saw or heard him say to add a head of garlic in the cavity or to use sea salt. i've made it the way he shows you on video and it came out great so is this his version with your own little twist..?


If you are making this recipe for a 24 lb turkey, do you have to add 5 times the ingredients, or how do you solve this issue??


I like that he recommends a free range turkey.


Hi Elaine, Did you make the turkey gravy eventually? How did it turn out? Could you please tell me how much cider and stock you used in making the gravy? Thanks Andrew


Hi Bunny, Did you make the turkey gravy eventually? How did it turn out and what is the recipe you used? Thanks Andrew


Hi Guys, I was wondering if any of you had the recipe for Gordan's turkey gravy. I am thinking of preparing turkey gravy Gordan's way in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving dinner. I tried to order his book "Christmas with Gordan" which includes the recipe. However, the book is out of stock and would not get delivered before my dinner. If you have the recipe that would be really helpful. In particular, I need to know the ratio of cider to chicken stock that he uses, or the amount of cider and stock. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Andrew


Hi Georgie. For a fan assisted oven, reduce the temperature by 20 degrees - so 200 degrees celsius in this case. Thanks for your comment and I hope you enjoyed your turkey!

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