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What size turkey do I need? A guide to choosing your turkey at Christmas

About to order or buy your Christmas turkey? Find out what size will be best, depending on how large your ravenous horde is

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What size? | What cut?


What size turkey should I buy?

If you opt for a whole bird, here's how big you should go depending on how many you have to feed.

Ideally, allow 500g of meat on the bone per person: that should give you a generous serving and allow for a little leftover for Boxing Day sarnies and the like.

Four people or under

Turkey breast or crown, or go for the smallest size turkey and be prepared to get creative when it comes to leftovers

Six to eight people

4kg turkey - approx cooking time 2.5 hours

10 people

5kg turkey - approx cooking time 3 hrs 10 minutes

12 people

6kg turkey - approx cooking time 3.5 hours

14 people

7kg turkey - approx cooking time 3 hours and 50 minutes

16 people

8kg turkey - approx cooking time 4 hours and 10 minutes

*Cooking times are estimates and obviously depend on your oven

What cut of turkey?

A turkey crown is essentially a breast of turkey on the bone with the legs and wings removed. It's a great idea if you'll be a small-ish gathering or if no-one in your family likes the dark meat.

"We used to buy whole but just buy crown now so there's no waste and no faffing about."

"For just three people, a large turkey breast would probably be enough. I guess smaller options might taste better because of shorter cooking time."

"Personally I like the combination of light and dark turkey meat. Some years we are only four but still get a small turkey. We strip all the meat, put some in fridge for Boxing Day, and the rest is frozen in portions for future use."

"I still always buy a whole turkey over a crown because I just find it more satisfying to cook/carve and enjoy picking the last bits of meat off the bones before boiling it down to make stock. We always buy double the size turkey we actually need because it is tradition in our family to have turkey sandwiches with the leftover breast and the rest is used for two big turkey pies."


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Last updated: 8 months ago