Turkey crown cooking time

A turkey crown is the breast of the bird still attached to the bone with the legs and wings removed. A crown is perfect if you have fewer people to feed or guests who all like white meat.

The other advantages to a crown are that it will cook quickly and should fit in any oven – and your roasting tin. They are widely available and becoming more fashionable by the year, but price per weight does work out a bit more expensive than a whole bird.

Watch our video guide to find out the main things you need to know about cooking a turkey crown:

Turkey crown cooking times

As advised by British Turkey, the temperature of your oven should be 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and the cooking time calculated as follows:

Under 4kg: 20 mins per kg plus 70 mins

Over 4kg: 20 mins per kg plus 90 mins

Remember to weigh your turkey with any stuffing that is under the skin or bacon (or any other additions) wrapped around it and finally, to check that it is cooked properly.

1.5kg: 1 hr 40 mins plus resting at 190C/170C fan/gas 5

2kg: 1 hr 50 mins plus resting at 190C/170C fan/gas 5

2.5kg: 2 hrs plus resting at 190C/170C fan/gas 5

However, many turkey recipes specify a different oven temperature and if you cook the crown at a higher (see below) or lower temperature as specified by the recipe you are following, you will have to adjust the time.

For example, at 200C/180C fan/gas 6, calculate the cooking at 20 mins per 450g.

You may also have to adjust the time for the type of crown you have bought, a 3kg KellyBronze turkey crown, for example, is cooked for 1 hr 30 mins at 180C/160C fan/gas 4, by which point the internal temperature should be 60C (5 degrees less than recommended, but perfectly safe with a KellyBronze). It will then rise a further 5C as it rests.

How do I know my turkey crown is cooked?

Ideally, test it using an oven thermometer. Ovens vary and if you have put anything else in to cook at the same time, this can also affect the cooking time.

The internal temperature of your turkey should be 70C when it is ready. This is the recommended temperature for cooked turkey according to the Food Standards Agency. You MUST then leave it to rest for 20 minutes, and it will continue cooking through. It’s best to use a proper thermometer and not the red pop-out button sold with the turkey.

Before serving your turkey, always check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible and when you cut into the thickest part, the juices run clear.

How long does it take to defrost a turkey?

Make sure your turkey crown is properly defrosted before cooking. Use these timings as a guide and check the temperature of the defrosting environment.

  • In your fridge: set at 4C or below, allow 8-12 hrs per kg.
  • In a cool room: which must stay below 17.5C, allow 3-4 hrs per kg.

Check the turkey is thawed by looking inside the cavity for ice crystals and by pushing the point of a knife into the thickest part of the meat.

Basic recipe

  • 50g butter
  • 1 turkey crown
  • Seasoning

How to cook a turkey crown

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Smear the butter all over the turkey crown and season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Put in a roasting tin, skin-side up, and roast for 70 mins plus 20 mins per kg, or until the internal temperature reaches 65-70C.
  3. Remove the turkey from the oven and rest in a warm place for 20 mins. Don’t cover it if you want the skin to stay crisp.

Top turkey crown recipes

Italian-style turkey crown

If you want a chorus of delighted ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as you bring your turkey crown to the table, then look no further. It looks spectacular and the pancetta covering the skin is beautifully crisp.

Italian-style turkey crown with roast garlic & pancetta & lemon ciabatta stuffing

Easy turkey crown

Fuss-free and on the table in under two hours, our easy turkey crown is the one for beginners. If you’ve never cooked Christmas dinner before, it’ll wow your guests. Cook it with our all-in-one trimmings traybake for an even easier meal.

Moist turkey crown with chestnut truffle stuffing

Mushrooms and chestnuts make a well-flavoured stuffing that helps keep the turkey meat moist for this earthy and hearty Christmas Day stunner.

Moist turkey crown with chestnut truffle stuffing

Brined roast turkey crown & confit legs

Learn how to get your turkey crown beautifully moist by dry-brining it as we’ve done with our brined roast turkey crown & confit legs. This tenderises the meat, adds flavour and makes it extra juicy.

Healthy turkey crown

If you prefer not to overindulge on the big day, then this lighter turkey crown is a great option. Packed with flavour from oranges, thyme, honey, soy sauce and caramelised vegetables, serve it with our healthy gravy.

Enjoyed this? Find more tasty turkey recipes…

Turkey crown recipes
How to make the ultimate turkey
How do I baste a turkey?
The foolproof turkey guide
How to prepare & carve a turkey
How to baste a turkey

Do you prefer cooking a whole turkey at Christmas or just the crown? Leave a comment below…

The turkey is a glorious festive centrepiece, the eating of it anticipated by the whole family, including the pets. However, the cooking of a huge bird can be somewhat challenging if you don’t have the means to roasting a sometimes 18lb bird!

Come Christmas time, usually the size of your party is determined by what size bird you can even fit in the oven. This is where the turkey crown comes in, this is the breast of the bird still attached to the bone with the legs and wings removed. It will cook quicker, fit in any oven and have lots of white meat to feed all – no wonder crowns are becoming more and more popular as we search for ways to make Christmas cooking less arduous.

A few handy hints before you get started. Remember to rest the bird up to 30 minutes before serving, as this will ensure the meat is super moist and tender. You can cover the bird with a few layers of tin foil to stop it from losing any heat, though turkeys can retain their core temperature for up to an hour after cooking.

If you’re wondering how big your turkey crown should be… a 2-2.5kg turkey crown should comfortably six people.

According to British Turkey, you should follow the turkey crown cooking times as follows: 20 mins for every kg + 70 minutes if the joint is under 4kg (or + 90 minutes if the bird is over 4kg) at 190°C (Fan 180°C) / 375°F / Gas Mark 5.

Follow our recipe for moist and tender meat without the faff!

Turkey crowns are genius. They’re ideal for smaller families, feeding four to six people, and you’ll spend less time in the kitchen tending to an oversized whole bird. But, more importantly, turkey crowns fit in everyone’s oven! Who needs leftovers anyway?

Here’s how to feast on a perfectly succulent turkey crown this Christmas, with expert tips from experienced chefs in our test kitchen.

MAKE SURE YOU…

1. Fully defrost the turkey crown, then cook from room temperature

This one’s a no-brainer. It takes a bit of patience to defrost a turkey, simply because of their sheer size, so make sure you allow enough time. Defrosting should be done in the fridge if possible and separated from other foods, in a container large enough to catch any juices. It’s important to bring your turkey to room temperature before roasting to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove the crown from the fridge at least 30 minutes before to avoid excess moisture developing on the skin as it goes into the hot oven.

2. Pat the turkey dry with kitchen paper

Everyone deserves crispy turkey skin at Christmas. Gently dab the turkey all over with kitchen paper and season generously with sea salt. Extra fat will guarantee a golden crust, so don’t forget to tuck blobs of soft butter under the skin. We love sage butter, but any herb butter will work well.

3. Weigh the turkey after stuffing it

This is a rookie mistake you don’t want to make. Always weigh the turkey after you fill it with the stuffing mixture to calculate the perfect cooking time for your roast. The turkey cooking equation is 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes if your turkey is under 4kg. Don’t worry – we’ve already done the maths for you.

4. Cook the turkey upside down

This one works every single time. Cook the turkey upside down so the juices run through the breast meat, resulting in the juiciest roast you’ll ever dream of. Simply turn the turkey over for the last 40 minutes to get that incredible golden skin too. When you turn it over, show the crown some love and baste it with the pan juices. At this point you can also add a bacon lattice on top, in case the recipe calls for it. The ideal temperature to cook turkey crown is 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6.

PLEASE DON’T…

1. Wash your turkey crown

Rinsing poultry under the tap is a major cause for germ spreading. There’s absolutely no need to wash the turkey, so save yourself the trouble of all the cleaning up afterwards.

2. Peek into the oven every few minutes

You’ve done your best and prepared an amazing turkey crown. Now all that’s left to do is to wait with a cup of tea and mince pies for company. Don’t open the oven for a cheeky peek – opening the oven allows steam to escape, which increases the chances of your roast drying out. No, no, no!

3. Undercook the turkey

There are two ways to tell when your roast is ready. For the traditional way, simply pierce the flesh at its thickest point using a sharp skewer or knife. If the juices run clear, the crown is cooked. If they run slightly pinkish, cook for another 10 minutes and check again. For the science-led way, insert your temperature probe​ into the breast at its thickest point and leave in for 2 minutes. If the temperature reaches 75°C, you’re good to go. Both ways work – it just depends on what’s in your toolbox.

4. Wrap the turkey too tightly in foil

Foil is your friend when it comes to resting turkey properly. During the 25-minute resting time, wrap turkey in a loose foil tent – but make sure it doesn’t touch the skin. This keeps the skin crispy and stops the heat from escaping.

EXTRA HELPINGS

1. Make the gravy in the baking tray

While the crown is resting, make the gravy in the baking tray that you used to cook the turkey. If the dish isn’t transferable to your stove top, add a splash of boiling water and allow it to soak up the pan juices for 10 minutes. Scrape any bits stuck to the bottom and transfer every last bit to the gravy pan.

2. Add some flavour

There are plenty of ways to flavour turkey. We love the classic stuffing technique, or tucking flavoured butter under the skin. You can’t go wrong with fresh thyme and lemon if you want a roast with simple yet delicious flavours. Or go all out with the ultimate roast turkey with chestnut and sausage stuffing and a festive bacon lattice top. We also have all the secrets to the perfect Christmas stuffing. Shh…

Thinking of making a whole roast turkey instead? Get the recipe for the perfect turkey.

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan) mark 5. Lay a rasher on a board and run the blunt side of a knife across the length of the rasher a few times to stretch it. Repeat with other rashers.

  2. Weigh turkey and work out the cooking time: allow 20min per kg (2lb 5oz) plus 1hr 10min – or be guided by the instructions on the packaging. Put into a roasting dish just large enough to hold the crown. Rub with butter and top with tarragon. Season.

  3. Lay a rasher of bacon along the left-hand side of the turkey, followed by one horizontally across the top. Add remaining rashers, laying them to form a criss-cross pattern (see picture above). Tuck any loose ends underneath the crown. Pour stock into the roasting dish, then cover turkey with foil.

  4. Roast for the calculated cooking time. Mix together mustard and honey to make a glaze. When turkey has 20min cooking time remaining, remove foil and drizzle over the glaze. Return to the oven, uncovered, for the remaining cooking time. Check turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the meat with a knife – the juices should run clear. If they’re still pink, return to the oven and check again at 10min intervals until it’s ready. Transfer to a warm plate, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm (not hot) place for 30min. Surround with roasted vegetables and serve.

Roast turkey crown

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

  2. Rub the butter all over the bird and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then lay the bacon rashers over the bird, more or less covering it completely. The job of the bacon is twofold: to help keep the breast basted without you having to open (and therefore cool) the oven every ten minutes; and to buy you time, so the skin doesn’t burn before the breast is cooked through.

  3. Place the bird in a roasting tray in the centre of the oven. Cook on this high heat for 25-30 minutes until the bacon is almost burnt.

  4. Remove the bacon from the breast of the bird and put on one side. Baste the breast of the bird with the fat and juices in the pan and return to the oven. Turn down the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and continue to cook for about 12 minutes per 1kg/2¼lb, protecting the skin with buttered foil only if it seems to need it. Cook until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced with a skewer and the skin is brown and crispy. Cooked like this even a big bird (say 6-7kg/13½-15¾lb legless weight) shouldn’t take more than 1½-2 hours in total.

  5. Serve slices of roast turkey breast and spoonfuls of the leg meat in their rich gravy, with all the usual trimmings: roast potatoes, bread sauce, steamed sprouts, chipolatas wrapped in bacon and stuffing.