Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

If you're looking for a simple roast turkey recipe, then look no further. Whether you want to cook it for Thanksgiving Day or Christmas, this recipe will grace your table and be enjoyed by your guests. Here in Scotland, roast turkey is still seen as the traditional main course on Christmas Day, although some people like to vary the menu and maybe choose, Roast Venison, beef or lamb. Others may choose roast goose, pheasant or a fish dish such as salmon. The most traditional dessert here in Scotland is still Christmas Pudding, although others might choose the rich fruit alternative Clootie Dumpling or the lighter dessert made with whisky, raspberries and cream such as Tipsy Laird or the equally delicious Crannachan. Other traditional food such as mince pies and Christmas Cake are usually served at some time during the day.

Preparing for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving or Christmas takes a bit of planning, but this simple roast turkey recipe, with all the trimmings will enable you to be prepared, so you can also enjoy the occasion. To accompany this simple roast turkey recipe, I will serve 'chestnut and sausagemeat' stuffing, and 'parsley an thyme' stuffing, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, bacon & chipolatas, sprouts, carrots, peas, gravy, bread sauce and cranberry jelly.

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe - image of roast turkey

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

The Turkey

1 10lb turkey with giblets (If frozen, ensure it is thoroughly thawed)
2 oz softened butter
1 large peeled onion
6 whole cloves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 170C / 325F / Gas 3 and adjust shelves so dish with bird will fit in.
  • Clean the turkey, setting aside the giblets for the gravy
  • Dry with Kitchen roll.
  • Pierce the cloves into the onion and place in body of turkey
  • Spread top with the butter and season with the salt and black pepper.
  • Cover with foil, and place on a rack in a roasting tin.
  • Cook slowly for 3¾ - 4 hours, basting and turning occasionally.
  • Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the turkey.
  • Test by putting a skewer into the thigh. If the juices run clear, the bird is ready.
  • Allow to rest for a few minutes and put on a serving platter, saving the sediment and juices for the gravy.

Chestnut and Sausagement Stuffing

Both this stuffing and the next one are traditionally served with this simple roast turkey recipe

Little butter
1 large, peeled and finely chopped onion
2 large cooking apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
8 oz sausagemeat (pork)
4 ox fresh white breadcrumbs
1 can chestnut puree (15½) or fresh chestnuts cooked, peeled and pureed.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  • Melt the butter in a pan.
  • Add the onion and gently fry until soften and golden.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Season to taste.
  • With damp hands shape into balls, place on a well-greased oven tray and cook for about 20 minutes

Parsley & Thyme Stuffing

4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbs freshly chopped parsley
1 tbs freshly chopped thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 oz shredded suet
1 beaten egg
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
A little milk (if necessary)


  • Combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl.
  • Season with the salt & pepper.
  • If the mixture seems a wee bit too stiff, add a wee bit of milk to soften it.
  • With damp hands shape into balls, place on a well-greased oven tray and cook for about 15 minutes
  • At the same time – you can put the chipolatas and bacon rolls in the oven – as they will only take about 15 minutes too.

Bread Sauce

In the UK Bread Sauce always accompanies this simple roast turkey recipe.

1 small peeled and chopped onion
¾ pt milk
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
4 black peppercorns
4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
1 oz butter


  • Put onion, milk & seasoning in a pan and bring to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat and tightly cover for 20 minutes.
  • Strain and return to the cleaned pan.
  • Add the breadcrumbs, butter and salt (to taste)
  • Simmer gently, stirring from time to time.

Giblet Gravy

Giblets from the turkey
1 peeled and chopped onion
1 peeled and sliced carrot
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
2 tbs flour


  • Put the giblets in a pan and cover with water.
  • Add the onion, carrot, bay leaf and seasoning.
  • Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hr.
  • Strain into a measuring jug and make up to 1 pt using the water from the cooked vegetables.
  • Take the turkey out of the oven, & place on platter. Drain off excess fat, but leave the sediment & juice.
  • Place the tin on the stove under gentle heat.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Gradually add in the giblet stock, stirring constantly.
  • Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for a further couple of minutes.
  • Serve in a gravy boat

Well there you have it - a simple roast turkey recipe. Making the turkey really IS simple, and all the homemade trimmings are delicious, but you CAN cheat a little by buying bought (often frozen) roast potatoes, parsnips, stuffing etc, and even bread sauce can come out of a packet.

If you've enjoyed this simple roast turkey recipe, why not have a look at some of the others on the site:

Easter Sunday Menu - Have a look at the recipes I've chosen for Easter Sunday - Cream of Carrot & Coriander Soup, Roast Lamb, followed by profiteroles.
Mothers' Day Menu - A simple meal of cottage pie, followed by rhubarb crumble.
Valentine's Meal - Try the recipes I've chosen for Valentine's Day - starting with Smoked Salmon Mousse followed by Steak in a Whisky and Pepper Sauce, and finishing with a delicious Chocolate Cream.
Burns Supper - Look at how this is celebrated and try out the traditional menu of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Tipsy Laird - This delicious whisky trifle (similar to sherry trifle) is traditionally served at a Burns Supper.
Black Bun - This is traditionally served at Hogmanay when bringing in the New Year.
Clootie Dumpling - This rich and traditional dish is a favourite all year round but especially at Christmas time.
Christmas Pudding - This traditional pudding is usually served on Christmas day throughout the UK as well as Scotland.
Christmas Cake - Do try this traditional Christmas cake recipe - another authentic Scottish food recipe!.
Black Bun - This is traditionally served at Hogmanay when bringing in the New Year.
Cullen Skink - This famous fish soup is made with smoked haddock.
Trout in oatmeal - This traditional and famous dish made with local ingredients.
Roast Venison - Make Christmas, Thanksgiving or other celebration special by serving roast venison to your guests.
Best Scone Recipes - Try the plain, fruit or the cheese scones.
Famous Shortbread Recipes - Have a look at some variations of shortbread recipes.
Haggis - Try this world-famous dish.
Pretend Haggis - If you can't face the 'real' thing, try this easy-to-make pretend haggis recipe.
Forfar Bridie - Try this filling meat 'pastie'.
Raspberry Recipes - See what you can do with a punnet of delicious raspberries, including the famous dessert, Crannachan.
Scotch Broth - See the recipe for hearty Scotch Broth.
Scotch Eggs - A simple recipe for you to try. Can be served hot or cold.
Scotch Pancakes - A quick, inexpensive treat for your guests.
Potato Scones - Serve Potato (or tattie) scone as part of the traditional Scottish Breakfast.
Tablet - Indulge in this delicious, but sweet Scottish confectionery.
Scottish Leek Soup Recipes - Try these two famous Scottish Leek Soup Recipes.
Scottish Lorne Sausages - Try this everyday dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Scotch Pies - This Traditional pie is made with mutton or lamb.
Porridge - Try a bowl of this famous Scottish breakfast dish.
Savoury Mince Pie - This delicious but simple pie is served in households across Scotland.
Salmon Patties - A variation on the Fish Cake - but using Scottish oats.
Traditional Fish and Chips in Batter. - If you're visiting Scotland - do try this from a good Fish and Chip Shop. But if you want to make it yourself, here's the recipe. Serve with 'mushy' peas.
Stovies - Try this simple, everyday dish, can be made with lamb, corned beef or even sausages.

Also look at some of the recipes contributed by visitors to this site.
Grandma Wright's Clootie Dumpling, Mince and Tatties, Quick Microwave Christmas Pudding, Cup of Tea Cake, Scottish Recipe against a Sore Throat, Gaelic Coffee, Mealy Potatoes, Scot's Pepper Pleasure Boat

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Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

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