How to cook a turkey crown

If you're roasting a turkey crown this year, we've got all the tips you need to cook the meat perfectly for a succulent Christmas dinner centrepiece.

Turkey crown with a slice taken off, on a plate

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.

Brined turkey with bay leaves on a plate

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

Turkey crown wrapped in bacon rashers

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

Moist turkey crown on a plate with potatoes

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

turkey crown with vegetables and gravy

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...

Comments, questions and tips

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Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
hybridauth_user 77's picture
hybridauth_user 77
24th Dec, 2017
This is the first time I'm cooking a crown rather than a whole bird. Any tips?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
24th Dec, 2017
You'll find plenty of information above and all our recipes are triple-tested to help you get the most out of your bird. Good luck!
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