Orange & tarragon roast turkey

Orange & tarragon roast turkey

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(3 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins - 4 hrs

More effort

Serves 8 with leftovers
Roasting your Christmas turkey with a flavoured butter locks in moisture for a zesty, juicy finish ready to garnish with trimmings

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal569
  • fat28g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs3g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre1g
  • protein73g
  • salt0.8g
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  • 5-5½ kg/11-12lb turkey, rinsed and dried



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 100g butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 15g pack tarragon, 2 tbsp finely chopped, rest tied in a bunch with string



    A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, quartered



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 150ml dry white wine
  • sage or tarragon sprigs, to serve



    A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a roasting tin with a very generous length of double-thickness foil. Weigh the turkey to calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg, then 50 mins for every kg over that weight (a turkey this size should take 3½-4 hrs).

  2. Put the butter in a bowl and finely grate the zest from the orange on top. Add the chopped tarragon, garlic and seasoning and mix well. You can make this 3 days ahead.

  3. Gently push your fingers under the turkey skin, starting from the neck end of the bird, easing the skin away from the breast and the top of the drumsticks. Now spread the flavoured butter under the skin, taking care not to tear it. You won’t be able to reach all the way down to the drumsticks, but you can ease the butter along by smoothing it through the skin. Quarter the orange and tuck into the turkey cavity with the onion and the bunch of tarragon (step-by-step). You can do this the night before.

  4. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, then lift it onto the foil-lined roasting tin. Pour the wine into the cavity of the turkey, then bring up the sides of the foil and cover the top of the bird with a layer of foil. Roast according to your calculated time.

  5. Thirty mins before the end of cooking time, remove the foil from the top of the turkey and add the potatoes to the oven.

  6. To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices that run out should be clear, not pink. If they are pink, continue to roast, checking at 10-min intervals.

  7. Remove the turkey, transfer to a warm serving platter and let it rest, covered loosely with the foil, for 30-40 mins before carving. Meanwhile, turn up the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook the potatoes for 30 mins more, with the stuffing and sausages. Serve the turkey decorated with herbs.

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Jan, 2014
Made this for New Years lunch and it was delicious. The turkey was gorgeously moist, not dry at all and was cooked perfectly. Even people who said they weren't fussed on turkey said how lovely it was. Fabulous!
23rd Dec, 2013
I made this for St. Patrick's Day lunch, it was so good I'm coming back for Christmas. Very nice recipe.
21st Dec, 2012
Tried this last year and will be doing it again this year, fantastic flavours. To ensure a really moist bird, I brined mine for 24hours beforehand too - it's definitely worth the extra effort!
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