This recipe will guide you through every step of the way for how to cook a Turkey Crown.
From what size turkey crown to buy, how many people it serves, how long to defrost, preparing to roast, adding flavour, what temperature and how long to cook.
As well as basting advice, the safe cooked temperature, resting time, how to carve bone-in Turkey Breast and finally how to create turkey gravy from the leftover stock and drippings.
Ensuring you have moist, tender slices of roast turkey for your Christmas Roast Dinner or Thanksgiving meal and convincing you that turkey is not dry when prepared and cooked correctly!
We also have a slow cooker turkey crown recipe, which keeps the oven free to cook all the side dishes.
How to cook a turkey crown?
Check out our quick video below showing how to cook a turkey crown.
Continue reading for what size turkey crown to serve how many people, and the defrosting and cooking times for the weight.
We have cooked a defrosted 2.5kg Turkey Crown from Tesco, as seen in the pictures.You can jump straight to the recipe card to get straight to cooking.
What size Turkey Crown do I need?
Turkey crowns are great for a small family, although they range in size and can still serve a large family. They are also easier to fit in the oven than a whole turkey!
Use our handy chart to work out what size turkey crown to buy to feed 4 people or up to 14 people!
|Turkey Crown weight||How many servings |
(with Christmas dinner)
|1.5kg / 3lb||4 People|
|2kg / 4.5lb||5-6 People|
|2.5kg / 5.5lb||7-8 People|
|3kg / 7lb||9-10 People|
|3.5kg / 8lb||11-12 People|
|4kg / 9lb||13-14 People|
The serving suggestions are based on how much to serve at Christmas with all the trimmings.
We cooked a 2.5kg turkey which gave 4 slices of breast meat each to two adults and 2 slices each to four children.
We still had some leftover turkey for our cold meats platter the next day!
How to prevent dry turkey crown?
You must do a few things to cook the best turkey crown, so it is not dry. From what turkey to buy, defrosting correctly, making sure the turkey you are cooking has been pre-brined.
Adding stock to the roasting tin, keeping it covered for most of the cooking time, making sure to cook for the right time, not to overcook and allowing it time to rest.
I will go into more details for each of these below.
What is a turkey crown?
In simple terms, a turkey crown is a whole turkey, with the legs and wings removed. Sometimes the drumettes are still intact.
So you are getting a turkey breast with the bone still in.
It is easier and quicker to cook than a whole turkey and perfect for people who prefer white breast meat.
If you are feeding a small family and still want the dark meat from legs and wings, we have a small whole turkey recipe for you.
What Turkey Crown to buy?
There are many choices these days. What does it all mean? Here is some advice when shopping for your turkey.
A free-range turkey means the turkey has had access to roam freely outdoors and eats as it pleases. They tend to grow slower and gain more fat which means more flavour!
Organic turkeys are also free-range (as above) but fed a strict, regulated, pesticide-free diet.
Bronze Turkey is a traditional dark-feathered breed, a slow grower; the meat has a more robust, intense flavour.
The Norfolk black turkey is considered the oldest breed in Britain, originally from Spain and bought over by Spanish explorers; they have a gamier flavour than the white variety.
Just to be clear, bronze and black turkeys are referring to the colour of their feathers. The meat is the same colour as the white-feathered turkeys.
I have had Bronze, Organic and Free-Range turkeys in the past. They are worth the extra splurge for lovely slices of flavoursome poultry if you can afford them.
However, you can still get excellent results with a supermarket turkey when cooked correctly.
Fresh or Frozen Turkey Crown?
You can use fresh or frozen turkey for this recipe; just remember to defrost ahead of time.
Frozen turkey is an affordable option, so you can buy it in advance from the supermarket.
The bonus is these are available all year round; remember, roast turkey is not just for Christmas and Thanksgiving!
When cooking a frozen turkey crown, you must be a few days ahead when preparing; make sure you allow enough time to defrost the turkey.
Defrosting Turkey Crown
When defrosting a turkey crown, do so in the fridge. Make sure to place the turkey on a deep tray or pot on the bottom shelf. It prevents raw turkey juice from pouring out of the packaging and contaminating other produce in the fridge.
Use the below chart for how long to defrost a turkey crown. Time the defrosting so that once it has defrosted, you will cook it within two days.
|Frozen Turkey Crown Weight||Defrost time in the fridge|
|1.5kg / 3lb||14 hours|
|2kg / 4.5lb||20 hours|
|2.5kg / 5.5lb||25 hours|
|3kg / 7lb||30 hours|
|3.5kg / 8lb||35 hours|
|4kg / 9lb||40 hours|
Brining is a process where the turkey is submerged in saltwater overnight before cooking which adds extra moisture and helps it cook more evenly without drying it out. You can also dry brine turkey in coarse salt.
Before brining a turkey crown, you need to check the turkey’s label; most store-bought turkeys in the UK have already been pre-brined or injected with brine.
The label will say, pre-brined, basted or check the ingredients list; if water and other ingredients are listed, that means it has already been brined.
How to keep the turkey moist?
The best way to cook turkey crown without drying out during cooking, is by adding plenty of fat! Turkey is a low-fat meat and can dry out during the long roasting time.
Adding butter inside the skin and all over the top and inside cavities helps to keep the meat moist.
We also add extra flavour to the butter using garlic and fresh thyme leaves. And adding black pepper all over the skin.
Can you stuff a turkey crown?
There is a cavity under the breastbone and in the neck that can be stuffed, we usually add some fresh thyme and a clementine cut in half.
Don’t stuff turkey crown with stuffing as this will increase the cooking time, leading to dry turkey! Instead, we like to make our sausagemeat stuffing balls separately.
How to tie up a turkey crown?
Some turkey crowns come with drumettes or whole wings attached. We find it best to tuck these under the bird and use cooking string to keep them together, to prevent them from sticking out at funny angles during cooking.
Use a medium-sized deep walled roasting tray, with two onions halved and two carrots cut into quarters to sit the turkey crown on top.
The vegetables work in two ways, a rack to keep the turkey crown raised off the base of the roasting tin.
Whilst adding extra flavour to the stock, which later gets made into a delicious gravy. We will go into more detail about creating a turkey gravy later.
It is best to keep the turkey crown loosely covered with foil during most of the cooking time. If you can, buy an extra wide turkey foil, otherwise use two sheets. This keeps the moisture in and prevents the turkey from drying out.
Use plenty of foil over the top of the turkey crown, try to prevent it from resting on the actual turkey skin. Secure across the long edge of roasting tin only. Leaving the two shorter ends open.
Keep foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking.
What temperature to cook a turkey crown
Only one temperature is needed during the entire cooking process. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan / 190°C / 375°F / Gas mark 5. Convert oven tempertures here.
Roast Turkey Crown Cooking Times
Use the below chart for how long to cook turkey crown based on the size. It may be different from the time shown on the packet, but this is one of the reasons everyone has dry turkey every year!
|Turkey Crown Weight||Cooking time|
|1.5kg / 3lb||1 hour 40 minutes|
|2kg / 4.5lb||1 hour 50 minutes|
|2.5kg / 5.5lb||2 hours 00 minutes|
|3kg / 7lb||2 hours 10 minutes|
|3.5kg / 8lb||2 hours 20 minutes|
|4kg / 9lb||2 hours 50 minutes|
Trust me, follow the above and check the final temperature of the turkey crown. Worst case scenario is you will have to put it back in the oven to cook longer.
Basting during cooking?
We only baste once during cooking. Keeping the crown covered loosely in foil keeps the moisture in so regular basting is not needed.
Also, every time you remove the turkey from the oven, it loses heat and will need to be cooked longer.
Browning turkey skin
30 minutes before the end of cooking remove the foil. Baste all over using a brush or baster, return to the oven to allow the turkey skin to brown evenly.
How to check if a turkey is cooked?
There are a few ways to check, but the best way is to check the temperature.
I highly recommend buying a cooking thermometer for the safest way to help determine that the turkey is cooked through; they are cheap and put your mind at ease!
What temperature should cooked turkey be?
Place into the thickest part of the breast (make sure not to push all the way through!) For the turkey crown to be cooked, the temperature should be over 74°C / 165°F.
If it has not reached the right temperature, place it back in the oven (covered to prevent skin burning) and cook for an extra 15 minutes, then check again.
If you have not got a thermometer, pierce into the breast and check that the juices run clear with no pink tinge.
It is vital to allow the turkey to rest after cooking, cover loosely with foil and leave at least 30 minutes for the liquids to redistribute before carving.
Turkey Gravy from drippings
The stock in the roasting tray is full of flavour from the vegetables, turkey juices, butter, garlic and herbs. The below instructions make a lovely gravy, or if you wanted you could try our red wine turkey gravy instead.
Pour the juices from the roasting tray into a jug through a sieve to catch the vegetables and herbs.
Leave to rest, skim and discard some of the fat off the top.
Mix together cornstarch with water and add to a saucepan with the turkey drippings at high heat, whisking whilst adding.
When it thickens up, add more stock made from a stock cube or stock pot. (We find the Knorr stock pots have the best flavour). Bring to the boil.
Turkey gravy is a pale gravy, so I like to add a splash of browning to give a darker appetising colour.
Bring down to a simmer and cook on low until at the desired thickness.
How to carve a turkey crown
One of the best things about a turkey crown is how easy it is to carve!
Simply remove both breasts from the carcass and slice the breast into the desired size slices.
There will still be some soft, tender meat left to pull off around the bones and possibly some drumettes to cut away from the carcass.
What to serve with Turkey Crown
Oh and don't forget the gravy!
📖 Step by Step Recipe
- 2.5 kg Turkey
- 120 grams Unsalted butter
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 6 sprigs Thyme
- 1 Clementine halved
Roasting Tray Ingredients
- 5 Sprigs Thyme
- 2 Onions cut in half
- 2 Carrots cut into quarters
- 500 ml Stock Chicken, turkey or vegetable stock we used knorr stockpot
- Black Pepper
- Leftover stock and drippings from pan
- 5 tablespoon Cornflour / Cornstarch
- 1000 ml Stock Chicken, turkey or vegetable stock we used knorr stockpot
- If using a frozen turkey, make sure to fully defrost before cooking. 1 hour before cooking remove the butter and turkey crown from the fridge - remove turkey crown from packaging and discard excess liquid. Use a kitchen paper towel to dry the turkey crown.Keep loosely covered.2.5 kg Turkey, 120 grams Unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven at 180°C fan / 190°C / 375°F Gas mark 5Combine leaves from thyme and garlic in a bowl with the softened butter.120 grams Unsalted butter, 4 cloves Garlic, 6 sprigs Thyme
- Split the garlic butter mixture into 2 portions.Gently lift skin from the breast and rub ½ of the butter under the turkey skin.
- Use the remaining garlic and herb butter over the top of the breast skin as well as under and inside the carcass.
- If the drumettes are still attached to the turkey crown, tie them together under the breast.Add clementine and some thyme sprigs inside both the empty cavities of the turkey crown.1 Clementine, 6 sprigs Thyme
- Use carrots and onions to create a base for the turkey crown to sit on top of inside the baking tray. Add more thyme into the tray.2 Onions, 2 Carrots, 5 Sprigs Thyme
- Place the turkey crown on top of the onion and carrots. Pour the chicken stock around the bottom of the tray, not over the turkey. Finally, season the turkey crown with black pepper500 ml Stock, Black Pepper
- Tent foil over the top of the turkey crown and secure on the long edge of roasting tin only. Leaving the ends open. Place in the oven to cook covered, see cooking times in notes for recommended times for the size of your turkey. Or use the packet for guidance (although they sometimes overcook turkey) For example, a 2.5kg turkey crown, I would recommend cooking for 2 hours.
- 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the turkey crown from the oven, take off the foil and baste the turkey crown evenly with the stock at the bottom of the pan. Return tray back in the oven and cook for the final 30 minutes uncovered allowing the skin to brown.
- The easiest and safest way to check if your turkey is cooked is by using a thermometer. Place into the thickest part of the breast (make sure not to push all the way through!) For the turkey crown to be cooked, the temperature should be over 74°C / 165°F. If it has not reached the right temperature, place it back in the oven (covered to prevent skin burning) and cook for an extra 15 minutes, then check again.No thermometer? Pierce the skin and check the juices are running clear with no pink tinge.
- Once cooked, remove the turkey from the tray and place on a chopping board. Cover loosely with foil, allow to rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
- The stock left in the pan is perfect for making gravy. Pour into a jug through a sieve.Leftover stock and drippings from pan
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes, the fat will rise to the top. Spoon some of the fat away.
- Mix cornflour/cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water in a small bowl until lump-free5 tablespoon Cornflour / Cornstarch
- Add turkey drippings and cornflour together into a saucepan. Whisk to combine and heat until it starts thickening.
- Then slowly add in the extra stock, whisking all the time. Bring to a boil to thicken again.1000 ml Stock
- Optional - We like to add a drop of browning to give a deeper colour to the gravy.
Carving Turkey Crown
- When it's time to carve, find the centre breast bone and cut the two breasts all the way down. If your turkey crown has drumettes, pull them down and cut inbetween the bones. Pull any remaining soft meat off the carcass.
- Carve the two large breasts into desired size slices.
- Serve with all the usual trimmings and plenty of gravy!
|Turkey Crown Weight||Cooking time|
|1.5kg||1 hour 40 minutes|
|2kg / 4.5lb||1 hour 50 minutes|
|3kg||2 hours 10 minutes|
|3.5kg||2 hours 20 minutes|
|4kg||2 hours 50 minutes|
So now you know the best way to cook turkey crown, why not check out some more of our recipes.