Recipe for Turkey Breast Crown

When cooked properly, turkey crown can be a succulent, mouth-watering dish that will impress your Christmas guests. However, it is all too easy to get it wrong. Continue reading for expert advice on how to get it right.

Cooking a turkey crown is similar to cooking a whole turkey, but it results in fewer leftovers, which means less turkey curry on Boxing Day.

Cooking a Turkey Crown

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/180°C fan/gas 5
  2. Weigh your bird to determine the proper cooking time (20 minutes per kg). Add another 70 minutes (or 90 minutes if your turkey crown weighs more than 4kg) to the cooking time.
  3. To keep it moist, add some fat, either butter or fat from another meat.
  4. Cover the turkey with a loose tent of foil to keep it from drying out.
  5. Remove the foil 30 minutes before the cooking time is up, and raise the temperature to 200°C/190°C fan/gas 6.
  6. Brush the turkey with the turkey's own juices.
  7. When you think it's done, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the crown. The juices should run clear rather than pink if it's cooked.
  8. If it isn't, return it to the oven and check it frequently with a skewer.

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Roast turkey on a wooden board with two slices carved

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Top cooking tips for turkey

Stop it from drying out.

Because a turkey crown is only breast (white) meat, adding fat to your cooking is essential for a tasty turkey that doesn't dry out.

This is because white meat contains less fat than dark meat, which is great if you're on a diet but not so great if you want the fat to keep the white meat of your turkey crown moist.

This is why, in most turkey recipes, butter is slathered beneath the turkey skin of the breast meat, or pancetta or bacon is draped over the turkey skin of the breast meat.  

To ensure tender and moist meat throughout, use a turkey baster to redistribute the juices.

Check that it will fit in your oven.

One thing to double-check before the big day is that your turkey crown will fit in your oven.  

When we test built-in ovens and freestanding cookers, we measure the amount of actual usable space in the oven so you can be sure your new oven will fit whatever you need to fit in there.

ovens reviewsExamine our oven reviews.

What temperature should my turkey crown be cooked at?

In general, turkey crowns should be cooked at 180°C/190°C fan, 350°F, or gas mark 5, depending on your oven.

In a fan oven, 180°C is the ideal temperature for cooking a turkey crown.

Many popular recipes recommend preheating the oven to a high temperature (for example, 200°C fan) and then turning it down immediately, or after a few minutes, once the turkey is in.  

This is done to allow the initial high heat to crisp up the skin. Some recipes also call for increasing the temperature at the end.  

Cooking times for turkey crowns

You can calculate how long it will take to cook the turkey crown once you know its weight.  

According to the British Turkey Information Service, it takes 20 minutes per kg, plus 70 minutes if it weighs less than 4kg and 90 minutes if it weighs more than 4kg.

When the oven is set to 180°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4, the cooking times are as follows:

  • 1 kilogram - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 1 hour 40 minutes - 1.5kg
  • 1 hour 50 minutes - 2kg
  • 2 hours - 2.5kg
  • 3kg in 2 hours and 10 minutes

Check the cooking times for the bird you purchase on the packaging, or ask the butcher if you are not purchasing from a supermarket.  

However, cooking times may vary depending on how well your cooker maintains its temperature.  

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The location of the turkey in the oven will also make a difference. We discovered one Don't Buy built-in oven that was set to 180°C but was approximately 27°C higher on the top level and approximately 12°C lower on the bottom level.

If you pierce the turkey with a skewer in the thickest part of the breast, the juices should run clear.

meat thermometer reviewsCheck out our meat thermometer reviews and serve perfectly cooked turkey to your guests.  

Roast turkey on a wooden board with three slices carved

The turkey is being rested.

Whatever size turkey you choose, all of the best chefs agree that resting it is an important part of the cooking process. Resting simply means removing it from the oven before serving.  

This prevents the juices from pouring out as soon as you cut it because they have had time to absorb back into the meat, keeping it nice and moist.  

Allow the meat to rest for 15 to 20 minutes, covered in foil, to keep it warm and the moisture inside.

Looking for an alternative to the traditional turkey for your Christmas dinner? Why not try a piece of beef? how to cook roast beefLearn how to make roast beef on Christmas Day.  

What size turkey crown should I purchase?

The weight of the turkey crown you choose will influence how long it takes to cook. As a general rule, you'll need between 300g and 400g per person.  

The table below will give you an idea of how much turkey crown you'll need to feed your entire guest list.

  • 1kg for 3 to 4 people
  • 5–6 people – 1 5kg
  • 6–8 people – 2kg
  • 8–10 people – 2 5kg
  • 10–12 people – 3kg

how to cook red cabbageFollow our cooking instructions for red cabbage, the ideal side dish for a turkey dinner.  

How to Carve a Turkey Like a Pro (Video)

Watch the video below to learn how Toby Carvery experts recommend slicing a whole turkey and a turkey crown for Christmas dinner.

electric carving knivesSee our electric carving knife reviews to make quick and easy work of carving your turkey.  

Consider a boneless turkey crown.

You can buy a boned or boneless turkey crown, also known as a boneless turkey breast. These are frequently pre-stuffed or adorned with trimmings such as bacon.

Cooking times for both are approximately the same, depending on weight.  

However, many recipes recommend cooking at 170°C fan instead of 180°C. Check the packaging again, or ask your butcher.

Roast turkey in oven tray topped with sprig of rosemary

Additional turkey recipes

Now that you know how to cook a turkey crown, you can add tasty extras to make your Christmas dinner centerpiece stand out. You won't find many top chefs' recipes for turkey crowns, so if you're looking for a Jamie Oliver-style 'how to cook a turkey crown,' you're out of luck. But Mary Berry, Delia Smith, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have all created their own turkey crowns for Christmas.  

Mary Berry is best known for her work on Bake Off, but she also knows a thing or two about delicious turkey. Mary's top tip for cooking a turkey crown is to combine 2 teaspoons thyme leaves with 50g softened butter and smear the mixture under the bird's skin. Then, on top of the herb butter, arrange orange slices in two neat rows under the skin.

how to cook a turkey crown with orangeMarry Berry's website has more information on how to cook a turkey crown with orange.

Delia Smith recommends slathering softened butter all over the skin of the turkey and then slicing pancetta across the top of the bird for a succulent turkey crown. She suggests removing the pancetta after about 45 minutes of cooking (it will be brown and crisp by then) and returning it to the oven to reheat for a few minutes before serving.

Delia Smith’s turkey crown recipeDelia Smith's turkey crown recipe includes cranberry and sage stuffing to go with your turkey.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, of River Cottage fame, swears by a recipe that promises moist, tender meat with minimal fuss. Hugh suggests using rashers of streaky bacon to keep your breast moist.

Traditionally, a turkey would have been basted, which means that the oven would be opened every now and then to spoon some of the fat released during cooking back over the breast meat to keep it moist. However, as Hugh points out, opening the oven door every 10 minutes causes the oven to cool, whereas the addition of bacon keeps the breast basted without requiring you to touch the oven door.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s turkey crown recipeHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's turkey crown recipe is complete.  

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