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Roast turkey with orange and thyme rub recipe

Roast turkey with orange and thyme rub recipe

8 ratings

If you're looking for a tasty spin to really set your Christmas dinner apart, then look no further than this zesty roast turkey recipe. Festive orange and fragrant thyme are paired together in a dry rub, which is massaged into the turkey before cooking, and adds gorgeous, citrus flavour to your golden Christmas dinner centrepiece. See method

  • Serves 12
  • 15 mins to prepare and 3 hr 25 mins to cook, plus resting
  • 372 calories / serving
  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Dairy-free


  • 5kg oven-ready turkey
  • 30g pack fresh thyme
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 small orange, quartered
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g pack fresh rosemary, to garnish

For the rub

  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 50g light brown soft sugar

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    9g 13%
  • Saturates

    3g 13%
  • Sugars

    6g 6%
  • Salt

    1.2g 20%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 8.7g Protein 64.1g Fibre 2.4g


  1. Half-fill a roasting tin with water and put in the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Dry the outside of the turkey with kitchen paper. Season the turkey cavity with a little of the rub and put half the thyme and all the celery, orange and onion into the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and brush the turkey all over with the oil. Massage the remaining rub into the skin.
  3. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time based on 20 mins per kg, plus 105 mins. Put the turkey in a roasting tin and cover with foil. Roast for the calculated cooking time, basting 3 times and removing the foil for the final 30 mins. When cooked through, the juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the bird (avoiding the bone); if they are pink, roast for a further 15 mins before retesting. If using a meat thermometer, it should read 75°C.
  4. Transfer the turkey to a platter. Reserve the juices to make gravy (if you wish) and discard the cavity flavourings. Cover and rest for at least 30 mins.
  5. Serve the turkey garnished with the rosemary and remaining thyme, alongside your favourite accompaniments and gravy.

Tip: Heating a water-filled tin at the bottom of the oven produces steam, which helps keep the turkey moist while cooking.

See more Christmas dinner recipes

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