Gordon Ramsay’s Turkey with Gravy

I have suffered through many dry, bland turkey dinners with tasteless gravy. I’m sure you have, too. This turkey recipe from Gordon Ramsay will put an end to your suffering.

A couple of years ago, I came across the Gordon Ramsay Christmas special. He featured many recipes for the holidays, including this recipe for roast turkey. I think I wore out the DVR replaying it over and over again while trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

The results are spectacular! Here is the clip from the Ramsay special (includes the gravy recipe as well).

Important Tips

  • This recipe is really for turkeys that are not brined. There will be plenty of butter over and under the skin. Basting every 30 minutes is also key to a juicy bird. And you’ll save yourself from all that sodium (200mg versus 65mg per serving).
  • Worried about how long to cook your turkey? Check out Epicurious’s chart for roasting time and temperature.
  • You can prep the bird or just the butter mixture the night before to save time for the following day.
  • The bacon is used instead of aluminum foil to keep the skin from burning on top. The bacon fat will also keep it from drying out. Once the turkey is cooked, you can use the bacon for the gravy (see gravy recipe below).
  • You must let the turkey rest for as long as you cooked it! This will allow the juices to be reabsorbed into the bird. 20 minutes is not enough time. If you cooked it for 3 hours, let it rest for 3 hours. You can warm up the turkey with hot gravy or in the microwave just before serving (heat it covered or it will dry out).

Gordon Ramsay’s Turkey


  • 1 free-range turkey (ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze), about 5–5.5kg (11-12 lbs.)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 bulb of garlic, halved horizontally
  • 6 bay leaves
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 8 strips of smoked streaky bacon

Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:

  • 375g (1 lb.) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small lemons, finely grated zest and juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7/425ºF. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well to combine.
  2. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
  3. With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
  4. Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
  5. Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)
  6. Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180°C/Gas 4/350ºF and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
  7. To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
  8. Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.
gordon ramsay turkey skin browned

Turkey after the skin has been browned

gordon ramsay turkey covered with bacon

Use bacon to cover the top of the turkey to protect the skin. The bacon fat will help keep it from drying out.

gordon ramsay turkey cooked

The final result – a delicious turkey!

Gordon Ramsay’s Turkey Gravy with Cider and Walnuts


  • Bacon, onions, lemon and trimmings from the roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 litre (35 ozs.) good-quality hard dry cider
  • 600ml (21 ozs.) good-quality chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp walnut pieces, toasted


  1. Once you’ve transferred the cooked turkey to a platter to rest, drain off most of the fat from the roasting tray and place on the hob.
  2. Roughly chop the bacon, add to the tray and fry for a few minutes. Chop the onions and lemon and add to the tray with 2 rosemary sprigs and the tomatoes. Cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the turkey wings, parson’s nose and drumstick tips and fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Pour in the cider and boil for a few minutes. Add the juices from the resting turkey and simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Pour in the stock, return to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly. Using a potato masher, crush the vegetables in the tray. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced again by a third. Take off the heat.
  4. Strain the gravy through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing down on the solids in the sieve with a ladle to extract as much of the flavourful juice as possible. Add a fresh sprig of rosemary to the pan, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
  5. Before serving, remove the rosemary, season to taste and reheat the gravy. Coarsely crush the walnut pieces using a pestle and mortar and then tip into a warmed gravy jug. Pour the piping hot gravy on top and serve at once.

55 thoughts on “Gordon Ramsay’s Turkey with Gravy

      • It came out AMAZING. doing it again tomorrow!! Haha! Also, do I wait to do the gravy after it’s been. Resting for a while? Or do I start the gravy right away and just reheat it on the stove before serving? Thanks!

        • I’m glad to hear your turkey came out great! As for the gravy, I never have time to wait for the turkey to rest before I make the gravy. LOL! You can start the gravy right away and reheat it with no problem. I even save the gravy and microwave it the next day. Good luck tomorrow!

          • Yeah that’s what I was thinking! Also, for the lemon when butter, that could be made ahead of time correct? Like tonight for instance and just get it to room temperature before hand? Anything to save some time haha.

  1. Thanks for such a detailed post with pictures! This recipe was outstanding! I have made many a turkey every Thanksgiving and everyone agreed that this was the best. The gravy was not your typical turkey gravy and I wondered if it’s a British thing? It was delicious, but seemed liked it belonged over pot roast or something more beefy (I didn’t bother with the walnuts). It was dark and on the thin side, since there was no flour in the recipe. I made a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up a bit. It had very complex flavors, which if you look at the list of ingredients, it makes sense. I served a Costco turkey gravy along with the Ramsey gravy and people enjoyed comparing and contrasting the two. The prep work for this turkey takes much longer than 30 minutes, but it’s worth it. I prepped the turkey the day before and was very glad I did. Much less stressful. One last tip – I cooked the turkey early in the day, carved it, placed it in a pan, poured turkey stock over it to keep it moist, covered with parchment paper and foil and then kept it in my oven warmer until dinner (about 3 hours). Amazingly moist and flavorful. This is now my go-to turkey recipe!

    • I have used this recipe with the 5.5kg/12lb bird and up to 6.8kg/18lb. I think you can feed up to 10 people comfortably with a 5.5kg/12lb turkey.

  2. I made this turkey yesterday for my family, for Christmas Eve. Everyone loved it!!! It was the best turkey recipe I`ve ever tried. 😀

  3. I\ve been looking at Gordon’s clip on youtube and various transcriptions invluding this one to answer one question. When the bird comes out of the oven, there is alot of juice. Gordon calls this excess fat and pours it into a bowl.

    Is this waste? Nowhere do I find it’s supposed to be poured back into the gravy or reused for anything else.

    But it’s delicious!

  4. After seeing this on tv in turkey today .
    It’s roll on Xmas , got to try this , sounds lovely and do not look to hard todo .
    Hope it all goes to plan .
    Thanks Terry

  5. Hi, I noticed that you have adjusted the recipe a little, e.g. bulb of garlic in the cavity, extra tomato in the gravy, etc. Is this because you have found better results?

    • Short answer: Yes!

      There are three reasons for the bacon:

      1. After the skin has browned in the first 30 minutes, it protects the skin from burning.
      2. The fat from the bacon keeps the turkey breast meat moist, but the butter does as well.
      3. You can use the bacon afterward for the gravy.

      I believe the most important function for the bacon is to keep the skin from burning, so turkey bacon should be fine. Personally, I use pork bacon for the fat to give a nice flavor to the skin and the gravy.

    • I like to use something that is not too sweet. In the past, I have used Angry Orchard Crisp Apple or Angry Orchard Stone Dry.

      The best advice I can give is time. Give yourself plenty of time for prepping and making the gravy! Prep the bird the night before and use the extra time for the gravy.

  6. Hello everyone.
    I used a completely different recipe from a different chef’s recipe and the results were a horrible Thanksgiving turkey. I just came across this recipe today , and I’m going to make this recipe tomorrow. Could you please tell me exactly how many tablespoons of sea salt do i need to salt the turkey initially AND much sea salt do I use in the butter preparation ?

    • Confession time… I don’t measure how much sea salt I use. I generally use very little. Sea salt is more potent than regular salt, so I would use about 1/4 teaspoon or less in the butter. Use about 1/2 teaspoon for the cavity.

    • I personally prefer yellow onions, but you can’t go wrong with white onions. Yellow onions are an all-purpose onion where as white onions have a stronger flavor.

      • I take the butter and turkey juices and let them separate (fat will rise to the top). I baste/spoon off the fat and use the juice to make gravy. This juice can be used in place of the chicken stock in any gravy recipe. Both the fat and juice can be used.

  7. What I like about this recipe is the tip to let the turkey rest as long as it has cooked. It avoids the stress of whether the turkey will be done too early and dry out, or not be done in time for Thanksgiving dinner. I get up early, roast the turkey according to the recipe. When it is done I triple wrap it in foil and put it in a portable cooler with a kitchen towel on top and underneath. It can rest and remain extremely hot for up to four hours and letting the juices reabsorb makes it very tender and juicy. It takes all the guess work out of trying to time the cooking of the turkey with the planned dinner time since the turkey is cooked way before I start preparing the other dishes.

  8. Hi Amber, Thanks for answering everyone’s questions! I have 2 of my own: a) what happens to the garlic from the turkey cavity? b) have you tried thickening the gravy with a corn starch? If so, how/when do you do it? (I’ve never made gravy but I’m from the south and gravy is always somewhat thick.)

    • The garlic in the turkey cavity is used for the gravy after the turkey is cooked. I haven’t used corn starch in the gravy. If you do use corn starch, please comment back and tell me how it turned out!

  9. Hello, I will be making this turkey this week I’ll like to know if I can use hickory smoked bacon to cover the turkey? & If I don’t have any fresh parsley can I use dried?

  10. First time ever cooking a turkey and i wanna try this and the turkey I have is 19.46 what is the time for cooking and rest? Young cook in a bind help!

  11. Hello im planning to apply this recipe today im just confused what does he do with all the water that the turkey was bathed in is it thrown away and replaced by chicken stock in the gravy?

    • I’m not sure what you mean about the water. Are you referring to the pan juice made by the cooked turkey and butter? That is thrown away because it’s mostly butter. And yes, it’s replaced by the chicken stock and apple cider. So, you’re correct!

  12. Excellent job on the textual rendition of the video recipe. This is the second year in a row I’ve made this and it has been phenomenal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *