The problems with cooking a Christmas turkey

Many people find Christmas day really stressful as they have to prepare a Christmas dinner for all of their guests. 

Preparing the meal can be so overwhelming that it can ruin the day.  How many times have you heard heated words coming out of the kitchen? If you have never cooked Christmas dinner before, the pressure can be overwhelming to impress the new in-laws.  It can really spoil the day if you end up arguing with your partner in the kitchen over the meal preparation.

There is no denying it- a turkey will occupy your oven on Christmas day.  Some people find it stressful to coordinate the other parts of the meal while the main oven is out of action.

If you are hosting Xmas dinner it is worth setting the meal for 3pm.  It just takes the pressure off.  It allows everybody time to open presents in the morning and then comfortably arrive at 1pm.  This will give guests some time for an entry drink and some introductory canapes.

Manage your time- set out a timeline for when you will put everything in the oven.  Trust us- the more organised you are with the timing of the food to be cooked in the oven, the less stressful the day. It is a balancing act of delivering the perfect Christmas dinner while still having time to enjoy with your guests.   If you manage your time effectively, you will feel more relaxed on the day.  A relaxed mindset will allow you to be more creative and enjoy your precious time with your guests.

If you are cooking Christmas dinner, you are likely to ask yourself the following questions:

How long will the turkey take to cook?

When shall I put it in the oven?

I don to have enough oven space to cook other parts of the meal. What do I do?

What time should we eat?

Therefore, the key to success on the day is just a little bit of organisation and good timing.

Plan your day

Being too flexible sounds appealing but trust me- it can often make life more stressful!

Know the cooking time of your turkey in advance so that you can plan the meal around this.

The turkey

A 4kg Barra Bronze will cook in 1 hour 55 minutes.  Therefore, put the bird into the oven at 12 and take it out at 2pm (remember to turn it for the last 30 minutes onto its back!) Why not save yourself time queuing at the shops and get your turkey delivered to your door?


Simply skim off the excess fat and pour the gravy into a gravy boat.

Roasted Vegetables

Peel your carrots, parsnips and potatoes the day before so that they are all ready to be boiled on xmas day. 

Start boiling your carrots, parsnips and potatoes at 2pm. You can simply boil these vegetable for 5 minutes.  Then shove them all in one roasting and cook for 55 minutes in the top oven.  Using one roasting tin will make life much easier!


Put your chipolatas in the oven at around 2.30pm. Cook your chipolatas for around 25 minutes while your turkey is resting.

Brussel Sprouts

4-5 minutes to boil your sprouts.

We recommend using precooked chestnuts as they are of extremely high quality and only require to be reheated in the microwave for 3 minutes.  This saves copious amounts of time roasting and peeling them.

Cranberry Sauce

Our cranberry sauce has been specially formulated to complement our rich bronze turkey.  There is no need to heat or prepare your own cranberry sauce.  Simply get a spoon and stick it in the sauce so that it is ready to serve!

Think of this meal as no more than a Sunday roast.  This is arguably a lot simpler than many mid- week meals that we prepare.


It is worth setting a clear timeline so that you can look at it in advance and reassure yourself that this meal is straightforward.

Set a time line:

Turkey in main oven 12pm

Turkey out of main oven 2pm

Roasted Veg main oven 2pm

Chipolatas in top oven 2.30pm

Sprouts boiled 2.55pm

If you are not feeling so confident in the kitchen then you could always ask a guest for help. Be reassured- it is in human nature that people tend to want to help out!   So don’t be scared to ask a guest to carry the dishes through to the dining room or to reheat the gravy in the microwave.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the problems to consider when planning your Christmas dinner.  By following the simple principles above, you can enjoy Christmas day and have that rewarding feeling because you have served your guests a really memorable meal.


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Craig Michie

Based at Lochend of Barra, Inverurie, Craig Michie left a job as a town planner in 2009 and travelled around South America where he met his Columbian wife Maria. The couple returned to Scotland and the century-old family farm to create Barra Bronzes which was named winner in the ‘Judge’s Choice category, runner-up for ‘Best New Retail Product (businesses with up to 25 employees),’ and was named as highly commended in the ‘Best Young Business’ category at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards 2016. In 2021, Craig won the UK Poultry Farmer of the Year award.

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