Top tips for preparing your Christmas meal

Before the big day


Avoid cross-contamination when doing your Christmas food shopping: make sure you take enough bags, so you can pack raw and ready-to-eat food separately.

Storing the turkey

In the fridge, store the turkey and other raw food separately from cooked and ready-to-eat food. Keep raw food covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge and check that the fridge is cold enough - it should always be below 5 degrees celsius.

Defrosting your turkey

Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it - it can take as much as 4 days.

Christmas day

Preparing your turkey

Don't wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present.  Avoid cross-contamination by using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for ready-to-eat food and raw food.

Check it's cooked

Always check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and that the meat juices run clear.

Time saving hot turkey top

Cooking your turkey in advance could save you getting stressed and gives you more time on the day with family and friends. Once your turkey is cooked and cooled, slice and batch it into portions to store in the freezer. You can then take out and reheat the amount you need when you need it.

Post-Christmas pause

Love your leftovers

You can use previously cooked and frozen turkey to make a new meal, such as a turkey curry. This new meal can be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.


When this content has been updated

Last updated 5 December 2018