Turkey – Boned (or Not), Stuffed, Rolled (or Not) and Roasted


The below recipe includes instructions for both a boned, stuffed and rolled Turkey or a whole stuffed roasted Turkey.

A boned, stuffed and rolled Turkey requires more work and technique than just cooking a whole bird however there are many benefits which I believe make it all the more worthwhile.

  • It requires less oven space than a whole bird.
  • It will take less time to cook meaning less time that you have to have the oven firing away in the Australian Mid-Summer heat.
  • It is much, much easier and quicker to carve at the table than a whole bird.
  • It presents it’s white and dark meat in a more orderly fashion so it is easier to share your guest’s preferences.
  • It goes further, feeding more people more efficiently and more economically than a whole bird as there is no wastage resulting from inexperienced carving.

Of course, if the whole boning out a Turkey just isn’t your cup of tea you could ask the Butcher from whom you purchase your Turkey to do it for you? Can’t hurt to ask! There may be an additional fee which I would consider very worthwhile.

Or you can follow the Instructions for a whole Turkey at the bottom of this recipe.

Boned (Or Not), Stuffed, Rolled (Or Not) and Roasted Turkey (Whole Turkey Instructions at the bottom of the recipe)

Servings 18 people


  • Cooking twine Long enough to tie the turkey
  • 1 Large baking tray Large enough to accommodate the rolled turkey halves
  • Cling film
  • 1 Boning knife or sharp knife with a pointy end
  • 1 Large frypan
  • 1 Zester
  • 1 Skewer



  • 1 x 6kg fresh turkey whole You could ask your butcher to bone it for you?

Turkey Stuffing – Enough for 2 Turkey Halves (More than enough for 1 x whole turkey)

  • 100 mls olive oil
  • 100 gms unsalted butter
  • 2 large brown onions, peeled and diced 500gms
  • 300 gms pancetta stripped of its skin and diced
  • 2 whole Granny Smith apples peeled, quartered and sliced finely
  • 40 gms currants
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 2 whole oranges zest only of 2 oranges
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme stripped from its stalks and finely chopped (2 Tbls)
  • 600 gms plain pork sausage meat
  • 250 gms fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Italian parsley chopped

Turkey Salting

  • 4 tbls sea salt for both 2 x half turkey or 1 x whole


To Make the Stuffing

  • Melt 100gms of the butter in the olive oil in a wide bottomed pan. Sauté the onions over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, but do not allow it to crispen or colour.
  • Add the diced apple and currants and stir until softened then add the crushed garlic, orange zest and thyme, stir once and then add the pork mince.
  • Turn the heat up and cook this pork mixture for 5 minutes stirring constantly until the meat has lost its raw pink colour.
  • Turn off the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the stuffing mixture in the fridge to cool completely before using.

To Bone the Turkey into Two Halves

  • Trim the turkey of excess fat and remove the neck from the cavity.
  • Rinse the turkey and thoroughly dry both inside and out with paper towel.
  • Set the whole turkey on a board breast side up.
  • Cut off the wing tips and set aside.
  • With a boning knife cut the skin down along the breastbone from the parson's nose to the neck.
  • Cut the flesh away from the carcass on both sides and when you get to the legs and wings, cut through the tendons at the joints leaving the wings and legs attached to the skin and not to the carcass.
  • Gently pull the carcass away leaving behind the meat and skin intact.
  • Cut the boned turkey into two halves and work on each half one at a time skin side down on the board in front of you.
  • To remove the thigh, leg bones and wing bones work around the bones scraping the flesh away from them. Reserve these bones for stock.
  • It’s extremely important to remove the tough gristle in the turkey legs, I find fish tweezers do the job.
  • The large breast meat will protrude, and I cut this in half to fold back to lay flat.
  • Slash the meat in a hashtag pattern with shallow cuts to allow for ease of rolling as well as to give the flesh greater flexibility during the cooking.

To Salt the Turkey Halves

  • This salting has three main benefits; one to add flavour, secondly to tenderise the meat and thirdly to help preserve the meat allowing you to safely plan ahead.
    Allow 2tbls of sea salt per half turkey. Gently massage into the flesh paying particular attention to the potentially tougher regions of the bird around the joints and in particular the brown leg meat.

To Stuff the Turkey Halves

  • Prepare each half turkey one at a time.
  • Lay two strips of cling film across you bench lengthways with a spare 10cm at each end and slightly overlapping in the middle. You will do this for each turkey half.
  • Lay one turkey half lengthways (left to right) upon the clingfilm with the meat side exposed. Brown leg meat on one side and the white breast meat at the other end.
  • Stretch the skin out beneath as much as you can to provide extra strength and containment when rolling.
  • Use half of the stuffing mix for each half turkey. Spread the stuffing evenly across the entire meat surface to within 3cm of the edge furthest away from you.
  • Gently but firmly roll up the turkey wrapping in the cling film as you would a sponge roll or cookie dough securing each end and refrigerate before tying. This will help firm up the turkey making tying easier. Some stuffing may fall out from the ends but this can be easily pushed back in once you have a firm roll.

To Tie Up the Turkey Halves

  • Using butcher's twine (cooking string) measure out one double length of the turkey allowing an extra 8cm for tying. Cut two of these pieces one for each turkey.
  • Measure out a piece of string around the width of the roll long enough to tie and then cut 24 of the same length. 12 for each turkey half.
  • Remove the clingfilm.
  • Gently slide the longer piece of twine under the roll length ways and secure across the top.
  • For the smaller ties gently slide the twine under the roll width ways and secure across the top. Repeat this at even intervals down the roll.
  • Slip some bay leaves under the twine along the top of the roll.
  • Refrigerate until required but do remove from the fridge 1 hour before cooking.

To Cook the Turkey Halves

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Place the turkey rolls on a flat roasting tray drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Roast at 220°C for 20 minutes reducing the heat to 200°C for the remaining 30 – 40 minutes.
  • The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted to the thickest part.
  • Rest for at least half an hour before serving to allow the juices to settle and for the meat to relax.

Preparation for a Whole Turkey

  • Trim the turkey of excess fat and remove the neck from the cavity.
  • Rinse the turkey and thoroughly dry both inside and out with paper towel.
  • Massage the turkey skin with sea salt (same qty as for 2 halves) especially around the joints where the meat will most benefit from the tenderising benefits of this process.
  • Set on a baking tray, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate.

To Stuff the Whole Turkey

  • Use the same stuffing recipe above. Fill the cavity with as much stuffing as you can but do not over pack as it will expand as it cooks and the turkey will shrink a little.
  • Excess stuffing can be rolled in baking paper and cooking foil as a sausage and cooked separately.
  • Using cooking twine sew up the opening.

To Cook the Whole Turkey

  • Remove the stuffed Turkey from the fridge 1 hour prior to cooking.
    Preheat your oven to 220°C.
  • Cook for 40 minutes then reduce the heat to 200°C and cook until done approximately a further 60-90miutes.
  • Your own oven and experience will determine the exact length of time required.
  • The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted to the thickest part.
  • Rest for at least half an hour before serving to allow the juices to settle and for the meat to relax.
Course: Main Course
Season: Christmas
Category: Meat

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out ! Leave a comment below and tag @birdcowfish on Instagram and hashtag it #goodsimpledelicious.

Alex Herbert © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.