Christmas Day is fast approaching, and that means one thing: turkey. But you don’t have to go for the whole big bird. Whether you’re catering for a slightly smaller crowd or just prefer tender white meat, a turkey crown is a great alternative. You still get the carving experience, but they take up less room in the oven and cook faster than whole birds, too.
Not all turkey crowns are created equal. There are the obvious differences in size – they come as small as 1.5kg for a few people, or as large as 5kg-plus to serve more than two dozen. Crowns are always on the bone, but you can get them with or without wings attached.
Some come plain – ready for prepping as you desire – and others are already stuffed and topped with bacon or butter. Whatever your taste or cooking ability, there’s a crown out there to suit you.
How we tested
When we tested our best turkey crowns, we judged them on flavour and texture, of course. But that wasn’t all. We judged them on how true they were to the producer’s description – for example, if it was stuffed with sage stuffing, could we really taste the sage? We also, crucially, judged them on value for money. Turkey crowns can vary dramatically in price; the cheapest we tried came in at £10 per kilo, while the most expensive was three times that.
As so few people cook turkey on a regular basis, we felt that the quality of the included instructions was crucial. We cooked each turkey exactly as stated by the producer or retailer, following temperature and timing instructions exactly. Unless specifically told to do so, we didn’t add any additional flavourings (save a bit of butter under the skin). If the turkeys were not already stuffed, we did not stuff them. We awarded extra points to instructions that were clear, concise and – crucially – didn’t lead to that dreaded turkey dryness. Crowns that seemed overdone after the stated cooking time were slightly marked down.
Finally, because we are dedicated to turkey testing here at IndyBest, we prepared each turkey the way you would at Christmastime, with the full retinue of sides, cranberry sauces and gravies, so they could be appreciated properly. Just as you’ll be doing, on Christmas Day.
The best turkey crowns for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Heston from Waitrose turkey breast on the bone crown: £65, Waitrose.com
- Best mid-sized premium – Morton’s family farm free-range bronze turkey crown: £84.12, Mortonsfarm.co.uk
- Best for small ovens – Sainsbury’s taste the difference British bronze turkey crown: £24.50, Sainsburys.co.uk
- Best large-sized premium – Walters traditional free-range bronze turkey crown: £96.75, Parsonsnose.co.uk
- Best easy-to-cook bargain – Morrisons roast in the bag stuffed British turkey crown: £18, Morrisons.com
- Best small crown – Gressingham foods turkey crown: £19.99, Langthorpefarmshop.com
- Best online-only retailer crown – Farmison & Co devon bronze turkey crown: £76, Farmison.com
- Best premium easy-to-cook – M&S collection the perfect turkey crown: £55, Marksandspencer.com
- Best for dark meat lovers – Aldi specially selected ultimate British turkey crown and thigh fillets: £39.99, Aldi.co.uk