Traditional Irish recipes from turkey to gravy to stuffing that will help line out the best-ever Christmas dinner table
Admit it, each Christmas you try a new gravy recipe, don’t you? With varying degrees of success too, right? How did your Irish grandmother ever make it look so easy? Well, first of all, you need to stop relying on those powdered packet horrors and all the gloopy tinned stuff.
Master Irish chef Kevin Dundon is here to help you crack Christmas. The man behind "Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food" on WLIW21, NJTV and Channel 13, Dundon was already a premier name in cooking in Ireland, and his show here furthered his fame.
Let’s start Christmas with his failsafe Irish turkey recipe:
Traditional Irish Christmas turkey recipe
- 14 lb approx turkey
- 1 cup butter
- 3 tbsp sage
- 1 medium-sized onion
- Seasoning — salt, pepper
On Christmas morning, Dundon advises you to stuff your turkey with pre-prepared stuffings (see below).
First, preheat the oven to 400°F. Soften the butter in a bowl and add the sage and mix. Rub some butter underneath the turkey breast by lifting the skin gently with your hands and massaging the butter onto the flesh.
Place the sausage meat stuffing in the neck cavity and then line the cavity with some tin foil or parchment paper and loosely pack the sage stuffing into the bird.
Put the turkey onto a large roasting tray and place in the preheated oven. If you feel the turkey is browning too quickly you can cover it with some foil for the first two hours.
Allocate 20 minutes per pound and then an additional 20-30 minutes in the oven. In total it should take about four hours.
When a skewer is inserted into the meat nearest the bone (i.e. the leg) the juices should run completely clear.
Allow the meat to rest when it comes out of the oven and carve as required.
Irish Christmas gravy recipe
That’s the main event sorted out. Next, you’ll need a truly delicious gravy. That takes a little work but the end result is a triumph. Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups turkey/chicken stock
- Turkey giblets
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 4 tbsp of plain flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Place the turkey giblets, carrots and onions on a tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes to one hour until they are fully cooked. Remove any excess fat, if any.
Pour the turkey stock into a saucepan and add the bay leaves, bring to the boil.
Remove the tray with the giblets from the oven and place on the hob. Sprinkle the flour onto the tray and brown on the hob.
When the flour has browned deglaze the pan with the red wine, then pass the gravy through a sieve into another saucepan. Bring to the boil, then slowly add the warmed turkey stock and reduce by half. Serve immediately.
Irish traditional Christmas stuffing recipe
This year, if you’re going all out, why not get adventurous with your turkey stuffing too? Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup sausage meat
- 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup chestnuts, chopped
In a large bowl mix together the sausage meat, breadcrumbs and chopped herbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Add the finely diced onions, chestnuts, cranberries and garlic. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients together.
Place the stuffing in the cavity of the turkey and cook as per instructions or alternatively place in a baking tin and cover in foil. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 400°F.
Irish traditional vegetarian stuffing recipe
Traditional meatless stuffing is so easy to make, and so much tastier than the packet stuff.
- 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped sage
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350°F. To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Sauté the onion for three to four minutes until softened and translucent but not colored.
In the meantime, put the breadcrumbs and herbs into a large bowl ensuring the herbs are mixed through, season to taste. Pour the heated butter and onion over the breadcrumb and herb mixture and place in a preheated oven for 20–25 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. If you are using this stuffing for the turkey ensure the stuffing is cooled down before placing in the turkey cavity.
* Originally published in 2013. Updated in Dec 2023.
What's your favorite Irish recipe for Christmas dinner?