Bawling babe? Social butterfly? Or maybe you just HATE cooking. Whatever the reason, here’s how to save 12 hours cooking time this Christmas!

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We're not suggesting you do this...

Ready, steady, cook! If Flash Gordon and Wonder Woman found themselves in the kitchen on Christmas Day, this is exactly what they’d do ...


The average turkey takes about half an hour to prep, 3-4 hours to roast, and a good few days to finish eating. Here are some quick-cook alternatives:


The turkey crown (time saved: 1 ½ hours)

Wrestling a gigantic turkey into the oven at 5 o'clock on Christmas morning is a physical and emotional challenge. Roasting a turkey crown, however, is easy-peasy. And with this recipe there’s still stuffing to pack into sandwiches on Boxing Day. Woohoo!

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Roast turkey crown with gluten-free sage stuffing recipe

Photograph: Dan Jones

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The turkey tray bake (time saved: 2 hours 40 minutes)

Even faster than the crown, this is the Usain Bolt of the turkey world. Roast diced turkey breast, cocktail sausages and devils on horseback for 35-40 minutes. Dollop on the cranberry sauce.


Stuffing (time saved: 50 minutes)

Nothing beats a turkey and stuffing sarnie, but don't waste time making the stuffing from scratch. Buy a luxury packet mix and throw in some chopped and toasted hazelnuts (you can get those in a bag too), and add fresh thyme leaves for extra "I made this myself" points.


Sprouts (time saved: 20 minutes)

Boiling Brussels isn’t exactly hard work, but there’s an even faster option. Shred green beans and sprouts into thin strips, then fry with spring onions and garlic. Vacuum-packed, ready-cooked chestnuts might look like space food, but taste fab crumbled on top for a festive finale.

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Red cabbage (time saved: 2 ½ hours… at least!)

Sorry, Delia. We DO love you, but your traditional red cabbage takes ... wait for it ... quite literally ... 3 HOURS! Even our team of professional cooks confess to buying it in a pack, but if microwaves give you the heebie-jeebies, mix some grated ready-cooked beetroot with sultanas and nutmeg instead for a quick alternative.


Spuds and veggies (time saved: 30 minutes)

Chop, chop, chop till you drop. Or, buy cute Chantenay carrots and baby parsnips instead. With a quick wash and peel, they're ready for the oven (and with your turkey crown, you’ll actually be able to fit them in).


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Behold the baby parsnip


On the spud front, there's no shame in buying pre-roasted potatoes. Everyone's going to cover them in gravy anyway and you'll save yourself an hour in the process. If that seems too cruel – make your own freeze-ahead potatoes. They're extra crunchy and will cook from frozen while the turkey's resting.

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Roast potatoes

Photograph: Jonathan Gregson


Cranberry sauce – (time saved: 15 mins)

Got 5 minutes? Then heat some frozen cranberries on the hob, stir in a little sugar and orange zest to taste, and boil for another 5 minutes. Yes – *dramatic sigh* – I made it all myself.


Christmas pudding (time saved: the best part of a day)

Christmas pudding takes days to make, and most people say they don't like it anyway. So save yourself the time, buy a good quality ready-made one, and decorate with a spring of red currants and some holly for a homely flourish.


Or for something really easy, this 5-minute wreath just requires a bit of snazzy decoration and some ready-made profiteroles. 

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Merry Christmas! That's about 12 hours of extra time : )

In which you could fly to Brazil, read 864 pages of the book Santa dropped down the chimney or just do absolutely nothing. Hurrah!