How to roast a goose

How to roast a goose

How to roast a goose

by Great British Chefs20 May 2015

How to roast a goose

Unlike lean, white turkey breast, goose meat is quite dark and flavourful, possessing a beautiful hint of gaminess. Goose legs and thighs are even darker and more flavoursome than the breast. In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, geese were such an aspirational Christmas centrepiece that 'Goose Clubs' were formed, in which low-income families could tuck away money for the annual roast.

In the 1950s, the traditional Christmas goose was usurped by the American turkey. But geese – which are native to Europe – are making a comeback, partly thanks to the increased interest in indigenous ingredients and partly thanks to geese's association with a sense of luxury and occasion. Luckily, they're a slightly more affordable luxury now, ensuring that goose doesn't have to be a once-a-year-bird if you don’t want it to be.


Use the tip of a sharp knife to prick the skin over the breast. Place the goose in a clean sink and pour a kettle of boiling water over it - this tightens the skin and helps it to go extra crispy
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4
Dry the goose with kitchen paper and leave it at room temperature for 1 hour, until the skin has a dry but tacky feel
Place the goose in a roasting tray and sprinkle the skin with salt. Cover the bird with tin foil and place it in the oven. Baste the bird every half an hour and judge the length of cooking time by the weight of the bird (see times below)
Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp up fully
Remove the goose from the oven and re-cover with foil. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes

Goose roasting times

4.5kg: 1.5–2 hours

5kg: 2–2.5 hours

5.5kg: 2.5–3 hours

6kg: 3–3.5 hours


Different flavours can be introduced by stuffing the cavity of the goose or massaging aromatics into the skin. For example, Martin Wishart stuffs the goose in his recipe with a wonderfully festive chestnut and pear stuffing but you can adapt the stuffing flavours to your own tastes.

Other Christmas flavours go well with goose – Adam Byatt serves roast crown of goose with cranberries and celeriac while Marcus Wareing pairs his goose breast with a sausage roll made with the leg meat, kale and cranberry relish.

Because goose has a stronger, gamier flavour, it can cope with bolder accompaniments than turkey or chicken. Five spice and limes make a bold rub or ground cumin and lemon zest mixed with honey to help the rub stick to the skin.

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