Sunday Roast Cheat Sheet

Facing the task of cooking a Sunday roast for all the family can be daunting, especially if you’ve not done it before, but even the most experienced cooks can struggle to get every element of the meal just so. Cooking a roast dinner can take a long time, however, so whether you’re a beginner or are looking to perfect your Sunday roast technique, here are some tips to help you get it right every time when time is of the essence.

Planning the basics

Photo: Kacie Morgan The Rare Welsh Bit

Start with planning what ingredients you need well in advance to avoid dashing round the supermarket at the last minute. There’s much difference of opinion when it comes to what should be included in a Sunday roast. Roast potatoes are essential and if you haven't got the time to cook from scratch, McCain Roast Potatoes are a great substitute to have in the freezer.  

Here are what I think are the absolute essentials: 

Roasted meat
Roast potatoes
Yorkshire puddings

General tips and advice

Make sure to buy the highest quality ingredients that your budget will allow – a Sunday roast isn’t something to be scrimped on!

Meat is the star of the traditional Sunday roast, so first decide whether you want chicken, lamb, pork or beef. Probably the most popular choice (it is mine) is beef. Make sure to ask your butcher for his recommendation on the cut and how best to prepare it. There is nothing wrong with buying a boned and jointed piece of meat like a crown of chicken or turkey to save time carving.

Next up are the roast potatoes. When you buy a bag that’s ready to cook, it’s as easy as just popping them in the oven, as they require no prepping whatsoever and come out perfect every time, so I recommend this little cheat. Otherwise, buy Maris Piper potatoes for the perfect roast, boil them for ten minutes, drain and shake them in the pan to get crispy edges. Pop them in the oven in hot oil for 45 mins to 1 hour, turning them a couple of times.

Seasonal vegetables are key to the most delicious roasts and I always want to see a colourful mix of broccoli, green beans, parsnips and carrots on my plate. To save extra time, peel your veg the day before and keep in the fridge.
Whether you like your gravy thick or thin, use the juices produced from the roasted meat for the most flavour. You can prepare the gravy whilst the meat rests.

Yorkshire puddings are another favourite feature of roast dinners and they go particularly well with beef. Ideally, prepare the batter the day before and store in the fridge, then take it out a few hours before cooking to warm up. 

Cooking tips

For most meat joints, you want the oven to be at 200°C (180°C fan) or gas mark 6. Per 1lb, pork and chicken will take 30-35 minutes to cook, with lamb and beef taking around 25 minutes. Rest for about 15 minutes after cooking and before carving.

I like to steam vegetables, as it’s considered the best way to lock in all the nutrients and flavour. Use a steamer or simply use the hob on a medium to high heat and most veggies will be cooked to perfection in around 10 minutes.

Gravy can be made from scratch with the juices of the roast meat or by using stock cubes for an easy cheat. The first method will take around 10 minutes to cook, with the second taking just a couple of minutes to make up. Nothing wrong with buying ready-made gravy too!

For the tastiest Yorkshire puddings, the most important thing is to make sure the fat you use is as sizzling hot as possible before you ladle the batter into the tin of your choice. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 230°C.  
Of course, you can also buy them ready made and they will take less than ten minutes in the oven then, pop them in when you take the meat out of the oven to carve.

Do you have any Sunday roast dinner tips?

*Collaborative post


  1. Pleased to see you have yorkshire puddings in there as an essential, I love them. Mich x

  2. We love a roast on a Sunday. I have to admit to cheating with most of it, who has time to cook from scratch!?!

    1. I think some shortcuts most of us do these days. Do you remember when you could only buy a chicken with all the giblets? Now its all prepared for you and the giblets removed.

  3. I haven't had a roast for ages! Those potatoes look amazing!