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Timings for a Family Roast Dinner

Sunday during the autumn, winter and early spring mean a roast dinner for us. It’s  a tradition that I grew up on and remember many Sunday’s helping my mum prepare vegetables, mix the Yorkshire pudding batter, and roast the meat. Now I am a mother myself it’s something that I love doing and learning at her side I have the timings down so that I can actually get to spend time with the family as well and that’s something that is really important to me so here we go my guide to How to Cook a Roast Dinner with Step by Step Instructions and Timings.

Cook the perfect Roast Dinner with this checklist of the timings that will make sure that you have everything under control.
Young Mother carving Roast via Shutterstock

Checklist for timings of the Perfect Roast

Everyone’s idea of what makes the perfect roast is different – for us, we have to have Yorkshire Pudding’s with it no matter what meat we have but I know others that it is just not on to have them with anything but Roast Beef. To make your checklist easier let’s start with breaking it down.

The Meat or Vegetarian Option

Often the meat or if you are vegetarian will be the longest thing to cook – how you cook it and how long it takes depends on your preferences. Start off on the checklist with working out the time taken to cook the roast – and don’t forget to add in your resting time as without it, your meat will be a little less than tender.

Vegetable Preparation

Parsnips, carrots, potatoes or something different to roast and some steamed vegetables on the side those are my favorites. I prepare these are much in advance as possible. Take preparing for Christmas Dinner with the family all vegetables get prepared the day before and left in water over night. But the timings are important – how long to pre-boil your potatoes to get them perfectly fluffy to then roast – or how about steaming some Brussel sprouts so as they aren’t too hard or too soft?

Yorkshire pudding

No Roast in our house is complete without Yorkshire puddings – traditionally they are meant to be served with beef but all of us love them so much that we just can’t not have them. So we have them every meal. I’ll be sharing my recipe very soon as it makes ones that even Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would be impressed with. But these are the last part of the roast and essential for us.

A Family Friendly Dessert

No real roast dinner is complete without a dessert and two of my favourite to make are

Classic family dessert with a twist this Bramley apple crumble is easy to make and best served with some vanilla ice-cream or to compliment the sweetness of the apples some natural yoghurt.

Easy, Delicious Apple and Sultana Crumble perfect for some comfort food.

No fuss easy Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding recipe that tastes amazing, best served with some vanilla ice-cream and enjoyed!

The kids though prefer that I make a Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding – they love this with chocolate ice-cream (chocolate overload)

Working out your timings for the Perfect Roast Dinner

So here’s my guide to creating the perfect roast dinner – you can get your own checklist to download and print by signing up to our Real Food for Real Mom’s newsletter helping you cook food that you and the kids will eat, like and have the ingredients for. I suggest laminating it and then using a dry wipe marker as depending on your meat the timings will be different each time.

  1. Start with the time you want to eat and we are going to work backwards.
  2. Using a book or online resource find out how long it will take to cook your meat to your specifications. Take into account the weight and your own oven
  3. Add 20 minutes to that time to allow the meat to rest after it comes out of the oven – this is the MINIMUM time it needs to rest.
  4. Now work back from there to your starting time.
  5. The perfect roast potatoes need around 15 minutes par boil and 45 – 50 minutes roasting. They can be spread around the meat and then left in the oven to finish off roasting in the juices once the meat has been removed.
  6. Other roasted vegetables are around the same 45 minute mark so I add in them all at once.
  7. Work back from you meal time to 45 minutes and that is when your roast potatoes should go in to the oven
  8. Work back another 15 minutes that’s time to par boil them.
  9. I steam most of the vegetables – that takes around 20 minutes as I steam from cold water – it seems to add a little bit of a bite instead of turning them all to mush.
  10. So vegetables go on as the meat comes out again add that to the checklist
  11. Yorkshire pudding time – Yorkshire’s go in as the meat comes out – I switch the roast potatoes to the top oven and then cook the yorkshires in the bottom oven.

Check out my example below for our typical Sunday Roast for the 4 of us.

Perfect Roast Dinner Timings

I cook Sunday roast most Sunday’s over the winter so have a schedule that I work to that means everything gets cooked and I have time to do the washing up in between.

Sunday Roast - 90 minutes to the perfect Sunday Roast

So here you go my checklist to a typical Sunday Roast using a smallish joint of beef topside (4 people). We want to eat at 5pm so 3:00 I preheat the oven to 200C

  • Oven tray in whilst the oven preheats
  • 3:15 the beef goes into the roast tin timer set for 25 minutes
  • Yorkshire batter made – this will then stand until needed
  • Peel potatoes and place in lightly salted water
  • Peel vegetables and place in the steamer – if we are having roast vegetables then place on the side.
  • 3:40 timer goes off and potatoes switch on – set timer for 20 minutes
  • Drain potatoes and at 4:00 put into the roasting tray with beef with any other vegetables I am roasting
  • Lay the table and prepare any condiments that go on cold e.g. mustard or mint sauce
  • Set the timer for 30 minutes
  • Pre-heat the top oven or adjust the shelves in your oven.
  • Set the timer for 5 minutes
  • Remove the meat and add in the Yorkshire tray with cooking fat to the lower oven.
  • Move the roast potatoes and vegetables to the top oven
  • Set the timer for 5 minutes
  • Pour in the Yorkshire batter and return to the oven – DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR UNTIL THE YORKSHIRE’S ARE FULLY COOKED!
  • Set the steamer going
  • Timer set for 20 minutes
  • At 4:55 carver your meat and start to plate up.
  • Prepare Gravy
  • 5:00 – add roast potatoes, vegetables and lastly Yorkshire to the plate
  • ENJOY!

Simple Family Dinner - Carving the Sunday Roast

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Cook the perfect Roast Dinner with this checklist of the timings that will make sure that you have everything under control.

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Cook the perfect Roast Dinner with this checklist of the timings that will make sure that you have everything under control.


  1. I prefer to adapt the menu. My first piece of advice is to make flexible meal plans. Instead of having roast beef, I serve them roast pumpkin, roast ham and tasty buttered rolls. And as a alternative option I even have roasted cabbage and lettuce wraps. Sometimes I like to prepare smoked salmon and some sort of dessert like festive cookies etc. Occasionally I have Yorkshire pudding.

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  3. oooh, looks so good! The last time we went to England we had a huge roast dinner and it was so good! I have my Aunt-in-law’s (??) recipe for yorkshire puddings somewhere…I need to dig that out!

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