The combined effects of thymol, carvacrol and grapefruit seed extract (GFSE) on lipid oxidation and colour stability of poultry meat preparations packaged in air or modified atmospheres (MAP: 5% O2; 30% CO2; 65% N2) were investigated using a simplex centroid mixture design. Lipid oxidation was evaluated through measurement of secondary oxidation products (malonaldehyde, MDA) and general appearance with visual assessment and instrumental measurement of colour. Thymol and carvacrol, as individual antioxidants, retarded the oxidation process by maintaining MDA values below 2 mg kg−1 meat. The effect of GFSE was less than thymol and carvacrol. Redness (a*) decreased in all treatments during storage but this reduction was more evident in the control and in samples containing GFSE than in thymol and carvacrol. Although colour acceptability decreased with time, all meat preparations packaged in air maintained desirable appearance better than samples in MAP. Also, off-odours developed faster in the samples packaged in MAP than in aerobically packaged samples.