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Herb Butter Turkey

Glistening breast portion of the turkey on a platter garnished with herbs, oranges, and cranberries.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes

Simple ingredients and minimal prep, this roasted Herb Butter Turkey comes out moist and juicy every time and makes the best gravy too.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two biggest roast turkey days of the year, but our flavorful turkey, just like our Ham is wonderful all year long. Serve our honey glazed carrots, sausage stuffing, and cranberry cashew broccoli with your turkey.

Branded image of the whole roasted herb butter turkey on a white platter garnished with fresh herbs, cranberries, and orange slices.

I am not sure what aroma can be more intoxicating than that of a roasting Thanksgiving Turkey. Who doesn’t love the smell of the kitchen on Thanksgiving?

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients for the recipe: celery, turkey, parsley, butter, rosemary, sage, apple, thyme, carrot, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, and onion.
  • Turkey —we used a 15 pound turkey. We do not recommend exceeding a 16 pound turkey.
  • Produce —Celery, carrot, onion, lemon, and an apple. These will be roughly chopped and place in the neck and body cavities.
  • Butter — We used salted butter. It needs to be at room temperature or softened in the microwave. If sodium content is an issue for you, use unsalted butter.
  • Seasonings — Garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Fresh Herbs — Fresh is best. Fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley.

How to make a roasted Herb Butter Turkey

  • Step 1 — Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Roughly chop the apple, onion, celery, carrot, and lemon. Pull out several sprigs of the fresh herbs. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chopped produce.
  • Step 2 — Make herb butter by placing the softened butter in a small bowl and smash it with a fork. Add fresh thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix to blend.
  • Step 3 — Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey. Pat dry the whole turkey using paper towels. Place the turkey in the skillet or large roasting pan. Stuff pieces of the chopped fresh produce and some herbs into the neck cavity until full.
  • Step 4 — Add a dollop or two of the herb butter into the turkey cavity then stuff it with the fresh produce and herbs. Place any remaining fruits, vegetables, and herbs around the turkey in the skillet or roasting pan.

Should I put butter under the skin of my turkey?

  • Step 5 — Loosen skin around the turkey breast, working it free. This can be done with your fingers, a table knife, or even a chopstick.
  • Step 6 — Work the herb butter under the skin onto the breast meat. Then replace the skin.
  • Step 7 — Generously slather the rest of the herb butter all over the entire turkey like I do for my pale skin with SPF One Billion at a water park. If you should have any butter left, drop it into the skillet around the turkey; it will just enhance the flavor of the gravy. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under the bird.
  • Step 8 — Cover LIGHTLY with foil and place in the oven. Bake the turkey 15 minutes per pound, so 4 hours for our 15 pound turkey. Baste periodically as desired. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

How long should a turkey rest?

Once your roasted turkey is done, remove it from the oven and transfer turkey to a cutting board and let it rest, one that will catch any released juices.

The turkey rest time should be at least 30 minutes for smaller birds and up to 45 minutes up to 1 hour for larger ones, like a 16 pound turkey or more. Once rested, carve and place the turkey on a platter and serve.

The turkey on a platter with cranberries, oranges, and fresh herbs as garnish.

Recipe FAQs

Do I need to chicken broth when I roast my turkey?

If you have a smaller bird and want a lot of gravy, adding broth to the roasting pan or skillet is a good idea. Depending on how much gravy you want to make, add up to 4 cups.

Why isn’t my turkey golden brown?

The biggest cause of this is having the foil on too tight. When it’s on too tight, the turkey will steam more than it will roast.

What herbs go best with turkey?

We used parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, but you could also use tarragon, marjoram, or oregano.

The whole turkey carved and plated on a white platter garnished with fresh herbs, cranberries, and orange slices.
Glistening breast portion of the turkey on a platter garnished with herbs, oranges, and cranberries.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Herb Butter Turkey

Simple ingredients and minimal prep, this Herb Butter Turkey comes out moist and juicy every time and makes the best gravy too.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Herb Butter Turkey
Calories: 8672kcal

Equipment

  • 15-inch cast iron skillet (or other roasting pan)

Ingredients

  • 15 lb turkey 12-16 lbs
  • 1 gala apple into wedges
  • 1 lemon into wedges
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 celery rib chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 4 plump garlic cloves divided, minced and chopped
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 6 fresh sage sprigs
  • ½ lb salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt +/- to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper +/- to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Roughly chop all the produce. Pull out several sprigs of the fresh herbs. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chopped produce.
  • Make herb butter by placing the softened butter in a small bowl and smash it with a fork. Add de-stemmed fresh thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix to blend.
  • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey. Pat the whole turkey dry. Place the turkey in the skillet or large roasting pan. Stuff pieces of the chopped fresh produce and some herbs into the neck cavity until full.
  • Add a dollop or two of the herb butter into the turkey cavity then stuff it with the fresh produce and herbs. Place any remaining fruits, vegetables, and herbs around the turkey in the skillet or roasting pan.
  • Loosen skin around the turkey breast, working it free. This can be done with your fingers, a table knife, or even a chopstick. Work the herb butter under the skin onto the breast meat. Then replace the skin.
  • Generously slather the rest of the herb butter all over the entire turkey. If you should have any butter left, drop it into the skillet around the turkey. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under the bird.
  • Cover LIGHTLY with foil and place in the oven. Bake the turkey 15 minutes per pound, so 4 hours for our 15 pound turkey.
  • Baste periodically as desired. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and place the turkey on a cutting board, one that will catch any released juices, and let it rest for 30-60 minutes. Carve, serve, and enjoy.

Notes

If you have a smaller bird and want a lot of gravy, adding broth to the roasting pan or skillet is a good idea. Depending on how much gravy you want to make, add up to 4 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 8672kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 1052g | Fat: 458g | Saturated Fat: 188g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 78g | Monounsaturated Fat: 136g | Trans Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 3966mg | Sodium: 9253mg | Potassium: 11755mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 19394IU | Vitamin C: 99mg | Calcium: 760mg | Iron: 45mg
Did you try this recipe?Leave me a comment and rating below or Tag @DutchOvenDaddy on Instagram to show us your photos!
11 replies
  1. Janessa
    Janessa says:

    5 stars
    I was in charge of the turkey this thanksgiving and I used this recipe. It turned out so delicious thanks to the herb butter!

    Reply
  2. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    This sounds amazing! I have heard that the best way to use cast iron in the oven is to preheat the pan inside the oven while the oven is preheating. I noticed that this step is not included. Is it ok to place the cold cast iron and turkey in the oven?

    Reply

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  1. […] the holiday table may have numerous dishes upon it like the turkey and stuffing, nothing brings the meal together like gravy. Toss those packets or jars and whip up […]

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