So incredibly tender, moist and flavorful, this Herb Butter Roasted Turkey will be the star of your holiday spread.
I tried to make this recipe as straightforward (and easy) as possible, because over the years I’ve learned that a complicated turkey recipe with a ton of steps (and ingredients) isn’t always better.
This recipe uses a simple herb butter coating (on and under the skin) along with fragrant aromatics for a moist, tender and flavorful roasted turkey. You got this!
Let’s get right to it.
Things I’ve Learned About Roasting a Turkey
- Don’t rely on those “pop-up” thermometers. I use two thermometers – a leave-in thermometer while it’s roasting and an instant read thermometer (affiliate links) once it’s removed from the oven and when it has finished resting.
- Use a shallow roasting pan. In the past, I didn’t know any better and used a roasting pan with high sides. <— Don’t do that! Use a shallow roasting pan so that your turkey will brown evenly.
- Aluminum foil is your friend. Once your turkey skin has reached the desired brownness, remove the turkey from the oven, loosely tent with foil, return to the oven and continue roasting. This prevents the skin from over-browning (yes, I’ve done that).
- Remove thawed turkey from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before you start prepping it for the oven. It takes about 15 minutes to prep the turkey, giving it an hour before it goes in the oven. This allows the turkey to come to room temperature (or close to room temp) and will cook more evenly throughout.
How To Know When Your Turkey Is Done
The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast and in the innermost part of the thigh.
I remove my turkey at 160 degrees F because the temperature will continue to rise during the resting time. Always ensure that your turkey has reached the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F before carving.
Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
- Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 8-12 servings
This moist and tender roasted turkey is coated with a simple herb butter and stuffed with fragrant aromatics.
- 1 (12-16 pound) whole turkey, safely thawed
For the Herb Butter:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
For the Aromatics and Cavity Seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 small orange, unpeeled and sliced in half
- 1 small lemon, unpeeled and sliced in half
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced in half
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
- Remove turkey from the refrigerator approximately 45 minutes before you start prepping it (now would also be a good time to remove butter from fridge for it to soften).
- Adjust oven rack to the lowest level/position of the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Remove turkey from packaging and remove neck and giblets from cavity.
- Rinse turkey and pat exterior and cavity of turkey dry with paper towels.
- Place the turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- Place softened butter and seasonings in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Using your fingers, loosen the skin on the breasts and lift, being careful not to tear the skin.
- Rub approximately ⅓ to ½ of the butter mixture between the skin and the meat (this will get messy but it’s worth it!).
- Rub the remaining butter mixture on the outside skin of the turkey.
- Rub the inside of cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with orange, lemon, onion and rosemary.
- Tuck wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Insert leave-in thermometer (if using). I insert it in the thickest part of the breast (insert horizontally from near the neck cavity). It can also be inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Be sure thermometer does not touch any bone.
- Roast for 15 minutes per pound, OR UNTIL temperature is 160 degrees F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of the breast.
- While turkey is roasting, check for brownness of skin about ⅓ to ½ of the way through roasting. Once skin is browned to your liking, loosely tent with aluminum foil.
- Remove turkey from oven, transfer to a large serving platter and tent loosely with foil.
- Allow to rest 20-30 minutes before carving. Temperature will continue to increase during rest time. Ensure temperature has reached a minimum of 165 degrees F (checked with an instant-read thermometer) in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of the breast before carving.
- Cooking time is based on a 16-pound turkey.
- Prep time includes time it takes turkey to come to room temperature and resting time.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: roast turkey recipe, butter herb roasted turkey recipe
HI, IM excited to use this recipe, can i use fresh roasted garlic instead of the garlic powder?
Hi Lucy, I have only used garlic powder in this recipe so I can’t say with 100% certainty since I haven’t tried it. I hope you and your family enjoy the turkey and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We used this recipe last year for our 16 lb thawed self basting turkey, and my husband said it was “the best turkey ever!” – this year, I’ve ordered a 22 lb fresh turkey. Will I be able to use this recipe for a fresh turkey too? Any suggestions on changes to preparation?
Hi Kristy, I’m so glad you enjoyed the turkey last year! I haven’t tested this recipe using a fresh turkey, but I would probably baste it during roasting since it’s not self basting. I’d also probably increase the herb butter amount since it’s a larger turkey. I hope it turns out perfect for you and you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Looks like a awesome recipe. I can almost taste it now. The blond cook rocks and I have yet to see a recipe that wasn’t outstanding, tasty and her pictures make it even more mouth watering yummy.
Thank you so much, Carla – you made my day! I hope you enjoy the turkey if you make it and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We have made this turkey many times. We love it and think it’s even better than a deep fried turkey!
Thank you so much, Allen… so happy to hear everyone has enjoyed it!