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A whole roasted turkey on a serving platter with garnish

Herb Butter Roasted Turkey


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
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

For the Aromatics and Cavity Seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 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


  1. 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).
  2. Adjust oven rack to the lowest level/position of the oven.
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Remove turkey from packaging and remove neck and giblets from cavity.
  5. Rinse turkey and pat exterior and cavity of turkey dry with paper towels.
  6. Place the turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  7. Place softened butter and seasonings in a medium bowl.  Stir to combine.
  8. Using your fingers, loosen the skin on the breasts and lift, being careful not to tear the skin.
  9. Rub approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the butter mixture between the skin and the meat (this will get messy but it’s worth it!).
  10. Rub the remaining butter mixture on the outside skin of the turkey.
  11. Rub the inside of cavity with salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with orange, lemon, onion and rosemary.
  12. Tuck wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. While turkey is roasting, check for brownness of skin about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through roasting.  Once skin is browned to your liking, loosely tent with aluminum foil.
  16. Remove turkey from oven, transfer to a large serving platter and tent loosely with foil.
  17. 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