This herb roasted turkey is slathered in an herb and garlic butter, then baked to golden brown perfection. An easy turkey recipe that’s sure to be a hit on Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday!

This is THE BEST turkey I have ever had, it’s packed with flavor and so easy to make that even a beginner cook can put together an impressive meal! Serve your turkey with Thanksgiving stuffing and  slow cooker cranberry sauce for a memorable meal.

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A whole herb roasted turkey surrounded by herbs and fruit.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Why is she sharing an herb roasted turkey recipe two weeks after Thanksgiving is over?

I’m sharing this recipe now because I made it for Thanksgiving, and it’s just too delicious to wait a whole year to share on this site. This turkey is tender, juicy, full of flavor and super easy to make. Making a turkey for Christmas? This is the recipe you need to try!

How to thaw a turkey

Let’s talk turkey basics first. I typically use frozen turkeys simply for the convenience factor, although this recipe works with either fresh or frozen birds. If you’ve got a frozen turkey, the best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator, but you do need to plan in advance. Typically you’ll need to thaw for one day per 4 pounds of turkey. I had a 15 pound turkey and it took a full 4 days for it to thaw.

How to prep a turkey

To prepare a turkey for roasting you’ll need to do the following steps:

  • remove the neck from the turkey cavity
  • tie the legs together with kitchen twine
  • fold the ends of the turkey wings under your bird
  • remove the giblet bag

You can also choose to brine your turkey before you roast it for extra flavor. Check out my guide on how to brine a turkey!

How to make herb roasted turkey

This turkey is flavored with an herb and garlic butter which is super easy to make in the food processor. You’ll want to cover every inch of the turkey in the butter, and be sure to smear it under the skin too for maximum flavor.

Compound butter for herb roasted turkey.

After the turkey is coated in butter, it goes into a super hot oven to brown up. This step is what gives you that amazing deep golden brown crust. After that, you’ll lower the temperature to cook the turkey all the way through.

If you feel like your turkey is browning too quickly, simply cover it with a piece of foil.

Herb roasted turkey coated in butter crust.

How long to cook turkey

Generally speaking, a turkey needs to cook for 15 minutes per pound of bird that you have. This assumes that you’re starting with a fresh or fully thawed turkey. The only way to know for sure that your turkey is cooked through is to use a thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey.

Herb roasted turkey sliced on a platter is the perfect holiday main course.

What temperature to cook turkey

The minimum internal temperature of a turkey should be 165 degrees F. You can check to see if your turkey is done by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and breast. Make sure to avoid touching bone as this will give you an inaccurate temperature.

Herb roasted turkey is covered in butter and seasonings and baked to golden brown perfection.

I just love the flavors of this herb roasted turkey, which is why I just couldn’t wait a whole year to share it with you. That skin is crispy perfection, the meat is full of herb flavor, and this recipe is simple enough for a beginner to perfect. No messy brines or exotic spices, just some fresh ingredients, a little basting and a trip through a hot oven.

More recipes for your holiday meal

5 from 33 votes

Herb Roasted Turkey

AuthorSara Welch
A whole herb roasted turkey is a show stopping main course for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
This herb roasted turkey is slathered in an herb and garlic butter, then baked to golden brown perfection. An easy turkey recipe that's sure to be a hit on Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 15


  • 15 lb turkey
  • 10 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 1 cup assorted herbs whole sprigs to stuff inside the turkey
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • optional garnishes: assorted herbs, fresh cranberries, seckel pears


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Tuck the turkey wings under the body.
  • Place the butter, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onion, lemon and assorted herbs. Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen twine.
  • Rub the herb butter all over the outside of the turkey and under the skin of the breast. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken broth in a medium saucepan on the stove and keep warm over low heat.
  • Place the turkey in a roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting, basting the turkey every 30 minutes with the chicken broth, until the turkey is done. This will take approximately 3 hours and you'll know that the turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey thigh registers 165 degrees F.
  • If the turkey seems like it's getting overly browned during the cooking process, cover it with foil.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and tent loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest for 25 minutes. Slice, then serve.


  1. Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay
  2. You can make this recipe with a turkey larger than 15 lbs, simply add 15 minutes more to the cooking time per pound.
  3. It's best to cook your turkey on a rack or on a bed of vegetables to help keep it from sitting in all the juices in the bottom of the pan.


Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 733mg | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2.7mg

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5 from 33 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was the first time I’ve ever cooked a Turkey and it was SO GOOD and really easy!
    All of the tips were super helpful as well.
    Everyone enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m excited to try this recipe. I have a few questions instead of basting your turkey can you inject it? And is it best to use a roasting pan?

  3. What does the lemon do for the turkey? I use the juice from turkey for the dressing and wasn’t sure if I would be able to taste the lemon.
    Also can a bag be used instead of basting?

    1. You won’t taste the lemon in the dressing! I don’t typically cook with turkey bags, so I can’t say for sure but I think it would work fine.

  4. 5 stars
    I am SO excited to try this. Similar to what I’ve done in the past but I have never filled the cavity, so very excited for this!! I have to use an electric roaster this year. Do you know if I would keep the temperatures the same? 450 for first 45 minutes and then 350 for remainder of the time? Thank you in advance!

    1. Yes you can keep the temperatures the same! Just watch it during 450 to make sure it doesn’t get overly brown, it could brown faster since an electric roaster is a smaller device than an oven.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious turkey! Best turkey I’ve ever had! Made it yesterday and really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to dig it into it again today.

    Added a little lemon zest to the butter mixture but followed every thing else as is.


  6. I made this for Christmas Day….it looks absolutely amazing!!!! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you & Merry Christmas 🎁🎄 ❄️⛄️✝️🎅

  7. 5 stars
    Made this for Thanksgiving yesterday!!! Everyone LOVED it!! It was so moist and flavorful!! I had to buy a food processor for the recipe, but it was definitely worth it. Thank you for sharing this!!

    1. 5 stars
      Best recipe! I used Kerrygold garlic and herb butter stick, a poultry blend of fresh herbs package, a package of parsley, and a extra package of rosemary! Fresh ground pepper and sea salt. I load the cavity with extra rosemary and any left over herbs. This is my third year doing this recipe, it is the best! Last 20 minutes or so I remove foil to make sure I get a good brown on the bird!

  8. Does this have to be basted? I’ve made your breast recipe and it’s wonderful and I didn’t baste it. Does the whole bird need it?