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 slow cooker cranberry sauce for a memorable meal.

Herb Roasted Turkey Recipe | Baked Turkey | Thanksgiving Turkey | Christmas Turkey | Holiday Turkey Recipe | Butter Roasted Turkey Recipe #turkey #thanksgiving #christmas #dinner #dinneratthezoo

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 23 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!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 15

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  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.

Nutrition

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

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. Will the turkey skin or meat taste like butter? Just wondering as my family does not like the taste of butter.

    Thanks
    Lina

  2. Thank you thank you!
    This was my first time ever making a turkey, I was so nervous as I didnโ€™t want it to become the Griswold Christmas turkey. This recipe is amazing! Our turkey was so juicy and flavorful!

  3. Looks fantastic! For your 15lb turkey, was it 3hrs total of baking, or three additional hours after turning the temp down after 45min?

  4. 5 stars
    Does this recipe need the turkey to be brined first? You donโ€™t state it in the instructions, but you note that you brined the turkey first in one of your comments.

  5. Iโ€™m going to make this, but I have a question!
    Can I use this butter recipe even after I bribe it?
    Iโ€™m worries that it would be too salty. Would love to do both!
    Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this for a Friendsgiving tonight, first time I ever cooked a turkey (so Iโ€™m a relative beginner in the kitchen). This was very easy to prepare and the results were fantastic. Multiple people asked for the recipe to use for their Thanksgiving celebration. I will note to watch the turkey closely during the first 45 minute period in the oven. The top can burn quickly. I slapped a few layers of tinfoil on top of the bird about 30 mins in and it was perfectly golden brown. But I will use this recipe every time I cook turkey!

  7. I’m excited to make it this Thanksgiving! One last question, please? When you first stick the turkey in the oven, do you put a liquid base at the bottom or just stick the turkey directly on the pan? I’m worried the turkey may burn if I just put it on the pan with no water or chicken broth. But I didn’t see any direction to do so. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Sara,
    Where did you learn this godly recipe?
    I’ve made 5 or 6 birds over the past 2 years using this recipe; family and friends are left in awe from the otherworldly tenderness and flavor.

    Thanks for sharing this to the world,
    Frank

    1. Choose sprigs of fresh thyme, parsley, sage and/or rosemary to stuff into the cavity of the turkey. A lot of stores sell a poultry blend package of fresh herbs that includes a little of everything.

  9. How seriously festive is this Turkey! It looks so good and it’s packed with all the right flavors! I would love to keep the recipe and use it for gatherings!

  10. This turkey looks and sounds amazing! It literally came out to perfect golden perfection! I would love to make one like this someday.