Easy Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter
This easy Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter will be the ultimate centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table! Stuffed with fresh fruits and herbs, generously coated with herb-infused butter, then roasted until the skin is golden crisp and the inside tender and juicy!
Happy Turkey Day!
Getting ready for the holiday celebrations does not have to be stressful. And you certainly do not have to slave away in your kitchen for hours when you can be having a blast with your loved ones instead. It all comes down to preparation and recipe selection. If you want a relaxed and blissful holiday, my Easy Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving should be on top of your must-read list!
Having an easy-to-make yet great-tasting turkey recipe for Thanksgiving is an essential part of this. And this herb butter turkey recipe is precisely that! A straightforward way of roasting your bird with just the perfect amount of trimmings to give it that festive flair and mouthwatering flavors!
- The Turkey. This is the star of the show, so you have to make sure that you get the best one. Here are some things to remember when buying it:
- Choose a plump hen turkey with no deflated spots as much as possible. Hen turkeys might be smaller but tend to have more tender flesh.
- Make sure there are no holes in the plastic packaging to prevent freezer burns.
- The size of the turkey depends on the number of people you are expecting. On average, a person consumes 1 to 1.5 lbs of turkey. So, a 12 lbs turkey should be enough for 10 people. Do not forget to also check the size of your oven first. It’s all part of your planning.
- The Herbs. I used fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage sprigs for this recipe. This classic trio of earthy and aromatic herbs pairs so well with turkey and are considered quintessential holiday seasonings! I used them both for the stuffing and the butter mixture for maximum flavor!
- The Stuffing. Aside from the herbs, I also used one of my favorite fall fruits- apples! It adds an element of sweetness and crunch to the recipe. I also used onions and lemon wedges for a touch of savory and tangy flavors.
- The Butter. I used unsalted butter for this recipe. However, if you have bought salted butter, just omit the salt in this recipe and do a taste test to balance the flavors.
“Masterfully Preparing Your Easy Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter”
After selecting the perfect turkey, the next step is to get it ready for the oven. Here are my pre-roasting prep tips to pave your way to making the best Thanksgiving turkey ever!
- The first thing to remember is to defrost it a few days ahead of time. I thawed my 12 lbs turkey in the fridge 3 days early, so if you have a larger bird, better get it there even earlier.
- Do not wash your turkey! Washing it will do more harm than good. This is because the bacteria in raw meats will transfer to your sink and other kitchen surfaces. Cooking will eliminate them 100%.
- No need to brine your turkey. This is not necessary to keep it juicy.
- You will also need to let it come down at room temperature for at least an hour before roasting, so it cooks evenly in the oven.
- Remove the neck and giblets from inside the cavities of the bird. But do not throw them away. You can use them to make a delicious gravy later on.
- Pat the turkey dry. This will allow the herb butter to cling to the surface better!
Time to Stuff!
Once your turkey is prepped, the next thing to do is load it up with flavors!
- Rub the cavity with salt and pepper using your hands to get them into the crevices, then stuff it with onion, lemon, apple, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Or you can wear disposable gloves.
- Place the stuffed turkey into the roasting pan breast side up. Budget-saving tip: you don’t need an expensive roasting pan to cook a turkey. Use a foil sheet from Walmart that you can toss away at the end of the day!
- Use kitchen twine to tie the legs shut so the stuffing remains intact and does not spill out as it cooks. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey.
The Herb Butter
It is super simple to make! All you need to do is to combine the unsalted butter, kosher salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, and sage in a medium bowl. The key to making your turkey extra flavorful is to add this both beneath and on the skin!
- Take your fingers and loosen and lift the skin above the breasts. You have to do this carefully because the breast skin is the thinnest part and is prone to breaking if you put too much pressure.
- Once loosened, take a few tablespoons of the herb butter and run it smoothly under the skin. Heat the remaining herb butter and brush it all over the outside of the turkey, legs, and wings.
- You can also use this in other meats like chicken and salmon or spread it on bread!
Roasting Turkey Do’s and Don’ts
Now that the turkey is ready for roasting, here are some do’s and don’ts to remember.
- DO adjust the rack of your oven to accommodate the turkey in the roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- DON’T cook the stuffing. It will cook at the same time as the turkey.
- DO use a meat thermometer to check if the turkey is cooked though. It should reach 165 degrees to be safe for eating.
- DO remove the turkey from the oven at 160 degrees, though. The turkey will continue to cook while it rests on the counter.
- DON’T baste your turkey once it is in the oven. It is unnecessary as it lowers the oven temperature each time you open the door.
- DO add a foil tent on top of the turkey halfway through to prevent the tops from overcooking.
- DO let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes after roasting. This will allow the juices to redistribute.
- DON’T throw away the pan drippings! Use it to make a delectable gravy to go with your turkey!
Serving Ideas for Easy Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter
Once the roasted herb butter turkey is cool enough to handle, carve it and place it on a serving platter. To make your life easier, you can make these three Oven-less Thanksgiving Sides! This way, you can cook your side dishes the same time your turkey is roasting in the oven. Gives you more time to do your OOTD and sip a nice glass of bubbly! Happy Thanksgiving!
Easy Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter
- For the roasted turkey:
- 1 10 to 12 lb Whole turkey
- 1 large Yellow onion, quartered
- 1 head Garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 large Apple, quartered
- 2 sprigs Rosemary
- 2 sprigs Thyme
- 2 sprigs Sage
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Homemade turkey or chicken stock
- For the herb butter:
- 1/2 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp Ground pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 sprig Rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 sprig Thyme, finely chopped
- 1 sprig Sage, finely chopped
- Remove the thawed turkey from the fridge at least 1 hour before roasting to let it come to room temperature.
- Next, adjust the rack of your oven to accommodate the turkey in the roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- While the oven is coming to temperature, make the herb butter. Combine the unsalted butter, kosher salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, and sage in a medium bowl.
- Next, remove the turkey from the packaging, and remove the neck and giblets from inside the cavities of the bird. You can reserve the neck and giblet for gravy or you can discard them. Using a paper towel, pat the whole turkey dry.
- Season the cavity of turkey with kosher salt and pepper. Then stuff the cavity with the onion, lemon, apple, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Set the turkey in a roasting pan. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs. Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey.
- Take your fingers and begin to loosen and lift the skin above the breasts. Once loosened, take a few tablespoons of the herb butter and run it smoothly under the skin. Next, microwave the remaining herb butter for about 30 seconds on high until softened. Take a basting brush to brush the herb butter all over the outside of the turkey, legs, and wings.
- The turkey is ready for the oven! Roast the turkey for about 15 minutes per pound or until an thermometer inserted into the middle thigh and breast reaches 165 degrees. If you need to tent the turkey halfway through cooking you can. This will keep the top of the turkey from becoming burnt.
- Pro tip: remove the turkey at 160 degrees. The turkey will continue to cook while it rests on the counter. You will want the turkey to rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes prior to carving. Once cool enough to handle, simply carve, and place turkey on a serving platter. Reserve any pan drippings and juice to make turkey gravy!