Herb Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey
Herb Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey is an easy and flavorful whole roasted turkey. Made with a refreshing herbed citrus butter and stuffed with fall vegetables. This whole roasted turkey recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and easy to make thanks to our step-by-step guide on how to cook a whole turkey.
Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a juicy, roasted turkey on the table. Am I right?
If you are just joining us, I kicked off The Curious Plate Thanksgiving on Sunday with an Easy Guide on How to Host Thanksgiving + a Free Printable Checklist. It’s chock-full of entertaining tips, recommendations for kitchen tools, and a full Thanksgiving menu to help make the big turkey day feel like a breeze.
Each day this week I’ve shared a new recipe:
Monday: Thanksgiving Appetizer: Fireside Cheese Dip
Tuesday: Thanksgiving Side: Easy Cornbread Stuffing with Salami
Wednesday: Thanksgiving Side: Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
Hungry yet? Well, today I’m sharing my favorite recipe to make the absolute best Thanksgiving turkey. It’s covered with herbed citrus butter, stuffed with fall vegetables, braised with a hard cider, and perfectly roasted until tender and juicy. This Herb Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey is the piece de resistance.
Ready to get cooking?
What ingredients do you need to make this Herb Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey?
When it comes to cooking a whole turkey you actually don’t need a lot of ingredients. All you will need is:
- 10-14 pound whole turkey
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon Zest
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Sage
- Fresh Rosemary
- Hard cider
- Kosher salt and pepper
What size of whole turkey should I buy?
Truth: whole turkeys come in many sizes. With that said, before you go to the grocery store decide on how many people you are going to feed. General rule of thumb is 1.5 lbs of turkey per person. So, if you want to feed 8 to 10 people I would get a 12 lb bird.
Now, if you are feeding a large crowd (like 16 people or more!), I would buy 2 birds at 12 lbs. This will not only save you space in the oven, but you can cook one ahead of time and simply reheat while the first turkey is resting.
How do I thaw a whole turkey?
Again, whole turkeys come in many sizes and are often frozen. So you will want to give yourself plenty of time to allow a whole turkey to defrost. Often times I give myself an extra day just to make sure it’s properly defrosted.
General defrost timeline:
10 to 12 lbs turkey – Defrost in fridge: at least 3 days
12 to 16 lbs turkey – Defrost in fridge: 4 to 5 days
16 to 20 lbs turkey – Defrost in fridge: 5 to 6 days
When you bring home your frozen turkey leave it in the original wrapper. Place it on a baking sheet so it will catch any juices that may leak.
Let’s Get Ready to Cook! Tools You Will Need to Roast the Turkey:
Turkey Day Cooking Prep:
- Once your turkey is thawed, you will need to let it come to room temperature for at least an hour or two on the kitchen counter. FDA actually allows meat to be at room temperature for up to 4 hours so don’t worry about any spoilage. The reason you want it to come to room temperature is ensure that the turkey cooks evenly.
- Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. You will want to remove the neck and bag of giblets from the cavity if you see it in there. Take a few paper towels and pat the turkey dry. No need to rinse the turkey.
- Stuff the cavity with any vegetables or citrus wedges. Take the kitchen twine and tie the legs together.
- Using your hands you will want to gently lift the skin above the turkey breast to allow room for the herbed citrus butter. I find lifting the skin prior to adding the butter is much easier. Next, massage in the butter.
- Once the turkey is coated with the herbed citrus butter you are ready for roasting!
How to Roast a Whole Turkey:
- Now that your turkey is stuffed with garnishes and massage with the herbed citrus butter, it’s time to put the turkey into the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes to create a nice sear on the skin. After that, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees to finish cooking.
- General rule of thumb is for every pound of turkey you’ll roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. But! You will always want to factor in a little wiggle room so give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour of cooking just in case.
- Every 30 minutes you will want to baste the turkey with either the pan drippings or hard cider. This will help keep the turkey moist! Also, you will want to rotate the roasting pan. Your oven actually cooks at different temperatures on certain sides so by rotating the pan you will ensure even cooking. Tip: if your turkey looks like it’s getting scorched simply tent with foil.
- To know when your turkey is done cooking use your meat thermometer to check the breast. It should read 165 degrees. Also, when sliced into the juices should run clear. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover with foil to allow to rest at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
More Thanksgiving Day Mains to Enjoy:
- Spatchcock Herbed Turkey
- Apple Cider-Glazed Roasted Turkey with Herbed Butter
- Butternut Squash Bolognese Pasta Bake with Melted Brie
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
If you need more Thanksgiving Day recipe inspiration make sure to check out our Thanksgiving recipes here!
Herb Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey
- 1 lemon Zested
- 1/2 cup Unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Shallot, minced
- 8 large Fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 12 lb Whole turkey, defrosted
- 1 large Yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large Carrots, chopped
- 2 large Lemons, cut into wedges
- 2 12 oz Hard cider bottles
- 1 cup White wine
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring your turkey out of the fridge and set on the kitchen counter for at least an hour to bring to room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray your roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small food processor combine lemon zest, butter, shallot, sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth. Reserve a 1/4 cup butter to use to make the gravy later.
- Take your turkey out of the package. Remove the giblets and neck, and discard. Drain the cavity well and then using a paper towel, pat the turkey dry. Using your hands, loosen and lift the skin from the turkey breast. Rub the herb citrus butter under the skin and then over the top of the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Flip the turkey over and rub the remaining butter all over the back and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Place the turkey in the roasting pan breast side up. Stuff with cavity of turkey with onion, carrot, celery, and lemon wedges. Using kitchen twine, tie ends of the legs together. Pour wine and chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Bake the turkey at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or a nice golden crust starts to form on the skin. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook the turkey 15 to 20 minutes per pound and basting with hard cider every 30 minutes. You will want to check the temp of the turkey around 2 hour mark to gage how far you need to go. Plus, rotating the turkey pan will help ensure even cooking. If you need to tent the turkey with foil to keep it from burning that's okay!
- Once a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees on the thickest portion, remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 30 minutes prior to serving.
- Once cooled, move the turkey to a serving platter so you can begin to make the gravy. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan through a sieve into a bowl. Discard any solids. Reserve drippings.
- Melt the reserved 1/4 cup herb citrus butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk. Cook the flour for about 1 minute. Gradually add in the reserved drippings to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep whisking. Stir until thickened, and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with turkey.
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