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overhead shot of herb roasted turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

With butter, fresh herbs and some aromatics, this simply prepared herb roasted turkey is perfect for the holidays.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 10
Calories 459kcal
Author Ryan Beck



  • 1 (14-16 lb) fresh turkey, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 piece of double lined cheesecloth
  • ½ apple
  • 1 lemon sliced in half
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 garlic head, tips sliced off
  • 2 sprigs each of thyme, sage and rosemary
  • 7-8 cups low-sodium chicken stock

Sage Gravy

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups turkey stock from pan or low-sodium chicken stock



  • Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before roasting to allow to come to room temperature. Remove the giblets and neck, rinse the turkey and pat dry.
  • Now you'll make the compound butter. Chop the garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary and add to a bowl with the butter. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. You want the butter to be smooth with the herbs mixed through.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan and season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with the sliced apple, lemon, onion, garlic and herbs.
  • Use your fingers to gently lift the skin of the turkey from the body of the bird. Rub half of the butter mixture underneath the skin and spread some of it on top as well.
  • Take the remaining half of butter and melt it in a pan over low heat. Dampen your cheesecloth with warm water and squeeze dry. Submerge the cheesecloth in the melted butter, trying to get the cloth to soak up all the butter. Lay the cheesecloth over the turkey, covering as much as you can. If there is any butter left, just drizzle over the turkey.
  • Pour 4 cups of chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting plan. Place the pan in the oven and roast at 450°F for 45 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and cook for another 2 hours or until the turkey thigh reaches 165°F. Add another 1-2 cups of stock halfway through, while also rotating the pan.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the cheesecloth. Transfer the turkey to a baking sheet and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Sage Gravy

  • Strain the cooking liquid from the roasting pan. It should give you about 4 cups. Place in freezer for 10 minutes so you can skim off the fat.
  • Place the roasting pan over 2 burners at medium heat. Add wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape the brown bits. Simmer for about 2 minutes, allowing the wine to reduce.
  • Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion and salt, cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sage and cook for until 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Slowly pour in turkey stock, whisking constantly. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper if needed.


  • Make sure you rinse and then pat dry the turkey which allows for a crisp skin.
  • Fresh herbs are the only way to go for this herb butter turkey. Do not replace with dried herbs.
  • Make sure you soak your cheesecloth in some water before squeezing dry and dipping in the butter which allows it to be more pliable and soak up the butter.
  • Do not skip adding chicken stock at the beginning and then more halfway through or you'll have a charred bottom where you can use the turkey drippings.
  • You know the turkey is done when you insert a thermometer in the thigh and it reaches 165°F. The key is finding the right part of the thigh and making sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bone.
  • When the turkey reaches the correct temperature, remove from the oven and cover loosely in aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Letting it rest keeps the juices in the turkey.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 1129mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g