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Herb-Roasted Turkey

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Combine the butter, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Put 4 cups of the chicken stock in a medium-sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper, to taste, and fill the cavity with half of the carrots, celery, and onions. Rub the entire turkey with the herb butter and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Scatter the remaining vegetables on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Fit a rack over the vegetables and put the turkey on top of the rack. Pour the remaining stock into the bottom of the roasting pan and carefully put the pan in the oven. Roast until the turkey is light golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting, basting with the warm chicken stock every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degreees, about 2 ½ more hours.

Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a large cutting board, and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Strain the stock in the bottom of the roasting pan through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towels into a medium-sized saucepan. Discard the solids. Boil the stock until reduced to a sauce consistency. Arrange the turkey on a large platter and drizzle with the reduced stock.


10 pound turkey
up to 12 pounds
¼ cup mixed herbs
fresh, minced plus 25 whole sprigs, eg. thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano etc.
*
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium yellow onion
cut into 2 inch pieces
*
1 lemon
cut into 2 inch pieces
1 apples
cut into 2 inch pieces
3 cups water
plus more as needed
1 teaspoon black pepper
freshly ground
4,5 kg turkey
up to 12 pounds
59 ml mixed herbs
fresh, minced plus 25 whole sprigs, eg. thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano etc.
*
30 ml canola oil
5 ml salt
1 medium yellow onion
cut into 2 inch pieces
*
1 each lemon
cut into 2 inch pieces
1 each apples
cut into 2 inch pieces
710 ml water
plus more as needed
5 ml black pepper
freshly ground

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well pat dry. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen string tuck wingtips under. Place, breast side up, on a lightly greased roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°. Stir together thyme, next 2 ingredients, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper rub mixture into cavity of turkey. Rub butter over turkey. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over outside of turkey rub into skin. Arrange onions and next 3 ingredients around base of turkey in roasting pan add wine and 1 cup water to pan.

Place turkey in oven reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake at 325° for 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 160°.

Remove turkey from oven increase heat to 425°. Baste turkey with pan juices, and let stand 15 minutes return to oven. Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and thermometer registers 165°.

Let turkey stand in pan 30 minutes transfer to a serving platter. Reserve pan drippings for Easy Turkey Gravy, if desired.

*Frozen whole turkey, thawed, may be substituted.

Recipe brought to the table by chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama.


Herb-Roasted Turkey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and set it on a cutting board. With a boning knife, separate the thighs/legs from the bird by cutting through the skin and joint where thigh connects to the body set aside.

Remove the breasts from the bone by using a sharp, thin knife to cut down the length of the turkey breast bone. This can also be done by a butcher (see Quick-Roasted Turkey, below). Set aside bones for Calvados Gravy (recipe below). At this point, you will have two thigh/legs and two breasts.

In a mixing bowl combine the olive oil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage. Mix together and rub all over turkey. Finish by liberally seasoning the turkey all over with salt and pepper.

Place legs, skin side up, in a large roasting pan. Roast 20 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven add breasts to pan, skin side up. Roast 30 to 45 minutes, or until breast reaches 165 degrees F when checked with a thermometer. Remove from oven loosely cover with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing (See Plattering and Presenting, below). Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place turkey bones in a roasting pan rub with 2 Tbsp. of the oil. Roast until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, place carrots, onion, celery, turnip, apple, and garlic in a food processor (work in batches if needed) and pulse to a coarse puree. Remove bones from roasting pan set aside. Place roasting pan on stove over high heat. Add remaining olive oil and vegetable puree. Cook and stir 15 minutes, until most of the moisture has cooked off and vegetables begin to caramelize. Sprinkle with the flour cook 2 minutes more, stirring well to incorporate flour. Gradually add chicken stock, stirring to ensure there are no lumps. Place bones back in pan. Bring to a simmer. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the Calvados gently simmer 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a saucepan (Don't use a very fine mesh sieve, as allowing some of the pulp to pass through helps thicken the gravy). Whisk in a few of the cold butter cubes at a time until incorporated. Repeat until all the butter has been incorporated. This thickens the sauce and adds a glossy, velvety finish and richness. Makes 3-1/2 cups gravy.


  • 1 10- to 12-pound turkey
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs, plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Aromatics, onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven preheat to 475 degrees F.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.

Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast.

Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. (If you're making Herbed Pan Gravy, start here.) Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve.

Equipment: Large roasting pan, roasting rack, kitchen string, thermometer


  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 2 3/4 to 3 1/4-pound turkey breast portion with bone, skin removed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups tiny red potatoes, quartered (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups baby carrots with tops trimmed and halved lengthwise (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups white and/or red pearl onions trimmed and halved (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture.

Place turkey breast portion, bone side down, on a roasting rack in a foil-lined shallow roasting pan. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining herb mixture evenly over turkey breast portion rub in with your fingers. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions add the reserved 1 tablespoon herb mixture and the olive oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Arrange vegetables around turkey in roasting pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours more or until juices run clear, turkey is no longer pink (170 degrees F), and vegetables are tender, stirring vegetables once.

Transfer turkey to cutting board tent with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Trim meat from bone. Serve turkey with the vegetables (see Tip).

Storage: Place any leftover cooked turkey and vegetables in an airtight container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Easy Herb-Roasted Turkey

Combine the first 7 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Mix well, and set aside.

Position a rack on second-lowest level in oven preheat to 500°. Have a large roasting pan ready with a rack set in pan.

Put 1/2 cup vegetable mixture inside neck cavity and 1/2 cup inside chest cavity of turkey. Scatter remaining vegetables on bottom of pan, and add 1 cup water. Truss turkey by tying ends of legs with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back tuck under bird. Using a pastry brush, brush turkey with 1/2 of the melted butter. Place turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Roast 30 minutes turn oven down to 350°. Baste turkey with pan juices roast 30 minutes more.

Remove turkey from oven. Carefully (using something to protect your hands) turn turkey breast side up. (It won't be very hot at this point.) Baste with pan juices and remaining butter return to oven. If breast is becoming too dark, shield with foil. Roast, basting with pan juices again after 45 minutes. Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into thickest part of a thigh away from the bone.

Tilt juices from cavity into pan. Transfer bird to a carving board, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 30-40 minutes before carving. Carve turkey, and serve.


How to make a mayonnaise-coated turkey

Coating a turkey with mayonnaise is a simple concept that became popular some years ago and the technique works really well for two basic reasons.

  • Mayonnaise adheres to the turkey during cooking much better than a coating of butter, it aids in browning the skin more evenly and helps keep the bird moist and juicy.
  • Mayonnaise itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor so it’s a great carrier for whatever seasonings you choose to combine with it, in this case, fresh herbs.

To make the perfect mayonnaise coated turkey, you mix the mayo with your seasonings and coat the turkey using half of that mixture.

You start off roasting the turkey for half-an-hour at a high temperature (425°F), rotate the pan, reduce the temperature to 325°F and go for another 45 minutes before applying the remaining half of the seasoned mayo.

At that point, you’re good to finish the cooking, no basting needed. You’ll just want to check for doneness every thirty minutes or so to be sure don’t overcook your turkey.

More roasted turkey recipes

Other uses for a mayonnaise coating

We’ve used the mayo coating technique on roast chicken, pork tenderloin and baked fish fillets too.

It’s also a great way to cut down on butter when making grilled cheese sandwiches! A thin coating of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread is easy to spread to the edges and a little goes a long way.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 18- to 21-pound fresh turkey, thawed if frozen, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved for gravy
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 to 4 lemons, each cut into quarters
  • 2 to 3 onions, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 cup dry white wine or water
  • 3 cups Giblet Stock or homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock

Rinse turkey with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand, uncovered, 2 hours at room temperature.

Combine butter, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, gently loosen turkey skin from over the breast meat, and smear half the butter mixture under skin.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack on lowest level. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set in a heavy metal roasting pan. Fold wing tips under. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside cavity. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as many lemon and onion wedges as will fit comfortably.

Tie legs together loosely with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub entire turkey with remaining herb butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, pressing to adhere.

Cook 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Using a pastry brush, baste the turkey with any pan drippings. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue cooking 2 more hours, basting turkey and rotating pan every 30 minutes if pan gets too full, spoon out some of the juices, reserving them for gravy.

After 2 1/2 hours of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. The temperature should reach 160 degrees, and the turkey should be golden brown. (The internal temperature will continue to rise once turkey is out of oven. Ideal done temperature is 165 degrees.) If thighs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey again, and continue cooking.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour the pan juices into a large glass measuring cup let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim with a large spoon.

Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add wine or water, and bring to a boil deglaze pan by scraping up any browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add stock stir well, and return to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook 5 minutes more you will have about 2 cups. Remove from heat, and season with the salt and pepper. Strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.