Herb Roasted Turkey

We’re a week into the What’s Gaby Cooking Thanksgiving menu this year it’s time for the main attraction… an Herb Roasted Turkey that you’ll make annually from here on out.

Herb Roasted Turkey from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

There’s a ton of planning to do before the big day and while you might think I’m a bit nuts, I’ve been working away to create the most epic Thanksgiving spread for you the past few months. Whoever thinks being a food blogger is glamorous should have seen what it looks like to recipe test a 16 pound Herb Roasted Turkey in August. It wasn’t pretty. But it’s all worth it now because the whole thing is coming to WGC! A perfectly cooked turkey, the best mashed potatoes to even grace your table, a stuffing to end all stuffings, side dishes that you’ll want to devour, and a fun dessert that no one will be expecting! I’ve taken all the guess work out of Thanksgiving this year so whether you’re hosting the entire thing yourself, or if you just need a side dish or dessert to bring over to someones house… you’re covered! Nothing is super complicated or time consuming – just 100% delicious!

Herb Roasted Turkey from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

If you ask my husband the most important part of Thanksgiving, he’d tell you it’s the bird… so that’s what we’re talking about today! The bird is stuffed with citrus and herbs and coated with a herb compound butter that you’ll want to slather all over everything else. Seeing as how it’s Thanksgiving, and anything goes, I think it’s totally acceptable. And if you’re a brine kinda person like me… here’s pretty much everything you’ll ever need to know about brining a bird! I always opt for a dry brine just because it’s just less messy!

PS – are you thinking of putting this on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full What’s Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Yield: serves 12-14

Herb Roasted Turkey


    For the Herb Roasted Turkey
  • 1 14-16 pound turkey, thawed if frozen
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 handfuls of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 handfuls of fresh sage leaves
  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 lemons, each cut into halves
  • For the Homemade Gravy
  • 1 recipe Turkey Gravy


    For the Herb Roasted Turkey
  1. If you are using a frozen turkey, remove the turkey from the freezer a few days before Thanksgiving and let it thaw out in the refrigerator. (If you are bringing the turkey - see the link above on steps)
  2. When you're ready to roast the bird, remove the turkey from the refrigerator, remove the giblets from inside, rinse turkey with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let it rest on a baking sheet for 2 hours until it comes to room temperature.
  3. In a food processor, combine the butter, lemon zest, 1 handful of parsley, 1 handful of thyme and 1 handful of sage leaves and pulse for 1-2 minutes until everything is evenly incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and pulse for a few seconds more. Remove the compound butter from the food processor and set aside.
  4. Once the turkey is prepped, place it in a large roasting pan, breast side up on a metal rack.
  5. Using your hands, smear the butter all over the turkey. Liberally season the bird with salt and pepper and use your hands to pat everything down onto the skin.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with rack on lowest level.
  7. Fill the inside of the bird with the remaining handfuls of herbs and the halved lemons, making sure everything is stuffed inside the bird. Tie the legs together with a bit of kitchen twine and place the bird into the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.
  8. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue to cook for about 2 more hours, basting turkey with drippings from the bottom and rotating the pan every 30-45 minutes.
  9. After 2.5 hours of cooking time, use a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the turkey so make sure the internal temperature is 175 degrees. The turkey should be golden brown at this point. If the turkey is not done, continue to cook it until the thermometer registers at 175 degrees F.
  10. If the turkey is done but isn't quite golden brown yet, crank the heat up to 450 degrees and blast it for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.


Trying to save some time - make the compound butter a few days ahead of time and keep it stored in the refrigerator until it's time to use


Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. Hi! This looks great and I’m excited to try it next week ! If I’m doing the dry brine will I still want to wet the turkey before applying the butter mixture? Or just wipe off the brine and then add the butter spread? Thanks 🙂

  2. Hey Gaby,
    What recipe did you use to dry brine?! Was it the same as the recipe to the link you posted? I thought you mentioned other herbs from the dry brine (in your fb live gravy video for friendsgiving).
    Thanks Much!!!

    1. same as the link!! I think I referred to the herbs from the butter spread that I put all over the bird!

  3. If I were to use dry herbs how much would I use if each ? for your turkey herb butter spread .
    I looks very favor full.

  4. hi gaby – did you do wet or dry brining? also if you’re feeding 10-12 ppl, what size turkey should i buy?

  5. I want to do a test run of his turkey recipe and gravy before thanksgiving. Is there anyway i can save the gravy I make now for thanksgiving (over a month away)? Can I freeze it? Would it thaw and reheat well?

    Also, you used the dry brine recipe from the whole foods video within the link you provided, right? The recipe with the brown sugar?


    1. yes that’s the brine I used!!

      and I haven’t tried saving the gravy for that long but I dont see what it would be an issue. You’ll just need to re-heat before serving and probably give it a good whisk so everything is evenly incorporated once heated

  6. I’ve been making my turkey with herb compound butter for several years 🙂 I always put some of the butter UNDER the skin… SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

  7. Hey Gaby,

    You’re busy crushing this Thanksgiving season; I want to make all of these recipes. Without tenting the turkey, does the meat get dry or is that not an issue? I feel like I have perpetually dry turkey each year, but have been told that tenting makes it more juicy?

    1. I don’t tent it unless it starts to get too brown on top! But this one stays juicy because you stuff it with lemon and herbs and the herb butter keeps it moist

  8. Silly question, but will it turn out any differently if I rub the compound butter under the skin,or will flavors be too intense?

  9. Will the turkey and gravy be too salty if you wet brine and apply the compound butter for the herb roasted turkey?

      1. Thank you… Not sure I did it correctly ahhhh! I followed the video from Whole Foods, but my turkey maybe wasn’t dry enough? The brine made it feel wet again. We shall see 😀

  10. Hi Gaby,

    Does the 2.5 hour cooking time apply to conventional ovens rather than convection ovens? This is my first time cooking a turkey and I’ve read that you should cook the turkey at 350F for about 15 minutes per pound. Is that right or does the higher temps in your recipe account for the shorter cooking time?

    1. that sounds about right – the higher temp time is get start getting it brown. BUT – best bet is to use a meat thermometer so you know exactly when your turkey is done!

  11. I made this turkey and the gravy for thanksgiving yesterday (I dry brined using a very basic dry brine recipe of just salt, brown sugar, and pepper). It came out so good! Best turkey I’ve ever had! Mine did get pretty brown early on so I did tent with foil. I rotated the pan every half hour and basted it every hour or so. AMAZING! Thank you!

  12. Can the Herb butter be made with something other than butter (but the same consistency) such as coconut oil or Nucoa? I have an allergy to all milk products including butter, but I love the idea of an herb flavor infusion and a way to keep the Turkey moister!

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