Herb Roasted Turkey


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It’s time. Thanksgiving is upon up. Lemme break it down for you. We’ve got 17 days until Thanksgiving. That means every day from here on out is going to be Thanksgiving related. We’re kicking it off with the star of the show – my Herb Roasted Turkey. It’s so good, 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! Good thing 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! You’re getting a perfectly cooked turkey, the best mashed potatoes to EVER grace your table, and a stuffing to end all stuffings, Tons of side dishes that you’ll want to devour plus a few 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 starting with today! It’s stuffed with citrus and herbs and coated with a compound butter that’s a real game changer. 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! It’s a KEY component to a juicy bird

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

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

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Gaby Dalkin
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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

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Once the turkey is prepped, place it in a large roasting pan, breast side up on a metal rack.
  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with rack on lowest level.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Herb Roasted Turkey: Chef Vision

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

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  1. Kate

    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 🙂

    • Gaby

      wipe off the brine and then slap it with some buttery spread!! 🙂 xx

  2. Heidi Lucille

    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!!!

    • Gaby

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

    • Heidi Lucille

      I thought the same thing shortly after I posted that! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  3. Bremda Wilson

    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. Cristina

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

    • Cristina

      never mind – just read that you prefer dry brining – duhhhh – sorry – lol!!!

  5. Linda

    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?


    • Gaby

      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. Amanda

    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. Grace

    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?

    • Gaby

      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. Nicole

    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. Cindy

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

  10. mary

    If you dry brine overnight, do you take the giblets out and everything beforehand? Assuming yes?

    • mary

      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 😀

  11. Vanessa

    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?

    • Gaby

      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!

  12. Kelsey

    If I don’t have a food processor – what else can I use to make the herb butter?

  13. CentralCoastGal

    You say test the temp in the thickest part of the turkey. Where would that be exactly?

  14. Linda

    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!

  15. Karen Hiller

    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!

  16. Dorothy

    Are you saying you dry brine your turkey before you coat it with the herbs and butter? What is the link to your dry brine?

  17. Dorothy

    Oops never mind. I saw the link after I asked the question. Can’t wait to try this!

  18. Kyle Ann Markwell

    Hi Gaby! I’d love to do this on turkey breasts. How would I adjust the cooking time? Thanks!

    • Gaby

      turkey breasts take WAY less time to cook!! The turkey is done when it reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast meat. Start checking after 1 hour of roasting and continue checking every 10 to 15 minutes until the breast is cooked through

  19. Shannon

    Hi Gaby,

    Shopping for a fresh turkey and finding it overwhelming! Antibiotic free, organic, hen, tom, diestel, diestel heirloom – what do you recommend?

    Also – for the dry brine if you enjoy an extra crispy skin do you think a butter infused olive oil could be used in your recipe to substitute the butter?


  20. Courtney

    Hi Gaby!
    I used this recipe with the dry brine last year and the turkey came out PERFECT! I got so many compliments on it! Prepping for this year and I’ve always had this issue- the drippings will burn on the bottom of my pan and smoke up my whole house! Any suggestions???
    Thanks for being a part of my Thanksgiving!

    • Gaby

      I buy an organic unbrined turkey and brine it myself – there’s a link within this post on my brining technique! But you can totally buy a brined turkey if you want!!

  21. Melanie

    Help! (If you can!) I’ve been so excited to make this recipe (and your mashed potatoes)… I have a 12lb turkey and realized this morning that I should have moved it from the freezer to fridge to thaw a day ago… So, it went in at 6am this morning. Planning to serve around 1:30 tomorrow. It will only be partially thawed by the time I need to start cooking.

    Would you recommend using the cold water method to quickly thaw the rest of the way first thing tomorrow morning, or just adjusting the cooking time to cook longer tomorrow?

    Thinking if it’s not completely thawed I may have to cook for a bit and then when it’s thawed enough put the remaining butter/herbs/lemon halves inside and finish cooking.

    What would you do? Thanks in advance if you are able to answer!

    • Gaby

      if it were me, I’d just take the turkey out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for a few hours to thaw. I know that’s not PC but I’ve done it before and it’s always okay.