Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey

This makes for a very flavorful turkey and I guarantee it won't dry out. Then these very flavorful drippings will make the best gravy.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 14 people
Author: Gaby Dalkin


  • 1 18 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


  • If you are using a frozen turkey, remove the turkey from the freezer a few days before Thanksgiving and let it thaw.
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and 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 ½ teaspoon of pepper and pulse for a few seconds more. Remove the compound butter from the food processor and set aside.
  • Truss the turkey using the photo step by step guide above.
  • Once the turkey is prepared, place it in a large roasting pan, breast side up on a metal rack. It's important to use a metal rack so the turkey is lifted from the bottom of the pan so there is room for the juices to hang out and not make the bottom of the turkey soggy.
  • 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.
  • Place the bird into the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.
  • Then, 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. It can take anywhere from 3 - 4.5 hours depending on the weight of your bird.
  • If the turkey is done but isn't quite golden brown yet, crack the heat up to 450 degrees and blast it for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  • If the turkey is done and is beautiful and golden brown, carefully remove it from the oven and tent it with some foil while you prep the gravy and the rest of Thanksgiving dinner!


It’s UBER important to use a rack so the turkey doesn’t sit in it’s own juices which makes it soggy. Unless you want a soggy bird. But I want one with extra crispy skin because it’s so so so good!


Calories: 799kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 100g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 380mg | Sodium: 878mg | Potassium: 1424mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 9mg