I know what you are thinking, herb-roasted turkey in March? In January I tucked a heritage turkey into the freezer, for a rainy day. Honestly, I really put it away as we never get to enjoy leftovers from a roasted turkey as we are usually somewhere else during holiday meals. I have to say this herb-roasted turkey completely hit the spot in March too.
I imagine you are definitely questioning my judgment on sharing this recipe now. Trust me, there are turkeys out there. I recently saw that they brought some out at one of our grocery stores as well I found them online with Goodeggs (if you are in the Bay Area). I might even grab another one for another rainy day. After posting on Instagram my intents of roasting this bird a few people reached out and thanked me for the idea as they also have turkeys in their freezers!
I used a heritage turkey but any turkey will do. This recipe is one of my go-to’s when I do get a chance to make a turkey dinner. It is super easy and really flavorful.
After thawing the turkey, I rinse it and pat dry with paper towels. I then use kosher salt and rub it all over the bird, inside and out. Place the bird into a large glass roasting pan and slide into the refrigerator for 24 hours. Do not cover it as this helps dry out the skin a bit which will hold in the juices and make all that amazing flavor.
An hour before I begin roasting, I take the turkey out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. This step helps the bird cook evenly. Before roasting, I stuff the turkey with a couple of lemons and onion. Then I give the bird a generous rubdown using butter and herbs before roasting.
I roast my turkeys at 325 and I typically do not use a timer. I prefer to use a meat thermometer whenever I cook meat. I did find roasting times over at Mary’s Free Range Turkeys which I listed below. There are more times and tips over on their site as well.
Regular Turkeys – Whole Body – 165 – 170 F in the thigh
8 – 12 pounds: 1 1/2 hours – 2 1/2 hours
12 – 14 pounds: 2 1/2 hours – 3 hours
14 – 16 pounds: 3 – 3 3/4 hours
16 – 18 pounds: 3 3/4 hours – 4 hours
Heritage Turkey – Whole Body – 150 – 155 F in the thigh
8 – 12 pounds: 1 1/4 – 2 1/4 hours
12 – 14 pounds: 2 1/4 – 2 3/4 hours
14 – 16 pounds: 2 3/4 – 3 1/2 hours
16 – 18 pounds: 3 1/2 – 4 hours
Herb Roasted Turkey
- 8 – 10-pound turkey, thawed
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons fresh herbs finely minced – I used marjoram and thyme as this is what I had on hand. I have also used, sage, lemon zest, and parsley
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 lemons, washed and cut in half
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 cups water, white wine, or turkey stock
- Rinse the turkey well with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub all over, inside and out with the kosher. Place into a large glass pan and slide into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove the turkey about an hour before roasting to bring to room temperature – the turkey will cook more evenly.
- Make the herb butter by combining the butter and herbs along with the pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Place the turkey into a roasting pan, stuff with the lemon and onion. Using your hands rub the butter herb mixture all over the turkey, inside, under the skin, etc..
- Pour the water, wine, or stock into the roasting pan around the turkey.
- Slide into a preheated oven and cook. I set a timer for 30 minutes and baste every time it rings. Refer to the cooking times and temperature above.
- After the turkey has cooked, remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lemons and onion and discard.
- Slice the turkey.