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Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

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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.  

herb roasted turkey

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.  

Roasting Times:

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

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

How To:

  1. 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.
  2. Remove the turkey about an hour before roasting to bring to room temperature – the turkey will cook more evenly.  
  3. Make the herb butter by combining the butter and herbs along with the pepper. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 325.
  5. 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.. 
  6. Pour the water, wine, or stock into the roasting pan around the turkey.
  7. 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.
  8. After the turkey has cooked, remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the lemons and onion and discard.
  10. Slice the turkey.
  11. Serve.
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