How to Make a Juicy Herb Roasted Turkey

An easy roast turkey recipe made with fresh herbs and aromatics for flavor.

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Here is how to make a juicy roasted turkey using fresh herbs and other aromatics, perfect for the holiday table.

Fall is the time of year when roast turkey makes it’s way to the table. Over time, we’ve come up with a few ways to make delicious and moist roast turkey for Thanksgiving.

Here is a recipe for a roast turkey made with fresh thyme, parsley, and rosemary, with sliced apple, oranges, celery, and onion placed in the cavity for aromatic flavor. This is a favorite way to prepare roast turkey recipe, in our opinion, when it comes to flavor and taste.

Herb roasted turkey is great to serve with classic holiday side dishes, like mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, green beans, and cranberry sauce.

Other side dishes, like rosemary roasted potatoes, honey roasted carrots, and spinach salad are also great to serve at Thanksgiving.

Whether you are planning a classic Thanksgiving meal with family or a Friendsgiving feast with friends, here are some tips on our favorite way to make juicy, tender, and delicious herb roast turkey.

What You’ll Need

Here are some of the tools and ingredients that you need to make a roast turkey.

  • Whole Turkey. A fresh turkey is best to use, but frozen turkey is sometimes easier to find in stores. Make sure that frozen turkey is properly and completely thawed before roasting it.
  • Fresh Herbs. Fresh herbs infuse the turkey with delicious flavor. Herbs like fresh thyme, parsley, and rosemary are great to use with turkey.
  • Aromatics. Aromatics like apple, oranges, celery, and onion give the turkey flavor and help to keep it moist as it bakes.
  • Roasting Pan with Rack. A roasting pan that is fitted with a rack helps the turkey to cook more evenly. You can collect the juices from the bottom of the pan to make homemade turkey gravy.
  • Meat Thermometer. An instant read meat thermometer is used to measure internal temperature to help to determine when meat and poultry are done.

How to Make Herb Roast Turkey

Here is how to make an herb roasted turkey, using apples, oranges, onion, celery, and fresh herbs. A printable recipe with an ingredients list and measurements is included below.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 12- to 14-lb. whole turkey in a large baking dish that has been fitted with a roasting rack.

Pat the turkey skin dry using paper towels. This helps the skin to crisp up as the turkey bakes.

Tip: Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling turkey.

Add butter, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.

Spread the butter and seasoning mixture over the turkey, lifting the skin to spread some of the mixture over the breast meat. This will help to season the turkey and keep it moist.

Tip: Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, meat thermometers, countertops, and other related surfaces with hot soapy water and / or disinfectant before and directly after preparing raw turkey and in between uses. Never place cooked food or other ingredients or foods on a surface that has held raw turkey before that surface has been cleaned and disinfected.

Place sliced apple, seeded orange halves, sliced onion, and sliced celery in the turkey cavity, along with a handful of fresh herbs. These aromatics will help to flavor the turkey and provide some moisture as it cooks. Next, pour chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan to help provide moisture as the turkey cooks.

Cover the turkey with a tent of aluminum foil. Bake the turkey for one and a half hours (1 ½ hours), and then carefully remove the foil.

Continue to bake the turkey until it is fully cooked, or until the internal temperature of the turkey measures 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh, using an instant read meat thermometer to read the temperature of the meat. The total baking time for the turkey should be about 3 hours to 3 and 1/2 hours, or about 15 minutes per pound.

Remove the roasted turkey from the oven. Cover the roasted turkey with a new sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the turkey to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Additional Turkey Tips

For additional tips on how to thaw and prepare turkey, see the USDA guidelines on how to thaw a turkey and the CDC guidelines on preparing a turkey for the holidays.

Herb Roast Turkey Recipe

Here is a recipe for delicious herb roasted turkey, stuffed with apples, oranges, celery, onion, and fresh herbs as aromatics. This is our favorite way to roast turkey, and it comes out moist and juicy for us every time.

Herb Roast Turkey

This herb roasted turkey is made with apples, oranges, celery, onion, and fresh herbs for a delicious flavor that is perfect for the holidays.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword holiday recipes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Sweet Bacon & Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 12- to 14-lb. fresh whole turkey neck, giblets, and organs removed
  • 3 Tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp each salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 medium apples cored and sliced
  • 2 small oranges halved and seeded
  • 1 medium sweet onion peeled and sliced
  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the turkey in a large baking dish fitted with a roasting rack. Pat the turkey skin dry using paper towels.
  • Add butter, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Spread the butter and seasoning mixture over the turkey, lifting the skin over the breast to season the meat.
  • Place sliced apples, oranges, onion, and celery in the turkey cavity, along with the fresh herbs. Pour chicken stock into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Cover turkey with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Carefully uncover, and then continue to bake until the turkey is fully cooked, about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours longer. The internal temperature of the turkey should measure 165 degrees Fahrenheit (in the breast) and 175 degrees Fahrenheit (in the thigh) on an instant read meat thermometer.
  • Remove the roast turkey from the oven. Cover the turkey with a new, unsued sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the turkey to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving the turkey to serve.

Notes

 
Total baking time for the turkey should average about 3 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes, or about 15 minutes per pound.
Whole turkey should generally be baked until the internal temperature of the turkey measures at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh using an instant read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone.
If making a turkey with stuffing, make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A stuffed turkey may need longer time to cook.
Remove neck, giblets, and other organs (these are sometimes already removed and placed in a separate bag in store bought turkeys) from the turkey before cooking. These should be discarded, or they can be used to make homemade gravy.
Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling turkey.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, meat thermometers, countertops, and other related surfaces with hot soapy water and / or disinfectant before and directly after preparing raw turkey and in between uses. Never place cooked food or other ingredients, foods, tools, or utensils on a surface that has held raw turkey before that surface has been cleaned and disinfected.

This post was all about how to make juicy roasted turkey, using herbs and aromatics for delicious holiday recipe flavor.

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Credits
  • Featured title image by Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash
  • Photos and images are for illustrative purposes only.

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