Yield: 15 servings

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes

This Easy Thanksgiving Turkey recipe takes the guess work out of cooking your holiday bird. Seasoned with a simple herb butter, this turkey roasts to golden brown flavorful perfection--no basting required!


  • 15 pound turkey**
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges

For the Herb Butter

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus additional for seasoning the outside of the turkey)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (plus additional for seasoning the outside of the turkey)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • ½ Tablespoon dried rosemary
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ Tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried/rubbed sage


    1. Thaw turkey according to the package. Remove neck and giblets from inside the turkey (we dispose of this, but feel free to keep and use as you like). Dry the inside and outside of the turkey.
    2. Preheat oven to 350℉. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack, in a 2” deep open roasting pan.
    3. Stuff turkey with onion, lemon, orange, apple and fresh herbs, if desired. Tuck wings by extending them and putting them under the turkey.
    4. Loosen the skin from the turkey breast and legs by sliding your fingers under the skin, starting by the neck, being careful not to tear it.  
    5. In a small bowl, combine 5 Tablespoons of softened butter and salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and sage.  Lift the skin and rub the herb butter under the skin, covering the breast and legs.
    6. Spread the remaining 3 Tablespoons of softened butter over the skin of the turkey.  Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
    7. Bake for 13-15 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer reads 180℉ in the thickest part of the leg.


  • What size turkey do you need to buy? Plan on approximately 1- 1.5 pounds of turkey per per person. This allows plenty for dinner, and leftovers!
  • The herb butter and fruit and vegetables are enough for a 12-20 pound bird. Adjust as needed.
  • These spices are DRIED not GROUND. There is a difference. However, if you only have ground on hand instead, the equivalent is roughly half of the amount.
  • Turkey Thawing: Be sure to let your turkey completely thaw before cooking. The best way is to loosen the wrapping and place the turkey, BREAST SIDE UP, on a baking sheet with sides, then thaw in the refrigerator. A frozen turkey needs 24 hours thawing time for every four pounds of turkey.
  • No basting required in this recipe - The herb butter rub eliminates the need to continuously open the oven door and cover the turkey with juices. The advantage of the no-basting method is that the oven temp remains consistent so that the turkey cooks faster and you are less likely to have a dry turkey because of extended cooking time. 
  • Don’t stuff the turkey with stuffing. The stuffing needs to register a temperature of atleast 165℉, which can result in an overdone turkey. Save the inside of the turkey for citrus wedges, onion and fresh herbs to help season the drippings for the gravy.  The stuffing will be much better made in a casserole dish.
  • How do you know if it’s done? The turkey will register a temperature of 180℉  in the thickest part of the thigh.  Butterball recommends a breast  temperature of 170℉.
  • If your turkey is browning too quickly, you can create a foil tent and cover the turkey for the remaining cooking time. For the turkey used in this recipe, we covered it with a foil tent about ⅔rds of the way through cooking time.
  • Why do you rest the turkey and how long should it rest? Rest the turkey for 30- 45 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier turkey when carved. Move the turkey to a carving board and tent with foil. This also allows time for making gravy or heating side dishes. However, once the turkey temp drops below 140℉, there is a risk for food-borne illness. It’s best to serve your turkey in under 2 hours from removing it from the oven.
  • Leftover Storage: Cooked turkey that is properly refrigerated should be used within 3 or 4 days. If this is not possible, the leftover turkey may be tightly wrapped in freezer paper or aluminum foil and placed in the freezer where it may be kept for 3 to 4 months.
  • Reheating: Place turkey in a single layer in a baking dish or pan. Cover with chicken or vegetable broth.  Reheat in a 325℉ oven until turkey temperature reaches 165℉.  Serve immediately.
  • Save the pan drippings- the drippings make the best turkey gravy, flavored from all the herbs and fruit!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 930Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 511mgSodium: 554mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 130g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

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