New This Month

Roast Turkey with Herb Butter


Getting a great-tasting Thanksgiving bird on the table is easier than you might think.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10
roast turkey with herb butter

Photography: David Loftus

Source: Everyday Food, November 2005


  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 whole turkey (about 12 pounds), thawed if frozen, rinsed and patted dry, neck reserved (set aside giblets for stuffing, if desired)
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, halved crosswise
  • 2 large onions, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 stalks celery, halved crosswise


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lowest position. Make herb butter: In a small bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons butter with chopped herbs; season generously with salt and pepper.

  2. Prepare and stuff the turkey. Loosen skin: Working from the neck end, slide fingers under skin until you reach the end of the breast, being careful not to tear the skin; rub herb butter under the skin. Fill neck cavity: Place turkey breast side down. Fill neck cavity with stuffing; avoid packing. Close up by folding skin over and fastening with skewers or trussing needles. Tuck wings: Turn turkey over; bend wing tips underneath bird so they stay in place (you may have to break the bones). Loosely fill large cavity with stuffing. Tie legs: Using cotton kitchen twine, tie legs together securely (they will overlap) so bird retains its shape and moisture during cooking.

  3. Cut neck into pieces; mix with carrots, onions, celery, and 2 cups water in a large roasting pan. Set roasting rack over vegetables in pan.

  4. Lift turkey onto rack; rub with remaining tablespoon butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Tent turkey loosely with foil. Roast 1 hour, then baste every 30 minutes with pan liquids, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) registers 125 degrees, about 3 hours.

  5. Remove foil; raise oven heat to 400 degrees. Continue roasting, basting occasionally, until thigh reaches 180 degrees, 45 to 60 minutes more. Tent with foil if bird browns too quickly; add more water if pan becomes dry. Transfer turkey to a serving platter; cover loosely with foil, and let it rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

Cook's Notes

The herb butter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before using.

Reviews Add a comment

  • scrapbookingmom2
    1 DEC, 2013
    The turkey was good but with all the butter, I felt like it was sitting in grease. Next time I will not use all of the butter that it called for. As for the stuffing, it was Fabulous!! My husband thought it was a little too sweet though. So, next time, instead of buying the prepared cornbread in the bakery, which tends to be sweeter, I will make my own. That being said, the stuffing was my favorite part of the meal!
  • Maria Q
    28 NOV, 2013
    Great stuffing its not dry is just perfect and very quick to do. Thanks.
  • Tdm22
    24 NOV, 2013
    Hi, has anyone tried this recipe with a different stuffing? Thoughts on switching to an apple herb stuffing?
  • Canbisister
    27 NOV, 2009
    this receipe totally saved my thanksgiving! Thank you sooo much :)
  • nyrja
    9 JAN, 2009
    This was my first attempt to cook Thanksgiving Turkey ever! It came out really tasty and moist. Nevertheless, I must confess I went a bit overboard with the herbs and I think the rosemary was a bit overpowering. I will adjust for the next time.
  • GailAnn
    20 NOV, 2008
    I am looking for the dry brine salt rub recipe Martha did on her show this past Wednesday. My frig is not big enough for a 5 gallon bucket for the traditional brine, and this was a fantastic alternative. Thanks.
  • sgarcia1
    19 NOV, 2008
    elzpine type PERFECT ROAST TURKEY in the search. I believe the recipe you are looking for is the fourth one down the list. Its from the issue Martha Stewart Living | November 1995. I have used this recipe for years and its the best.
  • elzpine
    18 NOV, 2008
    I am looking for the turkey recipe where Martha covered the turkey in cheesecloth Thanks
  • mmsrjs
    24 NOV, 2007
    hi foxfire: go to the top of page to Martha's Search engine and type in "Rich Gravy" hit enter and sit back and wait. the recipe you are looking for should be the first one at the top of the list. It looks good.
  • BoogieLove
    15 NOV, 2007
    I saw Martha make this turkey years ago. I made it for my first Thanksgiving and have made it every year since. It's great. The turkey is so moist!