Looking for a dependable, traditional Thanksgiving turkey recipe? Look no further! Our signature roasted turkey recipe uses butter and fresh herbs to make a juicy, flavorful turkey with crispy skin.
The science behind it is simple. Putting herb butter under the skin allows for lots of moisture and flavor in the meat. Salting the skin and basting with buttery broth helps the skin crisp up.
We don’t use stuffing, so the turkey will cook faster and more evenly. We do add aromatics, like onions and herbs, in the cavity for additional moisture and flavor. We also don’t brine our turkey. We love using the drippings for gravy, and brine makes the drippings too salty. And frankly, this recipe doesn’t need it!
Butter Herb Turkey
(Original recipe: Tom Colicchio)
1 C butter, room temperature, divided
2 tsp minced fresh thyme plus 15 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tsp minced fresh tarragon plus 5 large fresh tarragon sprigs
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tsp minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs
1 14- to 16-pound turkey
4 C chicken broth, divided
Set an oven rack at lowest position and preheat it to 425°F.
Mix 1/2 cup butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season the herb butter with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at the neck end, slide your hand between the skin and breast meat to loosen the skin. Rub 4 tablespoons of herb butter over the breast meat under the skin.
Place the turkey on a rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle the main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons of plain butter and all the fresh herb sprigs inside the main cavity. Tuck the wing tips underneath the bird. Tie the legs together loosely. Rub remaining herb butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey generously with salt and pepper.
Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup of broth over the turkey, and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to roasting pan. Roast the turkey for 30 more minutes and repeat: baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan.
Cover the turkey loosely with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting with pan juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes. This should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes longer.
Transfer the turkey to platter; let it rest for 30 minutes before carving it (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
Use the pan juices to make your gravy before serving.