November 17, 2022| By

Herb Roasted Turkey with Citrus Gravy

Prep Time: 2 d
Cook Time: 4 hrs 30 mins
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This delicious herb roasted turkey is a must for your thanksgiving table! It's juicy, moist, and so flavorful, your guests will want seconds and thirds! The turkey is covered in a roasted garlic compound butter and slow roasted in the oven for a super tender turkey that melts in your mouth. Top that with an easy citrus gravy made from pan drippings and roasted citrus fruit!


For more thanksgiving recipes, try my sourdough stuffing and pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust.

herb roasted turkey sliced on a serving plate with oranges and sage leaves.
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It's officially the holiday season and I could not be more excited to give you this herb roasted turkey recipe.

Let me break it down - the turkey is seasoned to perfection with a homemade herb dry rub then lathered with a delicious roasted garlic compound butter full of fresh herbs and lemon zest. The turkey is then stuffed with oranges, carrots, and celery and cooked in a roasted pan with white wine, lemons, fresh thyme and apples.

This is the best thanksgiving turkey recipe you'll ever make. And if you've never made a turkey before, this easy turkey recipe is for you.

Impress your guests with a super moist and flavorful turkey that everyone will be begging for - and that citrus gravy on top will make your tastebuds jump for joy! Your thanksgiving dinner is not complete without this turkey on the table!

What You'll Need

  • Roasting pan
  • Turkey Baster
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Butcher’s Twine
  • Cutting Board and Sharp Knives

Ingredients

  • Turkey dry rub: garlic powder, onion powder, dried sage, dried rosemary, dried tarragon, dried thyme, seasoned salt, celery salt, and smoked paprika.a

Compound butter

  • Garlic: you'll need 1-2 heads of garlic. If your garlic is smaller, use two heads of garlic. We're making a roasted garlic compound butter here!
  • Salted Butter: be sure to use room temperature butter so that it spreads nicely all over the turkey.
  • Herbs: fresh sage, fresh thyme sprigs, and fresh rosemary.
  • Lemon Zest: this ingredients is key and add a bright flavor to the turkey.

To stuff and roast the turkey

  • Veggies: Onions, celery, and carrots - half will go inside of the turkey cavity and the other half will go into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Orange: the orange will go inside of the turkey and cook down to add citrus flavor.
  • Apples: apples do not add sweetness, they actually add a nice subtle fruity and fragrant flavor when roasted with all of the herbs.
  • Liquids: White Wine and Chicken Broth are poured in the pan to add flavor to the pan drippings to make the gravy.

Gravy

  • Butter: I always use salted butter but feel free to use unsalted.
  • Flour: to thicken the gravy. You can also use cornstarch if you're gluten free.
  • Pan drippings: when the turkey is finished roasting, we're going to use the dripping in the bottom of the pan to form the gravy.
  • Lemon juice: to add brightness to this delicious citrus gravy.
  • Lemon zest: for an extra kick of citrus flavor.

Tips

a whole turkey on a serving tray garnished with citrus fruits and fresh herbs.
  • Make sure to tuck in the wings of the turkey to prevent them from burning in the oven.
  • Cook the turkey on the lower third of the oven to prevent the skin from burning.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to get a read on the internal temperature of the turkey. This is the best way to see if the turkey is finished cooking and preventing it from being overcooked and dry.

Thawing The Turkey

Always thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, it's the safest method to prevent foodborne illness/bacteria. As a rule of thumb, for every 4 lbs of turkey, you'll need one day. So if your frozen turkey is 12 lbs, you'll need three days in the refrigerator for it to thaw.

Pro tip: to thaw your turkey quickly, submerge it in ice water for 8 to 12 hours.

How to make Herb Roasted Turkey

If this is your first time preparing your thanksgiving turkey, fret not, here are step-by-step instructions for a foolproof turkey!

Prepare and Brine the Turkey

a turkey covered in dry brine seasonings.
  1. Place turkey on a work surface. Remove the giblets from the turkey and pat turkey dry with paper towels. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine seasonings - garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, celery salt, smoked paprika, and seasoned salt.
  3. Gently separate the skin from the meat by pressing your hand in between the two. Then add seasoning mixture and kosher salt and pepper to the interior of the turkey and underneath the skin. Then season the exterior of the turkey.
  4. Allow the turkey to sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours but up to two days.

Make the Roasted Garlic Compound Butter

  1. Remove turkey from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking so that the turkey can come to room temperature. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the top off of a head of garlic. Place head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the garlic in the aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the garlic is softened. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F after removing the roasted garlic.
  3. In a small bowl, add combine butter, fresh chopped herbs, lemon zest, and roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix together.
  4. Rub half of the herb butter underneath the skin of the turkey and the rest on top of the skin. Season with additional salt and pepper. 

Bake the Turkey

a turkey covered in compound butter.
  1. Stuff the turkey with sliced oranges, half of the onion, half of the carrots, sliced lemon, and half of the celery.
  2. Fold the wings of the turkey underneath the bird and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. 
  3. Place remaining carrots, celery, and onions, thyme, sliced lemons, and sliced apples, thyme sprigs on the bottom of the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the roasting rack on top and place the turkey onto the grates. Drizzle with olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper.
  5. Roast turkey on the lowest grate in the oven and cook at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. At the 30 minutes mark, pour white wine and chicken broth into the pan and cover the turkey with foil. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and continue to cook for about 4 hours.
  6. Remove the foil and baste with the pan juices. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees in the thigh and 155 on the breast side. If needed, continue to roast uncovered until the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh and 155 in the breast, about another 20-30 minutes. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 40 minutes.

Make the Citrus Gravy

  1. Make the gravy - mash the remaining vegetables and fruits in the pan and then strain the pan drippings into a bowl, removing the large chunks.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add all purpose flour. Whisk together until a thick paste forms and begins to brown - about 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the strained pan juices and continue to whisk until smooth. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Transfer turkey to a serving platter and carve. Place on your thanksgiving table and serve with the gravy.

What to eat with Turkey

herb roasted turkey sliced on a plate.

I have compiled a list of side dishes that go exceptionally well with turkey!

What to do with Leftover Turkey

Storage

You can store the turkey in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. I recommend carving the turkey and storing it as opposed to storing the whole bird. You can use the leftover bones and make turkey stock!

If you'd like to freeze your leftover turkey, for up to 6 weeks. When your ready to thaw, place turkey in the refrigerator and let it thaw completely. Then reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Leftover Turkey Recipes

If you'd like to use this delicious turkey to make other recipes, there are SO many options! Check out this article for 33 Easy Leftover Turkey Recipes!

More Thanksgiving Recipes

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

herb toasted turkey sliced on a serving plate.

Herb Roasted Turkey with Citrus Gravy

This Herb Roasted Turkey is juicy and full of flavor! Your thanksgiving table is not complete without this turkey!
Serving: 12
Prep Time: 2 d
Cook Time: 4 hrs 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time: 2 d 5 hrs 30 mins
Calories: 521kcal

Equipment

  • Roasting pan
  • Turkey Baster
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Butcher’s Twine
  • Cutting Board and Sharp Knives

Ingredients

Turkey and Dry Brine Seasoning

  • 12-14 lb Turkey
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt

Roasted Garlic Compound Butter

  • 1-2 Heads Garlic
  • 1 cup Salted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme (stems removed)
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary (diced)
  • 6 Sage Leaves (diced)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Zest

To Stuff and Roast the Turkey:

  • 2 Onions (sliced)
  • 5 Celery Stalks (cut into chunks)
  • 5 Carrots (cut into chunks)
  • 1 Orange (sliced)
  • 1 Honeycrisp Apple (sliced)
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme

Citrus Gravy

  • ½ cup Salted Butter
  • ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsps Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsps Lemon Juice
  • Remaining Pan Juices
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Directions

Prepare and Brine the Turkey

  • Place turkey on a work surface. Remove the giblets from the turkey and pat turkey dry with paper towels. 
  • In a small bowl, combine seasonings - garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, celery salt, smoked paprika, and seasoned salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat by pressing your hand in between the two. Then add seasoning mixture and kosher salt and pepper to the interior of the turkey and underneath the skin. Then season the exterior of the turkey.
  • Allow the turkey to sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours but up to two days.

Make the Roasted Garlic Compound Butter

  • Remove turkey from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking so that the turkey can come to room temperature. 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the top off of a head of garlic. Place head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the garlic in the aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the garlic is softened. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F after removing the roasted garlic.
  • In a small bowl, add combine butter, fresh chopped herbs, lemon zest, and roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. Mash and Mix together.
  • Rub half of the herb butter underneath the skin of the turkey and the rest on top of the skin. Season with additional salt and pepper. 

Bake the Turkey

  • Stuff the turkey with sliced oranges, half of the onion, half of the carrots, sliced lemon, and half of the celery.
  • Fold the wings of the turkey underneath the bird and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. 
  • Place remaining carrots, celery, and onions, thyme, sliced lemons, and sliced apples, thyme sprigs on the bottom of the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the roasting rack on top and place the turkey onto the grates. Drizzle with olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper.
  • Roast turkey on the lowest grate in the oven and cook at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. At the 30 minutes mark, pour white wine and chicken broth into the pan and cover the turkey with foil. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and continue to cook for about 4 hours.
  • Remove the foil and baste with the pan juices. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees in the thigh and 155 on the breast side.
  • If needed, continue to roast uncovered until the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh and 155 in the breast, about another 20-30 minutes.
  • Allow the turkey to rest for at least 40 minutes.

Make the Citrus Gravy

  • Make the gravy - mash the remaining vegetables and fruits in the pan and then strain the pan drippings into a bowl, removing the large chunks.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add all purpose flour. Whisk together until a thick paste forms and begins to brown - about 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the strained pan juices and continue to whisk until smooth. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer turkey to a serving platter and carve. Place on your thanksgiving table and serve with the gravy.

Notes

Thawing The Turkey
Always thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, it's the safest method to prevent foodborne illness/bacteria. As a rule of thumb, for every 4 lbs of turkey, you'll need one day. So if your frozen turkey is 12 lbs, you'll need three days in the refrigerator for it to thaw.
Pro tip: to thaw your turkey quickly, submerge it in ice water for 8 to 12 hours.
Tips
  • Make sure to tuck in the wings of the turkey to prevent them from burning in the oven.
  • Cook the turkey on the lower third of the oven to prevent the skin from burning.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to get a read on the internal temperature of the turkey. This is the best way to see if the turkey is finished cooking and preventing it from being overcooked and dry.
Storage
You can store the turkey in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. I recommend carving the turkey and storing it as opposed to storing the whole bird. You can use the leftover bones and make turkey stock!
If you'd like to freeze your leftover turkey, for up to 6 weeks. When your ready to thaw, place turkey in the refrigerator and let it thaw completely. Then reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 113IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Dinner, Holidays, Main Course, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    This is one of the most delicious turkeys I’ve ever enjoyed in my entire life. I was thoroughly overwhelmed by the flavors, the moistness and the sumptuousness from the seasonings, and how the ingredients created such a show piece of the Thanksgiving dinner! I gave this recipe five stars without hesitation, and have added it to my library of recipes.