Thanksgiving Turkey With Herb Butter Seasoning

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  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan


I may be in the minority with this, but I firmly believe that when it comes to the Thanksgiving turkey, simple and traditional is best. I’m not sure there’s much better than a hot, juicy turkey and crackling, crispy skin. It’s making me long for Thanksgiving dinner just thinking about it! This is a standard recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving-style whole turkey, coated in seasoned butter and roasted in the oven. It leaves space for you to play around with your own seasonings if you wish, but keeps the old school vibe alive. Plan on serving at least 1 ½ pounds turkey meat for each guest, and cook at about 15-18 minutes per pound. This can vary depending on your oven and anything you have stuffed inside the turkey; so try to keep your dinnertime a little fluid, if possible. Leaving some space for flexibility will make for a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday meal! This recipe calls for minced fresh herbs to be added to the butter wash; I recommend using fresh sage or thyme. It also calls for chicken stock and red wine to be added at the start as a jumpstart on making gravy from the drippings; this step can be skipped if you prefer.


  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 12 tablespoons your preferred spice (minced (see note))
  • 1 22 pound turkey (thawed if previously frozen, rinsed and patted dry)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350* and line your roasting pan with tin foil. Pour the chicken stock and wine in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Whisk together the butter, salt, pepper, and spice until the salt has dissolved.
  3. Place the turkey in the roasting pan and use a barbecue brush or spoon to completely smother the turkey, inside and out, with the butter mixture.
  4. Tent a large sheet of tin foil on top of the turkey to prevent the skin from drying out during roasting
  5. Place turkey in the oven and roast. Every 30 minutes or so, remove the tented foil and baste the entire turkey, then replace the foil.
  6. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, remove the tin foil tent and discard. Baste the turkey and continue to cook another 30 minutes. This last blast of heat on the bare turkey will brown the skin and crisp it up prior to service.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest another 20 minutes or so before carving. This helps the turkey stay juicy!