Roast Turkey with Herb Butter

Makes 10 servings


  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh chopped rosemary, sage and thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole turkey, about 12 pounds, thawed if frozen, rinsed and patted dry, neck reserved (set aside the giblets)
  • Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries and Sausage – See accompanying Our Ohio recipe
  • 4-6 large carrots, halved crosswise
  • 2 large onions, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 stalks celery, halved crosswise


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position.

Make herb butter: in a small bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons butter with chopped herbs; season generously with salt and pepper.

Prepare and stuff the turkey: Loosen the 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. Place the turkey breast side down. Loosely fill neck cavity with stuffing, avoid packing. Close up by folding skin over and fastening with skewers.

Tuck wings: Turn turkey over; bend wing tips underneath bird so they stay in place. Loosely fill large cavity with stuffing.

Using cotton kitchen twine, tie legs together securely (they will overlap) so bird retains its shape during cooking

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. Lift turkey onto rack and 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 a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh (avoid bone) reads 125 degrees, approximately 3 hours.

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

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