There are many ways to make roasted turkey, but there is only one way we love it in our family. We inject the turkey with garlic and herb-infused butter and rub it with a garlic, herb, salt, and pepper mix. My daughter, who usually doesn't even like turkey, loves this one. The meat is buttery, tender, and super flavorful, and the crust is crispy and insanely delicious. If you want to surprise your friends and family, make this turkey for your holiday dinner. It will transform your Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.
Everyone knows that if you want a really juicy turkey, you need to soak it in brine for a day or two. My herb and garlic-infused butter injection method produces an even tastier, more flavorful turkey meat that is just as juicy without the lengthy brining. Just look at the cross-cut of the turkey breast done this way; it's mind-blowing. It's exceptionally juicy, extra tender, and flavored inside out.
Preparing the infused butter and injecting the bird meat will take only half an hour. Who has the time to brine for days? I am not doing it. Forget about it!
I've been using this method for many years. It's the only way to cook a turkey, especially the turkey breast meat. If you don't want to cook a whole turkey, roast a turkey breast. I posted a recipe for oven-roasted turkey breast using this method many years ago; it's a must-try!
Garlic and herb butter
As I mentioned above, this is what makes this roasted turkey so awesome. Making infused garlic and herb butter is quick and easy; mix some herbs, pepper, and salt with melted butter and let it infuse for 5 minutes. Just make sure to use fresh herbs. Dried herbs have little flavor left in them! Only fresh!
My absolute favorite herbs are sage and rosemary. They are so aromatic! I also add parsley. I like it a lot too.
My method for making oven-roasted turkey
It's very, very easy.
Strain the infused butter and fill a meat injector with it.
Inject the turkey with the flavored butter. I inject mostly the breast meat but also do a few injections in the thighs and drumsticks. Make sure to cover the turkey with a piece of plastic to prevent the butter from squirting out of holes and making a mess in your kitchen.
Rub the garlic and herb mix left after straining the butter all over the turkey. This will create a wonderfully crispy and delicious crust. Alternatively, you can stuff the garlic and herb mixture under the skin. You can see a very effective and neat technique that I use for that in my Rotisserie Turkey YouTube video.
Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan.
Roast the turkey at 450F for 10-15 minutes to get the crust crisping going, then drop the temperature to 325F and continue cooking until the temperature in the thickest part of the turkey breast registers 165F.
Alternatively, if you want the garlic and herb crust to be less crispy, roast at 325F from start to finish. If you want it even crisper, like in the picture below, roast it at 450F for 20 minutes, then drop to 325F.
Let the turkey rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve. Resting the meat is an important step. It allows the meat fibers to relax and re-absorb some of the lost moisture, making the meat juicier.
If you have a rotisserie grill, I highly recommend trying my rotisserie turkey. It's like this fantastic roasted turkey, only with crispier skin and smoky flavor. It's divine!
Roasted Turkey Injected with Garlic & Herb-Infused Butter
- 1 whole turkey 12-14 lbs
- 2 Tbsp unsalted melted butter
- 1 tsp salt
Garlic and herb butter
- 16 garlic cloves pressed
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary
- 2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped sage
- 2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped parsley
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper finely ground
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, salt, garlic, and chopped herbs. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until the butter fully melts. Remove the bowl from the microwave oven, stir well, and set aside for 5 minutes to let the butter infuse with the garlic and herb flavors.
- Return the bowl to the microwave oven and cook the mixture on high for another 30 seconds to ensure the butter is fully liquefied.
- Strain the butter mixture through a fine sieve. Reserve the garlic and the herbs.
- Place the turkey in a roasting pan, breast side up. Cover with a plastic wrap to prevent the butter from accidentally squirting out and making a mess. Fill the kitchen meat injector with the strained butter and inject the turkey breasts all over, in a diamond pattern, releasing about 1/4 - 1/3 of an ounce at a time. Reserve some butter and inject it into the thighs and drumsticks.
- Rub the garlic and herb mixture and the butter from the bottom of the roasting pan all over the turkey and inside the cavity. Alternatively, you can stuff the garlic and herb mixture under the skin, similar to how I do it for my rotisserie turkey. You can see it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkGJUiQ6FzQ.
- Evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt all over the turkey and pat it down to make sure the salt sticks.
- If using a BBQ thermometer (highly recommended), insert the probe into the thickest part of the turkey breast and connect to the thermometer.
- Roast at 450F for 10-15 minutes to get some light browning going (see notes). Gently baste with some melted butter, then drop the temperature to 325F and roast for another 2 hours and 30 minutes or so, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 160F. Brush the top of the turkey with butter pan juices about an hour after dropping the temperature to 325F, and once more about 45 minutes later.
- Remove from the oven and let the turkey rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.