clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a side view of the roasted turkey on a platter

Herb Roasted Turkey

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 15 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 16 hours
  • Yield: 5 pounds turkey + 2 1/3 cup gravy 1x


If you are looking for a foolproof recipe for making Roasted Turkey this Thanksgiving, I have the best recipe for you! I will walk you through every step of the process, from how long it takes to thaw the turkey, how to brine it, and most importantly how to roast it. Plus I’ll even share my top tips for making lump-free herb gravy.


Units Scale
  • 1 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt or 3/4 cup Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 1 5 pound bag ice (16 cups)
  • 1 14 to 16-pound turkey, preferably locally raised, giblets and neck reserved
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 3 chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3 chunks
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage, plus 4 whole sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme, plus 4 whole sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, plus 2 whole sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
  • 4 tablespoons very soft unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  1. Brine Turkey: (If not brining, skip to step 3.) Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt and stir until dissolved. Pour into a medium cooler, 5 gallon bucket or large stock pot large enough to fit the turkey and brine. Add 1 gallon cold water and ice and stir to chill. Add the turkey (set the giblets aside) and cover the cooler tightly. Keep coller in a cool place or keep stock pot or bucket in the refrigerator for 10 to 16 hours.
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine: After 16 hours remove the turkey from the brine so that it doesn’t get too salty. Discard brine and rinse the turkey with cold water. Let drain.
  3. Dry Turkey: If you are not planning to cook the turkey now, keep it refrigerated, uncovered. Leaving it uncovered will dry out the skin which will help it become crispy as it roasts. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator to start to bring to room temperature for about 40 minutes. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
  4. Preheat Oven: Position oven rack in bottom-most position of the oven to accommodate the turkey. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Make Garlic Herb Mixture: Mix garlic in a small dish with sage, thyme, rosemary and ground pepper. If using an un-brined turkey, add 1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt. Reserve one tablespoon garlic herb mixture for the gravy.
  6. Prepare Turkey For Roasting: Rub the turkey all over and inside the cavity with the garlic herb mixture. Add the whole sage, thyme and rosemary sprigs to the cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under. Place turkey in a large heavy roasting pan, preferably fitted with a roasting rack.
  7. Roast The Turkey: Transfer the turkey to the oven and roast undisturbed until light golden brown, and juices are dripping into the pan, about 1 hour.
  8. Lower the temperature and continue roasting: Rotate the roasting pan so that the legs face the opposite direction in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Pour two cups water into the pan. Continue roasting, checking the liquid in the pan every once in a while. Roast until the thermometer registers 165 degrees and skin is golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes.
  9. Take Temperature: Double check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer in several spots and use the lowest temperature as your guide. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and tent with foil to keep warm. Let turkey rest 30 to 60 minutes before carving.
  10. Meanwhile Make giblet stock: When the turkey is roasting, combine giblets and turkey neck (discard liver), 6 cups cold water, celery, carrots, onions, peppercorns and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low and gently simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain and discard solids. You should have two or so cups stock. If you have slightly less, you can add a little water to it to make up the difference.
  11. Prep Gravy: Mash the butter and flour together in a small dish until creamy and completely combined. Remove the rack from the pan. Skim the fat (or use fat separator) from the pan drippings. Add the defatted drippings to the pan along with reserved 1 tablespoon garlic herb mixture and set it over two burners on medium low. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  12. Thicken The Gravy: Add 2 cups turkey giblet stock to the pan, and continue whisking until the browned bits are all incorporated into the liquid. Bring to a simmer. Gradually whisk the butter flour mixture into the simmering liquid, whisking constantly. Simmer, whisking often until the gravy is thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain gravy, if desired, through a fine mesh sieve and transfer to a gravy boat.
  13. Carve The Turkey: Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.


Note About Purchasing Turkey

If you want to brine your turkey, look for a turkey that doesn’t contain any sodium. If you want to enjoy the flavors of a brined turkey, but don’t have the time or space to do so yourself, look for a kosher turkey, which are already treated with salt.

This recipe works for a 15 to 16-pound turkey and yields about 5 pounds of meat, which is enough for about 10 people plus leftovers.

If you buy yours frozen, make sure to give yourself four or five days to thaw it in the refrigerator. Set it in a baking dish to catch any liquid that may seep out of the plastic packaging. Find more tips on how to thaw poultry safely here.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Roasting + Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 8 ounces turkey + 1/4 cup gravy
  • Calories: 295
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 38 g