Celebrate the holidays with this easy herb roasted turkey. I love roasting a turkey with this method because it comes out juicy and flavorful. Nothing really says happy holidays than a nice golden brown roasted turkey served in a beautiful platter.
The best tip I could give to avoid spending time cooking all day is to chop and prepare all the ingredients a day before the holiday. Then keep vegetables and herbs wrapped in the refrigerator. This applies to all side dishes too. It also helps to make the desserts one day before and keep them in the fridge. This way, you can spend more time making memories with your loved ones.
For this roasted turkey recipe, I picked a 15-lb. turkey to serve 8-10 people. You can use fresh or frozen turkey. Just make sure it is completely thawed if you are using previously frozen turkey. The giblets serve as flavor base for the stock in the gravy. You’ll get a flavorful stock when you simmer it with onions, celery, carrots, thyme and parsley.
I also add flavoring inside the cavity of the turkey like lemon slices, garlic, onion, celery and fresh sage, thyme and parsley. As the turkey slowly roasts, the juices from these flavorings penetrates the turkey meat. And the house smells so good! The result is a tender, juicy and flavorful roasted turkey.
Don’t forget that the very popular turkey breast part also needs flavoring. So butter, dried Italian herbs and lemon slices gives that super-delicious flavor to the turkey breast and makes it moist. What a difference it makes!
Once the turkey is cooked, you can serve it in a large platter. It’s all about presentation. Garnish it with seasonal clementine halves and some of the same fresh herb sprigs we used in roasting the turkey. Don’t forget to add the multi-colored carrots from the roasting.
Once you try this herb roasted turkey recipe, it will be a show-stopper on your holiday table. If you are looking for side dishes, try my easy sautéed green beans with garlic, roasted vegetables, or roasted asparagus recipe here. Happy Holidays!
Herb Roasted Turkey for the Holidays
For the turkey
- 1 15 lb. whole turkey fresh or thawed
- 2 large onion chopped divided
- 1 lemon sliced seeds removed
- Italian dried seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 fresh parsley sprigs
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh sage leaves sprigs
- 4 multi-colored carrots chopped about 1 1/2 inches length on the bias
- 3 celery stalk chopped divided
- olive oil for brushing
- 2 Tbsp butter
For the stock
- giblets from the turkey
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- ¼ tsp salt
For the gravy
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- stock and drippings
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 clementines halved
- 3 sprigs each of thyme, parsley and sage
- Preheat oven to 450ºF. Remove giblets from inside of turkey and set aside. Wash turkey well with running water inside and out. Dry turkey inside and out with paper towels and transfer into a large cookie sheet.
- Wash the giblets well. In a small pot add the giblets, 1/2 chopped onions, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery, 2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 10 whole peppercorns, and 1/4 tsp salt. Add water just enough to cover everything. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat. When it starts to boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 1 hr. Skim any scum on top and discard.
- Meanwhile, spread the rest of chopped onions, carrots, and celery on the roasting pan. Transfer turkey on top of vegetables on the roasting pan. Stuff the turkey with 1/2 chopped onion, 1 chopped celery, 2 sage leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs parsley, 2 smashed garlic cloves. 3 slices of lemon, 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper. Insert 2 fingers under the skin on each breast section while pushing in gently. This will create a pocket. Inside this pocket insert 1 tbsp butter, 1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning, and 1 slice of lemon. Push it in gently until it reaches the center of the breast. Pull breast skin back down. Repeat this process for the other side of the breast. Brush olive oil all over the turkey. Season it generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle dried Italian seasoning all over the turkey. Tuck wing tips under the shoulder of the turkey. Truss the turkey by tying the end of the drumsticks on top of each other with a cooking twine. Tie with a knot twice. Cut off extra twine, leaving 1/2 inch.
- Roast turkey in the preheated oven at 450ºF for 25 mins. Then lower the temperature to 350ºF and continue roasting for about 2 1/2 hrs. At the last hour, start basting the turkey with its juices every 20 mins. Check the temperature of the turkey with a meat thermometer. Insert it in the thick part of the breast without touching the bone. It should read 165 when it's cooked. If not, cook it for 5-10 mins. longer. Take out turkey and let it rest in a big platter. Cover the top loosely with foil.
- Make the gravy: Reserve the carrots from roasting and add it to the serving platter. Strain the drippings and put all the juices in a bowl. Place roasting pan on the stove at medium heat. Add in 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour. Whisk it together for 3 mins. just to cook the flour. Strain the stock from the giblets and it into the pan. Add the strained juices back into the roasting pan. Whisk it until smooth. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed with salt and pepper. Turn off heat. Gravy will get thicker as it cools down.
- At serving time time, cut off string from the drumsticks of the turkey. Add the carrots from the roasting onto the platter. Garnish with clementine halves and fresh sprigs of thyme, sage and parsley. Carve the turkey and serve with warm gravy.