Herb Roasted Turkey

I had all intentions on getting my herb roasted turkey recipe onto my blog before Thanksgiving. However, life got extremely busy and we were not home for the holiday this year, so I apologize for the delay in getting this easy fail proof recipe out to you lovely folks. I guess if you make a bird for Christmas (some do) then here you go! 

I know everyone has their favorite ways to cook the bird. Some risk their lives and the vitality of their home by frying it. Even though I know this is probably delicious, I just can’t fathom doing this to a lean and low calorie meat! Or maybe I am just a chicken about getting in front of so much hot grease! Either way I am not a fan of frying the turkey.

Outside of frying, the other alternative is roasting it in the oven. This by far is my preferred method, but then again the preparation of the turkey can be very different. My brother-in-law swears by brining the turkey over night so it stays moist (his turkey is great by the way). I am personally too lazy to go through that much preparation and don’t think it is necessary to get a tasty turkey. Instead I like to create an herb, lemon and olive oil mixture that is spread under the skin of the turkey breasts/legs and then I stuff the inside of the bird with lemon, apple and celery. It is easy and I have been told by several people who do not like turkey (mind you) that my turkey is wonderful.

Now, here we are on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I asked Luke if he wanted to make our turkey and he said he was game. My response was, “Great, I am game too”. Then I asked the little dude if he was game, there was a slight delay and then a solid, “Nope!” Oh man did Luke and I burst out laughing! Goodness, is hearing a two year say “nope” with so much clarity a HOOT! Oh and I really wanted to take a picture of the turkey after it came out of the oven, but my hubby carved it before I had a chance too. Oops! So, all you get is the carved version over some arugula. 

I also want to mention that yesterday we also went on a REAL choo, choo train ride with Grandpa Byron (my biological father), Grandma Denise (my step mom), Uncle Cody (my brother), and my brother’s wife (Kandi). Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in the train before we went out on a ride, so Mason was able to, completely against his will, sit on Mrs. Claus’ lap. He refused to sit on Santa’s! LOL. 


I think his face says it all! “Who are these two strangers and why are you making me sit on their laps!” Despite this he had a very fun time riding in the caboose and playing with the choo, choo train sets. 

Herb Roasted Turkey
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
  1. 12-15 lb. Free-range Turkey
  2. 3/4 C Olive Oil
  3. 3 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  4. 2 tbsp Fresh Sage, finely chopped
  5. 2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
  6. 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, finely chopped
  7. 2 tsp Sea Salt
  8. 2 tsp Ground Peppercorns
  9. 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  10. 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  11. 1 Lemon, quartered
  12. 1 Apple, quartered
  13. 2 Celery Stalks, cut in large pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Rub 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of the ground peppercorns inside the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the cut up apples, lemons and celery. This will help retain moisture and will infuse the turkey with these great flavors.
  3. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Gently lift up the skin of the turkey breast and legs. Brush the lemon herb mixture under the skin. Brush the remaining mixture over the surface of the breast and legs.
  4. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Cover with the roasting pan lid or tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the turkey in the oven for 10-15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the turkey legs reach 165 degrees. It usually takes a free range 12-14 pound turkey roughly 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook completely (non-free range turkeys take an extra 20-30 minutes longer to cook).
  5. Make sure to baste the turkey with the turkey juices every thirty minutes. Also, after 2 hours 15 minutes of roasting, remove the lid and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes to brown the turkey.
  6. Remove from the oven, place the lid back on the roasting pan and allow the turkey to set for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  1. If using frozen turkey, make sure the turkey is completely defrosted. This can be done by letting the turkey defrost in the sink for at least 24 hours or by submerging the turkey in a warm water bath for 3-4 hours. For the warm water bath, you will want to keep draining the water and filling it up with warm water every hour to speed up the defrosting process.
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