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Lemon and thyme roasted turkey recipe

Lemon and thyme roasted turkey

Easy recipe for lemon and thyme roasted turkey, baked with a thyme lemon garlic butter, and served with white wine gravy sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Keyword Lemon herb butter turkey, Roasted turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings


For the thyme lemon garlic butter:

  • 3 sticks butter room temperature
  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme stems removed + additional sprigs to place inside and for garnishing
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 10 garlic cloves crushed

For the thyme roasted turkey:

  • 18-20 lb. turkey + neck heart and gizzard for gravy sauce (Can use a smaller turkey, just adjust the baking time as needed)
  • 1 lemon cut in slices
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the white wine gravy sauce:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix the butter, thyme leaves, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed garlic, and salt to taste. This can be made ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature to soften it before using.
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey, and pat it dry (inside and out).
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
  • Rub the butter inside turkey cavities. Use your hand to gently lift the skin on the turkey breasts, and then stuff it with the thyme lemon garlic butter.
  • Place the additional thyme sprigs and lemon slices inside the turkey cavity.
  • Rub the turkey skin with olive oil and salt, tuck the wings underneath the turkey and tie the drumsticks together using cooking twine. Put the turkey in a large baking pan on a roasting rack.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and bake at 325 temp for 2 ½ hours.
  • Check the turkey and cover the browned parts of the turkey with foil. If making gravy, add the giblets to the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours more, check the turkey temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the thigh– the minimum internal temperature should be 165 F. Keep in mind that the turkey will continue to cook even when you remove it from the oven and the internal temp can rise up to 10 degrees, so if you want the turkey meat to be perfectly done, then you should remove it from the oven at around 155 F -160 F.
  • Once you have removed the turkey from the oven, tilt the turkey so that the inside juices drain into the pan.
  • To make the gravy, remove the rack and the turkey from the pan. Pour the white wine into the pan and put it back into the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven, discard the giblets and any herbs that might have fallen into the pan, pour the sauce into a small sauce pan, and cook over medium high heat until the sauce thickens and reduces, about 20 minutes.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with your favorite side dishes.


If desired you can also add assorted vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc) to the roasting pan – simply drizzle and rub them with olive oil, salt and thyme before adding them to the pan. Smaller vegetables or cut in half/quarters work better since the turkey is slow roasted.