Roast Turkey with Mega Herb Butter & Make-Ahead Gravy

An array of fragrant fresh herbs and a healthy amount of butter infuse a mega dose of flavor into this centerpiece dish. If you like, you can skip making the turkey stock for the gravy (Step 2) — just substitute an additional 1½ cups of store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey broth.

Photo: Photo by Ronald Tsang

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Prep Time
60 min
325 min



  • 2 tbsp each fresh basil, oregano and sage
  • 1 tbsp each fresh rosemary and thyme
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) organic unsalted butter, room temperature (TRY: Horizon Organic Unsalted Butter)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 10- to 12-lb turkey, thawed, neck and giblets reserved for gravy (discard liver)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, or as needed


  • 1 yellow onion, halved through root
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) organic unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp white whole-wheat flour low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, as needed
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


1. Up to 2 days in advance: Prepare turkey: In a food processor, pulse basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest to coarsely chop. Add butter, pepper and salt and pulse to combine. Place turkey on a work surface, gently slip your fingers under skin and work in herb mixture evenly over meat. Spray a non-corrosive roasting rack and roasting pan with cooking spray. Arrange rack in pan and arrange turkey, breast side up, on rack. Tie legs together (if they aren’t already) and tuck in wings. Add about 1 cup broth to pan, cover loosely and set aside in the refrigerator.

2. Up to 2 days in advance: Prepare gravy: In a medium saucepan, combine neck and giblets, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and 6 cups cold water. Bring to a gentle boil on low, skimming any foam. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain mixture into a container and set aside (you should have about 1½ cups; if desired, skip this step and add 1½ cups store-bought broth to the following step).

3. In a medium saucepan on medium, melt ¼ cup butter. Add flour all at once, whisking until it comes together. Continue to cook and whisk until mixture is medium-brown, 1½ to 2 minutes. Slowly add strained homemade broth, whisking constantly. If necessary, add additional broth until desired consistency is reached. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a container (or leave it in the saucepan), cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

4. On the day of: Set turkey aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F.

5. Loosely cover turkey with foil and roast for 1 hour. Remove foil and baste turkey with pan juices. Continue roasting uncovered, basting every 20 to 30 minutes, until an internal thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh and breast without touching bone reads 165°F, 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ hours total cooking time. (If pan gets dry, add more broth or water to maintain 1/8 to ¼ inch liquid. If any part of turkey gets too brown, cover it loosely with foil.) Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan on medium, bring gravy to a gentle boil. Season with salt, ground pepper and roasting pan drippings to taste.

7. Remove skin and carve turkey. Serve gravy on the side.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 4 oz turkey and 2 1/2 tbsp gravy
  • Calories 274
  • Carbohydrate Content 3 g
  • Cholesterol Content 137 mg
  • Fat Content 13 g
  • Fiber Content 1 g
  • Protein Content 34 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 6 g
  • Sodium Content 280 mg
  • Sugar Content 0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 2 g

Trending on Clean Eating