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Roast Turkey in a roasting pan | cafedelites.com
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5 from 21 votes

Garlic Herb Butter Roast Turkey

How to cook a perfect Roast Turkey without brining this holiday season! Moist and succulent turkey slathered with a garlic herb butter then oven roasted to get the most perfect, juicy meat and golden brown skin!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dinner, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American
Keyword: roast turkey
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 703kcal
Author: Karina


Roast Turkey:

  • 12 pound (6 kg) whole turkey, skin on (fully defrosted, washed, giblets and neck removed)
  • 3 heads garlic cut in half horizontally divided
  • 3 slices lemon divided
  • 6 sprigs thyme divided
  • 6 sprigs rosemary divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil divided

Herb Butter:

  • 4 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Cracked Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425°F | 220°C for standard ovens, or 390°F | 200°C for fan forced. Lower oven shelf to the lowest part of your oven.
  • Combine the Herb Butter ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Reserve half of the herb butter in the refrigerator for later.
  • Line a large roasting pan with foil or parchment paper. Arrange the 4 halves of garlic cut-side down on the bottom of the pan with 4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary, half of the olive oil and 1 slice of lemon.
  • Thoroughly pat turkey dry with paper towels. Stuff with the remaining heads garlic halves, lemon slice, a squeeze of lemon from remaining slice, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  • Melt the butter and rub all over the turkey, including under the skin. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. Place turkey on top of the garlic and herbs in the pan BREAST-SIDE DOWN. Drizzle with the remaining oil.
  • Roast uncovered for 30 minutes for a small turkey under 13 pounds (6 1/2 kg), or 45 minutes for a larger turkey over 14 pounds (7 kg plus).
  • Turn turkey over (breast-side up) with a pair of tongs, a clean tea towel or oven mits (heat-proof gloves) and baste with pan juices.
  • Spread half of the reserved herb butter over the top of your turkey with a spoon or brush (be careful, the turkey will be hot and the butter will melt nicely over the skin). Pour any remaining juices over your turkey.
  • Reduce heat to 325°F |165°C (for standard ovens), or 300°F | 150°C (fan-forced). Roast, uncovered, for an hour.
  • Slather turkey generously with remaining butter and roast for 30 minutes. Baste again, then continue roasting for a further 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of your bird. *Tent loosely with foil if starting to brown too fast.*
    (For an extra large turkey, you may need an additional half hour to an hour.)
  • For extra crispy skin, broil (or grill) in the last 5-10 minutes, keeping your eye on it so it doesn't burn, until the skin is crispy and golden browned all over.
  • Tent turkey with foil and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.
  • Remove 2 1/2 cups of the liquid from the pan juices (top up with stock if you need too), strain and reserve for your gravy. 


For an extra large turkey, you may need an additional hour. I recommend using a meat thermometer to read the internal temperature and make your life easier.
Generally, turkey needs to cook 13-15 minutes per pound. 
Use a meat thermometer inserted between the breast and leg. It should read 165°F | 75°C. This is the USDA recommended internal cooked temperature of turkey. 
If you don't have a meat thermometer, pierce the breast meat with a knife. The turkey juices should run clear, not pink.
(Note that the turkey will continue cooking once it's been taken out of the oven from the heat inside the bird.)
8-12 pound (4-6 kg) turkey for 6-8 people
12-16 pound (6-8 kg) turkey for 10-12 people
16-18 pound (8-9 kg) turkey for 14-16 people
18-22 pound (9-11 kg) turkey for 20-22 people
What sides go with turkey?
Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
Roast potatoes
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Sweet potato Casserole
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Spinach
Cranberry Sauce
Brussels Sprouts


Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 92g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 378mg | Sodium: 444mg | Potassium: 938mg | Vitamin A: 670IU | Vitamin C: 6.6mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 4.6mg