How to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey (with Herbs and Citrus)

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Today we’re talking all about How To Roast A Thanksgiving Turkey. If you’ve never done it before it may seem a little bit intimidating! But don’t worry we’ve got you covered on all you need to know. Our turkey and gravy recipes is full of citrus and herb flavor and will be a hit on this year’s Thanksgiving table.


  • 112 to 14 lb turkey,
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small bunch of sage 
  • 1 small bunch parsley 
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • ½ cup grass-fed butter, softened
  • 2 oranges, zested and sliced into 4 pieces each
  • 2 lemons, zested and sliced into 4 pieces each
  • 1 head garlic, sliced whole horizontally
  • 4 cups water
  • 23 cups turkey broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


The day/night before:

  1. Prepare the herbs by finely dicing 1 tablespoons of each sage and parsley and picking 1 tablespoon of thyme leaves. Set aside the remaining herbs.
  2. In a small bowl mash together softened butter, chopped sage and parsley and picked thyme leaves, zest of lemons and oranges and 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper and set aside.
  3. To prepare the bird: Remove the neck and the giblets from inside the turkey and discard or save for another use. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and using paper towels dry the skin. Gently run your fingers underneath the skin of the turkey breast to separate it as far back as you can, without breaking through the skin. Dry in between with a paper towel. Generously season the cavity of the bird with salt and pepper. 
  4. Rub half of citrus and herb butter underneath the skin of the turkey breast as far back as you can and rub the remaining all over the top of the bird. Season again the outside of the bird generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the cavity with the remaining lemon wedges, orange wedges, horizontally sliced garlic head and herbs as much as you can fit.
  6. Truss the turkey by tucking the wings underneath the turkey and tie together the legs with kitchen twine as tightly as you can.
  7. Transfer the turkey to the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or for a maximum of 24 hours

The day of:

  1. Take the turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to roast it.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 450ºF.
  3. Add 4 cups of water to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  4. Bake the turkey, uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to 325ºF and continue to bake. Bast the turkey occasionally and add any broth to make sure the liquid stays about 1/4″ high, if needed. Cover the top with aluminum foil if the turkey is browning too quickly.  Roast until the turkey is cooked through (with an instant-read thermometer registering 165ºF in the thickest part of the turkey), for about  2-1/2 to 3 hours total. (see note)
  6. Once done, let the turkey rest for a least an hour.

To make the gravy:

  1. When cool enough to handle tip any juices from the cavity of the bird into the roasting pan and set bird aside on a cutting board to cool, tented with foil. Set the roasting pan and accumulated juices over two medium flames, add 1 cup of water and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.
  2. Carefully strain out the broth into a large glass measuring cup or medium glass bowl and place in the refrigerator to separate the fat from the broth. You should have about at least 2 cups of broth.
  3. Once cooled down, the fat should rise to the top and you should be able to separate most of it out. Reserve 3 tablespoons of fat and discard the rest. Measure out the remaining broth and add turkey stock until you get 4 cups total of liquid.
  4. In a medium sauce pan add 3 tablespoons fat and whisk in cornstarch.  Slowly whisk in broth/stock until it is nice and smooth and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To carve the turkey:

  1. It’s best to wear a pair of kitchen gloves and have a clean kitchen towel or paper towels handy during carving. With a carving knife and tongs remove the breast meat first by carving it out. Slice the breast meat across the grain and lay on a platter.
  2. Slice through the skin of the drumsticks and bend them back until you can cut through the joint. Set on platter.
  3. Flip the bird over slice through the skin on the wing and bend back until they break, and cut them off.
  4. Cut the thigh meat toward you and bend back until the joint is exposed and cut through it to remove it. Cut the bone and all the joints out of it, and then slice through the meat against the grain, like you do the breast meat.
  5. Pick off any remaining meat from the bird and set aside for leftovers the next day, or to serve.



To baste the turkey either use a turkey baster, or use a pastry brush.

We truly recommend a high quality instant-read thermometer, like the Thermapen. It’s a little bit of an investment, but it lasts forever and it is a surefire way to know that a big bird like this is done. To tell if a turkey is done insert and instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. It should read 165ºF and the juices the run out of the bird after you remove the thermometer should be clear.


Lexi's sharing her top secrets to prepping ahead of time and quick meals!