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Citrus & Herb: Thanksgiving Turkey


Looking for the perfect holiday turkey recipe that will bring the family to their knees begging for just one more slice? Whether you’re as dramatic as I am in the kitchen, we all want one thing this Thanksgiving. To enjoy the day with family instead of stressing over the meal. Am I right?

This recipe will make you look like a champ. A professional. The real deal. And any other high praise you’re secretly looking for.

Simply put, this recipe is the envy of all other turkey recipes. How did I create such a thing? One does not simply happen upon the perfect thanksgiving turkey. No, it takes time. Ever since Thad and I got married, which will be 12 years in May, we’ve hosted a friendsgiving. I’m pretty sure we invented it because we’d never heard of such a thing before us and now it’s everywhere. In fact, I was able to buy legit “Friendsgiving” invites from Amazon this year. Crazy, right? If you’re as excited about this idea as I am, you can buy them here. 

That’s a lot of years to practice making a thanksgiving turkey. Let me tell you, my friends are the real heroes here. They’ve tasted turkeys that were bland, undercooked, as close to burnt as it gets, way too salty, and frozen in the middle. Yep, they’re amazing people. And for some reason they’ve stuck with me. Last year, I finally got it. It was likely the same feeling Edison had when he finally made the light bulb work. He tried over 1,000 times though, so I’m a few steps ahead of him. 😉

Here’s how to make the best thanksgiving turkey. It’s easy and will not lead you to drink. 🍷

Thanksgiving Turkey

Category: Clean Eating, Main Dishes, Paleo, Real Food Recipes

Servings: 8-15

Thanksgiving Turkey


  • 1 completely thawed turkey 10-14 lb.s (for larger birds, simply double the herb butter spread)
    For The Spread
  • 1 T fresh rosemary
  • 1 T fresh chives
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1 T fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup butter or ghee, at room temperature
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 T pepper
    For the Cavity Of The Turkey
  • 2 oranges (1/2 of on is for the spread)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek


  1. If you have a very large bird, you might want to brine it before following these steps. I like to brine mine anywhere from 4-8 hours before prepping. I place my turkey in a large pot and cover it with cold water. I pour in 2 T apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup salt. This is an option step. If you do this, make sure you pat it dry before adding the butter spread on.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the fresh herbs with the butter. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 an orange into the bowl. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and add those as well. Stir until it looks like a butter spread. Set aside.
  3. Place the thawed turkey in a roasting pan breast side up.
  4. Cut the remaining oranges into quarters along with the lemon. Peel and slightly crush the garlic. Coarsely chop the leek into 3 segments.
  5. These are all going into the cavity of the turkey. Place them in now.
  6. Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  7. Using a brush (rubber works well), paint the butter spread onto the bird. Get it into every corner and under the sides as well. Use up all the spread. One neat trick is to rub the inside of the turkey underneath the skin with the spread as well. I've done it both ways and it turns out great either way.
  8. Bake the turkey at 500° for 30 minutes. This will get the turkey really crispy.
  9. Then reduce the heat down to 350° for as long as needed depending on the weight. Usually the packaging will tell you. When baking at 350°, use a tin foil "hat" to keep the turkey skin from getting too brown. I fold mine in half and then use the sides to wrap around the edge of the roasting pan so it stays well.
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