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Overhead photo of a roasted turkey on a white platter with lemons, herbs, and cranberries around it.
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5 from 1 vote

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

This turkey recipe is made with a lemon butter injection marinade that gets deep in the turkey for moist and flavorful meat. Topped with a simple dry rub and a few other tricks for crispy skin and a tender and juicy bird!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Resting & Marinating Time13 hrs 30 mins
Total Time17 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 70kcal


  • Roasting Pan
  • Meat Injector Syringe
  • Kitchen Probe Thermometer
  • Turkey Lifters
  • Carving Set
  • Aluminum Foil



  • 1 (12-25lb) whole turkey fresh or thawed

Injection Marinade


  • 2 lemons halved
  • 2 granny smith apples quartered
  • 1 large white onion quartered
  • 15 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 10 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 10 fresh sage sprigs

Dry Rub


  • Cranberries
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Lemon sliced



  • Make sure that your turkey is fully thawed if using a frozen turkey.
  • Remove the neck and giblet from the turkey.

Injection Marinade

  • Add the chicken stock, butter, lemon juice, salt, peppers, and onion powder to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter has melted, do not boil. Allow the marinade to cool in the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes. You want it to cool down enough so it doesn't start cooking parts of the turkey but still be liquid enough to inject.
  • Use a large kitchen injector to inject the marinade into the thickest parts of the breasts, thighs, and legs of the turkey. Add the marinade until it starts to flow back over the top of the skin.
  • Place the turkey in a large pan or bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a turkey bag to marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours for the best results. Marinating for 12 to 24 will give the best flavor.


  • Pull the turkey out of the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour, during that time, finish the prep work by beginning stuffing the cavity full of the lemons, apples, onion, and herbs.

Dry Rub

  • Pat the turkey down with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture on the skin.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Then use your hands to rub the mixture all over the skin of the turkey.


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and place a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
  • Transfer the prepared turkey onto the roasting rack and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F and remove the turkey from the oven.
  • Insert the probe thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast and cover the breast of the turkey with a double layer of aluminum foil.
  • Place the turkey back in the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 30 to 40 minutes so the juices redistribute. During this resting period, the internal temperature should rise to 165°F.
  • After resting, carve the turkey and enjoy.


  • This recipe makes enough for a turkey between 12 and 25lbs. You may have some injection marinade leftover depending on the size and how much marinade the turkey will hold.
  • Opt for a dressing that is cooked in its own baking dish. Adding the stuffing to the cavity of the turkey usually means your stuffing is underdone or the turkey if overdone.
  • The FDA recommends that you avoid rinsing any meat before cooking as it can spread bacteria around the kitchen.
  • Start cooking the turkey at a higher temperature to encourage a crispy skin and juicy meat. This recipe cooks at 450 degrees F for the first 30 minutes and then is reduced to 350 degrees F until done.
  • This recipe is already super flavorful, but if you REALLY love that buttery taste, you can use my herb butter recipe to rub between the skin and meat of the turkey.
  • The turkey is considered done at 165 degrees F, however, the turkey also needs to rest for about 30 to 45 minutes before serving so all of the juices redistribute. During that time, the turkey will actually continue cooking which leads to an overdone bird. But pulling the turkey out of the oven at 160 degrees F, it should reach 165 degrees F about 20 to 30 minutes after being removed from the oven.


Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 988mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg