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It’s finally time for Turkey Talk!! I LOVE this herb and butter roasted turkey with white wine pan gravy.

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Like November is here! I have only been waiting for this day since like, the beginning of August! I am such a freak, I mean who starts thinking about the holidays in the heat of the summer? Basically what I’m trying to say is that this post has been a long time coming.

While everybody was enjoying all the things that go along with October, I was roasting turkeys, mashing potatoes and eating Thanksgiving dinner. Or well, at least towards the end of October I was. I try to be on top of things, but then somehow I always fail.

UGH.

But hey! I got the turkey made and um, I am pretty dang happy with it. I mean, come on. Doesn’t it look perfect?!?!

It is!!

overhead photo of Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey before adding cheesecloth and before roasting

Ok, so here’s the deal. When it comes to the holidays, I am all about traditional. I love traditions and to be honest, I don’t like breaking them. That said, I do love to switch little things up just a little with things like side dishes and desserts. But the turkey?

The turkey has to be classic. Herbs and butter. Nothing fancy, nothing overdone. Just classic, simple and delicious flavors.

overhead photo of Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with cheesecloth draped over turkey before roasting

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always cooked the Thanksgiving bird. Even last year, she cooked the turkey. She is a good turkey roaster and we had a good thing going. I’d do the sides + desserts + apps and she handled the turkey…although last year, I do recall that she and my dad were out hiking for most the time the turkey was cooking leaving me to tend to it.

Actually, as I recall, she and dad were still hiking when people began arriving for dinner. Typical.

Anyway, I love my mom’s classic turkey, so I took inspiration from her, read a whole bunch online and then made some turkeys (yup plural, and I still have three more to make between now and Christmas). And you guys, I swear by this turkey you see here today.

It’s perfection and I could not be more excited about it.

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

As you can read from the title, Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy, my turkey is simple and traditional. Pretty sure it doesn’t get much more classic than this.

Just the way I like it.

The secret to my turkey is a butter soaked cheesecloth. I read about this method of cooking the bird in this month’s Food and Wine. The second I read about it, I knew I had to try it. It’s flipping genius!

You soak a layer of cheesecloth in melted butter (mine is full of fresh thyme, sage, parsley and lemon zest!) and then drape the butter soaked cheesecloth over the bird. Then you roast the turkey with the cheesecloth ON the bird. The cloth protects the skin from burning all while basting the turkey with butter the entire time it roasts.

Genius I tell you, and the skin comes out perfect, the meat is incredibly moist and the flavor is spot on! You do not even need to tent the bird with foil, the butter soaked cheesecloth works magic guys and it could not be easier.

Soo the gravy though?!? My mom has alway has always had trouble with gravy. Like it was either clumpy, too thin or flavorless. I get it, gravy can be hard, but this pan gravy will make your life simple. Nothing too tricky and it gets made in the very same pan you roast the turkey in. Hello less dishes – YES!

Plus, the flavor is out of this world. It’s all about those pan drippings. 🙂

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

So are you excited yet?? Are you going to start planning Thanksgiving? It’s T-minus twenty days away and I have then next couple weeks packed with my personal Thanksgiving menu. Think sweet taters, pies, cookies, mashers, casseroles, salad, bread and the works. I may even throw a few drinks your way this holiday season too.

Wait, question: are we into drinks? Like cocktails? With booze? Let me know.

It’s gonna be a really good November. But since Turkey is the star of the show, I figured I would start there.

Next up are the apps, sides, desserts and a couple easy dinners too (you know cause we all gotta eat between now and the big day – duh!).

YUM. Did you break out the stretchy pants yet, cause I think it may be time. I am full-force (like intensely so) in all holiday GO mode, so excited!

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

SIDE NOTE: My dad asked, since we had turkey in October, if that meant we could skip it at Thanksgiving. I practically looked at him like he was insane. I mean, what??!? Who skips the turkey on Thanksgiving? Guys, he is out of his mind I tell ya. Like losing it BIG TIME.

Or he’s just a giant Scrooge, thinking a combo of both actually.

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Freeze/Rest 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 671 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-16) pound turkey, giblets and neck removed
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, plus more for stuffing the bird
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, plus more for stuffing the bird
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 piece large of double lined cheesecloth
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 garlic head, tips sliced off
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 7-8 cups low sodium chicken or turkey broth

White Wine Pan Gravy

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • drippings from the turkey
  • 2-3 cups low sodium chicken or turkey broth, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before roasting. Remove the giblets + neck and allow to come to room temperature.
    2. Make the butter. In a medium bowl, combine the 1 stick butter, the sage, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
    3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
    4. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper and fill the cavity with the, lemons, garlic and onion. Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird. Rub the herb butter under the skin of the bird, spreading some of the butter on top of the skin as well. Take the remaining 1 stick butter and melt it over the low heat on the stove or in the microwave. Dampen your cheesecloth with warm water and squeeze dry. Submerge the cheesecloth in the melted butter, making sure all the cheese cloth has soaked up the butter. Lay the cheesecloth over the bird, covering most of the bird. Drizzle any remaining butter over the turkey.
    5. Pour 4 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting plan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. After 45 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue cooking for another 2 hours (until the turkey registers 160 F. on a meat thermometer), adding 1-2 cup of broth half way through roasting. I like to baste the turkey with the drippings 2 times throughout cooking and when doing so rotate the roasting pan.
    6. Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the cheesecloth, transfer the turkey to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.
    7. Make the gravy. Strain the liquid from the roasting pan, skimming off most of the fat. I like to pour the broth into a 4 cup measuring cup and then place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the fat rise to the top of the surface. Once you have skimmed the fat, add enough broth to equal about 4-5 cups total of drippings/broth.
    8. Place the roasting pan over two burners and add a splash of wine (about 1/2 cup) to deglaze the pan. You want to scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is throughly deglazed, add the butter and once melted, add the flour whisking to combine. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden, around 5 minutes.
    9. Increase heat to medium high and add the remaining 1/2 cup of white wine, whisking as you go to let the wine reduce down. Slowly add reserved broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sage and cook, continuing to stir, until the gravy has thickened to your desired thickness, around 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with the turkey.

Notes

To save a little time, you can prepare the compound butter up to a week in advance. Just store, covered in the fridge until ready to use.
Here is the cheesecloth I use. 
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Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

That picture? It makes you happy and excited, right?? I know, me too!!

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Comments

  1. Hi! I have a question, when you say that you like to baste the turkey with the drippings 2 times throughout cooking, is it on top of the cloth? Do I need to remove the cloth? or do you baste it only on the side… help! This is going to be my first turkey ever! Thank you!

    1. Hi Mariana,
      You are going to baste over the cheesecloth:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

  2. 5 stars
    First turkey we have made alone and it turned out absolutely amazing. It was so delicious and easy to make, we couldn’t have done it without this recipe. We were thinking our first try would net some serious “Next Time” errors but nope, you covered it all! Our first Thanksgiving gave us a perfect turkey, and delicious sides all from HBH. The only things that went wrong were a broken toe and The Great Turkey Bone Broth Disaster of 2022. After being up past my bed time to make the broth, I properly strained it – DOWN THE DRAIN. I forgot I had removed the pot under the strainer until far too late. But, I’m positive if our sink drain could talk, it would say this was the best recipe for the best turkey bone broth ever. As first Thanksgivings go – this was 100% a success! Thanks for making our first Thanksgiving PERFECT. Happy Holidays, HBH Groupies!

    1. Hey Tracy,
      Lol thanks for your kind message and thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Happy Tuesday! 🎄

  3. My first turkey I cooked. I hosted thanksgiving and had 14 people and they all said this was hands down the most moist turkey they’d ever had. So good. Don’t let the amount of steps stop you. Just read them 1-2x before starting and it’s not bad at all! The gravy was also excellent and I’m not really a gravy gal.

    1. Hey Emily,
      Happy Sunday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  4. So because you put the cheese cloth on top of the turkey do you not put the lid on the roasting pan?

    (This is my first time making a turkey and I can’t wait to use your recipe)

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Correct, no lid is needed here:) Please let me know if I can help in any other way, I hope you love this recipe! xx

  5. I have used this recipe for the past two Thanksgivings, and it has been a HUGE hit with my family. My only note is that our Turkey seemed to cook a lot more quickly than expected (even at 22 lbs) – maybe those 45 minutes of higher heat really got it going! For anyone attempting this recipe, make sure to continually check your bird’s internal temp to avoid overdoing it.

    1. Same! I have used this recipe for the past three Thanksgivings and it is amazing. The turkey does cook much quicker than expected though. Make sure you check frequently and rotate the bird for even color.

      1. Hey there,
        Wonderful!!🎄 I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review! xx

  6. 5 stars
    This is a bit similar to an Ina Garten Turkey recipe I have always used (stuffing the bird with lemon, garlic, onion and thyme). However, running the butter herb mixture under the skin and using the cheesecloth really takes it up a notch! By far the prettiest and juiciest turkey I have ever made. Thanks for a fantastic recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I roasted a very large turkey breast in lieu of a whole turkey, but I used the herb and butter mix and the turkey was the juiciest ever! So delicious and tender.

    1. Hi Lucy,
      Happy Sunday!!⛄️ I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xxT

    1. Hey Kerry,
      Happy Sunday!!⛄️ I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xxT

    1. Hi John,
      Yes, you are going to need to add 12 minutes per pound onto my recipe starting at the 16 pounds. I hope you love the recipe! xx

  8. Tried this recipe plus the make ahead gravy. It was excellent!! Best gravy I’ve ever made. Turkey was tender inside and so delicious! My Thanksgiving “go to” from now on !

    1. Hey Marti,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  9. Making this tomorrow but don’t have a cheesecloth. Anything I can sub or make it without? Do I just tent it with foil?

    1. Hi Kimberley,
      I would just do without it, skip the foil:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  10. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and it was SO GOOD! I didn’t have a cheese cloth so I just didn’t do that step. Everything else I did the same. Such great flavor and the skin on the turkey was perfect. Definitely going to make this again.

    1. Hey Bridgette,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  11. 5 stars
    Turkey came out very moist! Was very well received. We used a 12 lb one and kept and took it out a little earlier based off the temp. The gravy was very flavorful. I think I cooked it too long because it turned green from the sage but the flavor was still spot on.