Citrus and Herb Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Gravy

My Mom, Laura, first prepared this Citrus and Herb Turkey a few years ago for Thanksgiving. It incredibly moist and flavorful, and was one of those meals that I’ve never been able to forget. I was so excited when she agreed to make it for us earlier this week, so that I could share the recipe with you before Thanksgiving. If you’re looking for a turkey preparation that is a little bit different while still being traditional, this recipe is for you.

It’s turkey time ya’ll! (That’s how we say dinner is served here in the south.)

Citrus Herb Turkey with Lemon Garlic Gravy

Citrus and Herb Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Gravy

ingredients

Lemon-Herb Butter:

1 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Turkey:

1 14- to 16-pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry inside and out; neck, heart, and gizzard removed
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1 small orange, cut into wedges
1 handful fresh parsley sprigs
6 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper

Gravy:

pan drippings
3 cup chicken stock warm
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Gravy

preparation

1. If you are using a frozen turkey, remove the turkey from the freezer several days before roasting day and let it thaw.

2. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and rinse turkey with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Let it rest on a baking sheet for 2 hours until it comes to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the lemon-herb butter into a food processor. Pulse for 1 – 2 minutes until well incorporated. Remove from food processor, and set aside.

4. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Sprinkle main turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Starting at neck end of turkey, carefully slide hand between skin and meat of breast to loosen skin. Spread lemon-herb butter over the breasts, under the skin. Spread remaining butter over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Fill main cavity with lemon and orange wedges, and parsley and thyme sprigs. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Tuck wing tips under.

5. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 3 hours. Cover loosely with foil while roasting, if turkey begins to brown too quickly. Tilt turkey so juices from main cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent very loosely with foil; let rest at least 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve pan.

Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Gravy

6. Scrape juices and browned bits from reserved roasting pan into large glass measuring cup, skim off fat. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Add 1 cup chicken stock to juices.

7. Heat reserved 2 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes.

8. Pour drippings into a small saucepan; skim fat. Combine flour and remaining broth until smooth; whisk into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add flour and whisk until golden, about 4 minutes. Add degreased pan juices and 2 cups stock. Bring to boil, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat and simmer until gravy is reduced to desired consistency, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons reserved lemon butter and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Comments

  1. NYCSingleMom says:

    Thats looks like a delicious meal and easy as well. Love the brussel sprouts as a side.

  2. I love lemon and garlic with chicken, must try it with turkey! Sounds yummy!
    Mitch

  3. That looks delicious! I bet it’s a lot more moist than traditional turkey recipes too, which I would LOVE! I’m not so much into the dryness of turkey.

  4. That turkey looks so delicious and moist! We have been brining ours, but maybe it’s time to branch out and try a citrus herb turkey!

  5. And now I know what to add to my Thanksgiving menu :)

  6. Sounds amazing and it looks so moist!

  7. WOWZA now that looks heavenly!!! Maybe you should come over and bring some, hehe!! Gonna add this into holiday cooking!!

  8. What a beautifully prepared turkey! Think I’ll head over to your house for Thanksgiving. :)

  9. Adrienne L Rudolph says:

    thanks for sharing this recipe it looks so good, I think I may just have to try this one this year!

  10. I’m not a big turkey fan but perhaps it’s because I haven’t tried something like this. Citrus and herb based anything…yes, please!

  11. I love this recipe – it will be fun to try it this year to do something traditional but slightly different than our typical routine for Thanksgiving.

  12. Just pinned this, it looks amaizng

  13. Of course I don’t eat meat since I’m a vegetarian, but that looks amazing! I’m sure this would be a big hit on Thanksgiving.

  14. This looks GREAT!!! I cannot wait for turkey. It’s one of my favorites~!

  15. Hi Laura & Angela,

    That turkey looks amazing! You really outdid yourself here! This is something I would normally do with something smaller, I don’t know why I haven’t thought of revamping my turkey before.

    Great recipe. This is just the recipe to use when we break our vegetarian diet once (or twice) a month ;)

    Victoria
    ~Mommy’s Playbook

  16. Now this looks too good to eat glad we are not doing Thanksgiving this year but I may do a turkey for Christmas and this could be it.

  17. You totally just made me hungry now. This looks delicious.

  18. That really is beautifully prepared and I’ll bet it tastes like heaven! So lucky that you can have two Thanksgivings because of this post!

  19. I can vouch for the fact that this citrus herb turkey is yummy. We tried it and it tasted delicious, especially the dark meat. Definitely a Thanksgiving recipe keeper.

  20. Oh my. I’m drooling thinking about Thanksgiving turkey!!

  21. Oh wow! I saw this one Pinterest and was drooling! I don’t actually season my turkey much but citrus herb turkey sounds delicious and would be a great new flavor to try this year!

  22. Wow, this is seriously incredible. I can only imagine how wonderful it makes the house smell. We’re still trying to finalize Thanksgiving plans… if I am going to cook.. I will definitely be trying this!

  23. That sounds delicious! Also, I totally grew up with that exact platter!

  24. You are making me hungry for Thanksgiving dinner right now! That looks amazing and so juicy!

  25. judy gardner says:

    oh my gosh – this looks and sounds AMAZING!!! i cooked a whole turkey once and it was very dry, but this recipe sounds like it would work for me! my sister is supposed to cook the turkey this year but i may just do it instead. if not, i will give her this recipe to try for sure!

  26. Wow, what a beautiful bird :) my mouth is watering. I love lemon and garlic, but have never tried it. I wonder if I can get away with it for Thanksgiving dinner and if not, I can always make it for us, so there :)

  27. Your turkey looks so moist and juicy!! Lemon and garlic are two of my favorite flavors but I have never used them on a turkey before. I need too!!

  28. What an amazing and delicious looking bird! It’s DEF Turkey Time!!

  29. Looks amazing! I can not wait until Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite meal!

  30. Yum! I love the idea of adding lemon to make it something special!

  31. This looks so yummy.

  32. Your turkey looks super yummy!

  33. My kids love lemon and garlic. This would taste amazing!! Yummm

  34. Citrus and herb turkey sounds scrumptious!! I love how juicy it looks!

  35. That looks so delicious!

  36. Yum! We only eat turkey once a year on thanksgiving but this looks too yummy. Maybe I’ll cook up a little thanksgiving this weekend.

  37. I’m usually not a turkey person and prefer chicken most times, but this looks delicious! The flavoring looks amazing!

  38. This Citrus and Herb Turkey sounds very delicious! My family usually makes the turkey but it’s very generic and bland — sometimes a little too dry. I need to share this recipe with my aunt and maybe we can have it this year!

  39. alicia k (Petite Pilates Pixie) says:

    This looks delicious! a great main course for a holiday meal.

  40. The best way I’ve had turkey had a stick of butter over it that melts while it cooks. the best chicken I’ve had uses lemon and oranges inside the cavity and under the skin, I can’t imagine how good it is to combine the best! I soooo want to make this. I’m going to get a small turkey to make this, since I’m not making the turkey for the holiday. This is a stunner! Boy, that photo looks good, I want to grab that turkey leg so bad!!!

  41. I am not the greatest when it comes to baking birds. This looks straightforward and really delicious. My stomach just growled embarrassingly loudly!

  42. Betsy Barnes says:

    My mother makes her turkey very similar to this recipe, I must say, it’s the moistest turkey I’ve ever eaten :)

  43. Sherri Lewis says:

    That sounds good. I think it would also be good on chicken, as well.

  44. I might just use this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. That is if I don’t order in food, because I’m not a lover of cooking. But this doesn’t look to hard to do.

  45. This looks so good! YUM!

  46. Tami Vollenweider says:

    The Turkey looks so moist and delicious! We usually smoke a Turkey,but I’m always looking for different ideas! I like the idea of lemon and lots of Garlic!

  47. This looks so delicious. I will have to try this for Thanksgiving.

  48. Oh my….that looks delicious. I am gravy-challenged, but having said that – your recipe here for lemon, garlic gravy looks fabulous. I hope I can recreate it!

  49. This chicken looks so good. I normally keep a few frozen chickens in the fridge so I may give this a try.

  50. Darn that looks delicious. I usually just toss lemon & herbs in the cavity & baste with herb butter.

  51. that looks incredible!! i always have a problem with thanksgiving turkey being dry.. this looks like the answer to my problems

  52. I may just have to make our Turkey like this for Thanksgiving.

  53. What a perfectly cooked bird – looks so tender and juicy!!

  54. The lemon garlic gravy sounds heavenly.

  55. That turkey looks great and moist, wouldn’t have thought to try citrus herb with turkey though we use it in chicken all the time.

  56. wow that sounds and LOOKS amazing!! Never tried citrus on a bird before but I can only imagine it is outstanding!

  57. The pictures are enough to make me hungry! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I wish I could have a little sample!

  58. That looks amazing. I am making a turkey this week. I am going to have to try this. Thanks!

  59. I just want to jump through this screen and grab a bite of that turkey. It looks amazing.

  60. Looks delicious, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving turkey

  61. That turkey looks super fancy — and delish!!

  62. That looks amazing and tasty!

  63. My husband’s family would love this for Thanksgiving. I’ll have to share this with them.

  64. This is making my mouth water and getting me super stoked for Thanksgiving.

  65. christine reyes says:

    I’m not usually a fan of turkey, but you say it’s juicy and moist? I might be willing to give it a go this year for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  66. I normally have trouble with citrusy flavors, but the herbs and garlic could help neutralize that for me. I can’t wait to try this out – I’m starving!

  67. Love the idea of lemon herb turkey. Yum!

  68. LOVE lemon and garlic – this turkey recipe looks amazing!

  69. That recipe looks really yummy! I was a little surprised that you didn’t brine your turkey – it might just take it to a whole other level.

  70. Hmm…sounds interesting, I’m not sure my family’s palate is up for such a culinary twist!

  71. This sounds amazing! My FIL doesn’t like to change from the norm, but I may have to make this for our house!

  72. Michelle F. says:

    looks so good. pinning this for thanksgiving

  73. My mouth is watering just LOOKING at those pictures of yours! That turkey looks and sounds beyond delicious and I love the way it’s a different spin on an old classic :)

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us-Just in time for turkey day, too!

  74. I don’t cook turkey but i just to eat but this recipe looks delish like chicken!!

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