Crispy Citrus Sage Butter Turkey



This is my all-time favorite Turkey recipe. Use these steps for a perfectly juicy, uniquely zesty, beautifully crisp, & brown Thanksgiving main.


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  • 1 – Turkey (any size you want! I like the biggest turkey I can find for sandwiches the next day)
  • 1 stick – Unsalted Butter
  • 1 handfull – Sage Leaves
  • 1 – Lemon
  • 1 – Navel Orange
  • 1 large – Red Onion
  • 1 handfull – Thyme
  • 1 handfull – Rosemary
  • 1 cup – Chicken Broth
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Butchers Twine
  • Tin Foil
  • Roasting Pan & Rack
  • Meat Thermometer



Buy & Thaw Your Turkey
  1. Buy your turkey: fresh or frozen. If frozen, leave sfufficient time to thaw.
  2. Refrigerator thawing requires 1 day per 4lbs to thaw. See Butterball’s website for details.
24 Hours Before Roasting
  1. Remove Turkey from all wrappings.
  2. Remove the neck & giblets from both cavities. They are not required for this recipe.
  3. Rinse the turkey under cold water then pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Use your fingers to carefully separate the skin from the breast, starting at the cavity and working your way to the top. Be careful not to rip the skin as it serves to hold in moisture.
  5. Each breast should have a pocket of free space under the skin which you can run your hand under to touch the breast meat directly. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of fine-grained salt and rub on both breasts under the skin.
  6. Sprinkle some additional salt atop the skin, over all parts of the turkey.
  7. The added salt and extended time for it to seep in will tenderize the meat. It will also cause liquid to release, so place the turkey on a pan and in a large unscented garbage or grocery bag. Seal tightly and return to fridge.
Morning of Roast
  1. Remove the turkey from fridge 1hr before roasting.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  3. Prepare citrus sage & herb butter
    • Place your sage, rosemary, and just a small amount of thyme in a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped.
    • Add the zest of one lemon and of half of one orange (reserve both fruits)
    • Add 1 stick of butter
    • Add ½-1 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt
    • Process until smooth
  4. Butter turkey – carefully rub the butter on both breasts under the skin. Clean hands and rub from outside to evenly distribute across breasts.
  5. Sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder atop the turkey.
  6. Stuff Turkey
    • Sprinkle salt and pepper in both cavities.
    • Quarter the orange, onion, and lemon. Add these to both cavities.
    • Add remaining rosemary and thyme leaves to both cavities
    • Add several garlic cloves to both cavities
  7. Truss your turkey with butchers twine for an even, beautiful roast.

Your turkey will look like this after buttering, spicing, stuffing, & trussing.

Rack & Roast
  1. Place the turkey on the rack and inside the roasting pan.
  2. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of water to the base of the pan.
  3. Initial Roast
    • Roast uncovered for 30 minutes at 425° F
  4. Remaining Roast
    • Reduce temperature to 350° F
    • Fully tent the turkey, covering it with tin foil. Make sure that the wings do not stick through as they will burn.
    • Roast for 30min.
    • After 30min, uncover the turkey and baste with the juices in the pan.
    • Recover with tin foil, rotate pan 180° in the oven and repeat.
  5. Turkey is fully cooked when it hits an internal temperature of 165° F. Roughly 15min per pound.

If the pan runs dry, add additional chicken broth to the bottom of the pan then baste.

Carve & Serve
  1. Let your turkey rest for 30min before carving.
  2. Use the pan drippings to make a delicious gravy while your turkey rests.
  3. Carve & serve!