Herb-Roasted Turkey

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This Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe boasts a crispy outside with a tender, juicy, succulent inside that will wow your tastebuds and your guests! It’s flavored with lemons, garlic, and herbs, and it’s gluten-free, too! Tips and best practices are included to streamline the process and get the absolute best flavor! {Gluten-Free + Paleo-Friendly}



Helpful equipment:

  • Roasting pan
  • Pastry brush
  • Meat thermometer
  • Aluminium foil
  • Carving fork and knife

For the turkey:

  • 16 pound turkey
  • 23 onions, cut into wedges
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 56 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced and seeded
  • Several sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • Sea salt
  • 1/21 cup water

For the turkey rub:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 12 cloves garlic, pressed (optional)

Side note: I keep extra amounts of the ingredients used for the turkey rub to make more for basting during the cooking process.


  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees. Add 1/4 cup water (more as desired) to the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the onion wedges, bay leaves, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and lemon slices in the bottom of the pan. Then place the turkey in the pan and lightly salt it. If your turkey thaws enough in advance, then you can salt it a few hours ahead of schedule or even the night before.
  2. In a small dish, combine the ingredients for the olive oil rub. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the turkey with the olive oil mixture, including the tops and sides of the turkey as well as in between the turkey and the skin, being careful not to tear the skin.  
  3. Next, place two lemon slices, two to three sprigs fresh herbs, and two to three cloves of garlic into the cavity of the turkey. If the cavity looks too full, then remove some of the stuffings and put them in the roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 425 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Now turn the oven down to 350 degrees, rotate the pan 180 degrees, and bake until the internal temperature of the thigh is 180 degrees and the internal temperature of the breast is 170 degrees.
  5. Finally, carefully remove the Herb-Roasted Turkey from the oven, place it on the counter and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.


  • A turkey’s doneness isn’t about a specific amount of time as it is the internal temperature of the turkey. Actual cook times will vary depending on:
    • The size of your turkey. Unsurprisingly larger turkeys take longer to cook.
    • Whether or not it’s stuffed. Stuffed turkeys take longer to cook.
    • How thawed the turkey was when it first went in the oven. Sometimes we think we got the turkey all the way thawed only to find (or not find, as the case may be) a section that is still pretty icy.
    • How even the oven cooks. Some ovens run hot or cold. Others don’t cascade the heat evenly throughout the roasting process. Rotating the roasting pan throughout the cook time will help wit this.
  • For the turkey rub, you’ll want about 1/4 cup fresh herbs or 4 teaspoons dried herbs of your choosing. I like using fresh herbs for infusing the water in the roasting pan and dried herbs for the rub, which create a kind of paste that makes it easier to apply to the turkey. Which you go for is dependent entirely upon your preference.
  • Select herbs YOU enjoy. You don’t have to stick with the herbs I used here. Nor do you have to follow the ratios. If you end up with the right total quantity (about 1/4 cup fresh or 4 teaspoons dried), you’ll be in good stead.
  • I place most of the onions, garlic, and fresh herbs around the roasting pan. However, I also put a thin slice or two of lemon inside the cavity of the turkey, along with a few cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of herbs. To prevent a long baking time or an uneven cooking process, I don’t overfill the turkey. Just enough to add a little flavor with plenty of space inside the cavity for heat to pass through.
  • You can tent the turkey while it finishes cooking if you notice it getting dry or burning before it reaches the ideal internal temperatures for the breast and thigh.
  • If you need your turkey to be gluten-free, like we do, then carefully reading the packaging on the turkey. Some turkeys are gluten-free while others have been pre-seasoned and may or may not be gluten-free.