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Herb-Rubbed Turkey Recipe
Herb-Rubbed Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Herb-Rubbed Turkey Recipe

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Seasoned for the holidays, this tender bird with its tasty herb rub is perfect for topping the table at your next festive gathering. The recipe's from our Test Kitchen staff.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 3 hours + cooling
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 3 hours + cooling
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1 turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon each salt, dried thyme and marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 celery rib with leaves, cut into pieces
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into pieces
  • 6-1/4 cups water, divided
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Nutritional Facts

One serving (3 ounces cooked turkey skin removed with 1/4 cup gravy) equals 190 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 542 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 26 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch


  1. Remove giblets from turkey; set aside. Loosen skin around turkey breast, leg and thigh. Combine seasonings; rub under skin, in body and neck cavities and over skin if desired. Place vegetables in the cavities. Skewer openings; tie drumsticks together. Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Roast, uncovered, at 325° for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180° (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Baste with pan drippings if desired.
  2. Remove papery skin from garlic bulbs (do not peel or separate cloves). Brush with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap in heavy-duty foil. Roast at 325° for 1 hour or until garlic is soft. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut top off heads, leaving root end intact. Squeeze garlic into a bowl. Mash to a smooth paste; set aside.
  3. To make broth, cut reserved gizzard and heart into several pieces. (Save liver for another use or discard.) In a Dutch oven, saute neck, gizzard and heart in remaining oil over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add the vegetables; cook until browned. Gradually add 6 cups of water, stirring to loosen browned bits. Tie peppercorns, cloves and herbs in a cheesecloth bag; add to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours or until broth is reduced by half. Discard giblets and spice bag. Cool broth; strain, discard vegetables.
  4. When turkey is done, cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour drippings and any loosen browned bits into a measuring cup; skim fat. Add enough broth to measure 3 cups. In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch and remaining water until smooth. Add broth, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons roasted garlic. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove and discard turkey skin and vegetables in cavities before carving. Serve with gravy. Yield: 12 servings plus leftovers.
Originally published as Herb-Rubbed Turkey in Light & Tasty October/November 2001, p48

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Reviewed Jul. 5, 2012

"Absolutely excellent. It taked a little more time to make but is well worth the effort."

Reviewed Dec. 30, 2010

"I've been using this recipe since it was first published in 2001. We love it."

Reviewed Nov. 26, 2009

"Excellent flavor in turkey and gravy. Getting the herb rub under the skin is messy, but worth the effort. I used only one roasted garlic bulb in gravy."

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