This turkey seasoning recipe features aromatic dried herbs and robust garlic. It’s an easy way to add tons of flavor to your holiday dinner centerpiece, whether you’re planning to roast a turkey, grill a turkey or even deep-fry a turkey. But first, you’ve got to learn how to season a turkey. You can use marinades or brines and inject flavors, but the easiest (and quickest) way to make a tasty bird is to use a smart blend of turkey spices.
Many people lean on store-bought spice blends, but you can easily create your own with our turkey seasoning recipe. Once you have the seasoning down pat, follow our guide for how to cook a turkey for the best-tasting bird this holiday season.
Turkey Seasoning Ingredients
- Dried herbs: Rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme are classic herbs in any poultry seasoning. Don’t use fresh; dried is the best for rubs and seasonings.
- Spices: Garlic powder and black pepper add a subtle kick to the seasoning.
- Salt: Kosher salt is a must for your turkey spices. If you only have table salt, use just half the amount called for.
Step 1: Combine the herbs and spices
In a small bowl, combine the salt, crushed rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk together until well combined. Store in an airtight container.
Make it smokier: To make a smokier turkey seasoning, mix about 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne into this dry rub. Doing so will get you that oh-so-good smoky flavor.
Make it spicier: To turn up the heat, throw some cayenne and chili powder into the mix. We recommend about 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon chili powder for this recipe.
How to Store Turkey Seasoning
To ensure your turkey seasoning stays fresh, store the blend in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will be good for up to six months.
Turkey Seasoning Recipe Tips
How do you season a turkey?
Seasoning a turkey is very simple. Gently rub the dry seasoning on top and underneath the turkey skin and inside the turkey for maximum flavor.
Should I put butter or oil on my turkey before seasoning it?
You don’t need butter or oil on your turkey, but it helps create a crispier skin while it cooks. For the best results, add the oil before you add seasoning. For butter, stuff it under the skin and season the top. Better yet: Add the seasoning to softened butter, and rub it all over and under the skin.
How can you tell when a seasoned roast turkey is done?
Your roast turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird (usually the thighs) registers between 170º and 175º (165º for a turkey breast). For the most accurate reading, avoid touching the thermometer to any bone. If you do not have a meat thermometer, pierce the skin of the mid-thigh with a fork and look for clear juices. Clear juice means it’s done.
How else can you use turkey seasoning?
This seasoning blend works wonders on roast chicken or even pork chops. A sprinkle on a fluffy baked potato with butter sounds pretty delish, too.