If you are looking for a way to jazz up your dinner table, look no further than my Roast Turkey with Orange Thyme Rub recipe.
What's In This Article
Roast Turkey Recipe
It is that time of year again! Everyone is searching high and low on the internet to find the BEST turkey recipe. One thing is for sure, there are many ways to prep a bird.
I think my Roast Turkey with Orange Thyme Rub is up there in the top five.
It is super flavorful. The key to this recipe is injecting the meat with flavor AND stuffing the cavity.
The result is flavor rich and moist and prevents you from the time-consuming task of brining the bird.
A quick orange juice injection infuses flavor into the meat, keeping it moist. You also stuff the cavity with aromatics, onion, and oranges. As the turkey roasts, everything in the cavity releases its moisture and flavor into the meat.
The result is the juiciest roasted turkey! Sweet and succulent, your guests will rave about your turkey making ability.
Ways to Cook Turkey
Some prefer a simple roasted turkey. Seasoned and roasted low for hours, this is the most iconic way to cook a bird. You can also brine and then roast a turkey. This is a fool-proof way to a moist turkey, but it is a lengthy process.
The newest and most trendy way to cook a turkey is to fry it. This method is not for the faint of heart, but it does give you some really crispy turkey skin and it’s a fast method. Be sure to take precautions and be sure to do this outside.
Fear not! You can roast a juicy turkey with this simple recipe with just a little preparation.
- Turkey – I like to use a 10 to 12 pound turkey for this recipe. You can use smaller or larger, just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Make sire to use a completely thawed turkey.
- Oranges – I always use fresh oranges when cooking. We will be using both the zest and the orange for this recipe. We will also be putting oranges into the turkey cavity.
- Garlic – Freshly grated garlic cloves are always preferred over the jarred variety. The flavor is more potent.
- Dark brown sugar – Aside from the orange, we need something to make this turkey a little sweet. Brown sugar does just that.
- Fresh thyme leaves – Fresh herbs are always the way to go. We will use the leaves to make an herb butter to rub over the whole turkey.
- Kosher salt and black pepper – The seasonings for this turkey rub are really simple. Besides the butter mixture, salt and pepper is all we need.
- Butter – We want the butter to be room temperature, not melted butter. This will make it easier to rub on the outside of the roast turkey.
- Orange – We add sliced oranges to the inside of the turkey. The perfect turkey is stuffed with a mixture of ingredients to provide both flavor and create excess moisture.
- Red onion – You can use a sweet onion if you’d like, but I just love the sharper flavor that red onion provides.
- Star anise pods – We just need a little bit of extra flavor for our stuffing, and anise is a great flavor to pair with orange.
- Fresh thyme sprigs – Again, fresh herbs are so important for the full flavor.
How to Make Roast Turkey with Orange Thyme Rub
- Prepare oven and roasting rack. Preheat the oven to correct oven temperature and line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Clean turkey. Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat turkey dry with paper towels and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the seasoning.
- Make rub. Zest and juice the oranges. In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the garlic, thyme leaves, kosher salt, dark brown sugar, black pepper and orange zest. Pulse until coarse paste forms. Add the butter and blend well.
- Rub turkey. Loosen the skin of the turkey with your fingers. Smear the butter under the skin. Try to use as much as possible, but if there is any leftover, reserve for inside the cavity.
- Add stuffing. Stuff the cavity with orange slices, red onion, star anise, thyme sprigs, and any leftover compound butter.
- Tie it up. Truss the roast turkey with kitchen twine to ensure even cooking and flavor. Place onto the roasting pan, breast side up.
- Inject orange juice. Inject the reserved orange juice into all areas of the entire turkey.
- Bake. Place the turkey in the oven, cooking for 15 minutes per pound. The internal temperature should reach 170°F in the thickest part of the breast. Use a meat thermometer to check this. If the turkey starts to brown too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the browning spots. Baste occasionally with polling liquids for flavor and to keep it moist.
- Let rest. Take the turkey out of the oven and allow to rest. Garnish with additional orange slices and fresh thyme leaves.
Storage and Freezing
There are endless ways to use leftover turkey, but first you need to know how to store it. Place turkey in a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can also freeze this perfect roast turkey recipe the same way. In an airtight container or freezer bag and it will last for up to five months. Thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
Roast Turkey with Orange Thyme Rub
- 10-12 pound turkey
- 4 large oranges
- 4 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 1 orange sliced
- 1/2 red onion quartered
- 5 star anise pods whole
- 2-3 fresh thyme springs
- 3/4 cup shallots , finely minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 3 springs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
- Orange Slices optional for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Rinse the turkey with cold water and pat turkey dry and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the seasoning.
- Zest and juice the oranges, reserving in separate bowls.
- In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the garlic, thyme leaves, kosher salt, dark brown sugar, black pepper and orange zest. Pulse until coarse paste forms. Add the butter and blend well.
- Loosen the skin of the turkey with your fingers. Smear the butter under the skin. Try to use as much as possible, but if there is any leftover, reserve for inside the cavity.
- Stuff the cavity with orange slices, red onion, star anise, thyme sprigs, and any leftover compound butter.
- Truss the turkey to ensure even cooking and flavor. Place onto the roasting pan, breast side up.
- Inject the reserved orange juice into all areas of the turkey.
- Place the turkey in the oven, cooking for 15 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F in the breast. If the turkey starts to brown too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the browning spots. Baste occasionally with polling liquids for flavor and to keep it moist.
- Take the turkey out of the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Garnish with additional orange slices and fresh thyme leaves. When ready to serve, carve and serve with Red Wine Gravy (below).
Red Wine Gravy:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the minced shallots. Saute until soft.
- Add the flour and stir into a paste (roux). Continue whisking, allowing the mixture to brown lightly.
- Whisk in the red wine and broth until smooth. Add the salt pepper and thyme and reduce to low heat for 15 minutes.
- Run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and return to saucepan. Correct seasoning, if needed and serve!If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!
- Ladle out 1/3 cup of gravy to a small bowl and mix with cornstarch. Whisk back into the saucepan until blended and mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat immediately. Set side until ready to serve.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
- If you don’t have a small food processor, finely mince all ingredients as best as possible and mash with butter using the back of a spoon or fork.
Just reading the ingredients, makes my mouth water! Looking forward to enjoying this for Thanksgiving this year; definitely too good to pass up!
Oh wow – what a perfect way to flavour turkey. Perfect for Christmas.
Citrus does such amazing things for turkey! I appreciate your detailed directions, too. Thanks for the recipe!
Loving the citrus flavor!! Yummmmm
This is the perfect Turkey recipe for this time of year! Love the seasonings you use and the simple step by step instructions!
I’m sorry – I don’t see the orange juice injection part of the recipe. Maybe I am just missing it?
Oh my goodness, Angel, don’t apologize! I took yesterday off and I now I feel terrible I didn’t see your comment. I updated this recipe recently and totally forgot to add back in the injection. I just added it, but it is probably too late for you. I hope enjoyed your turkey day!
this turkey would look wonderful on my dinner table.
This is a perfect looking turkey! I am loving the unique flavors! This is a must try!