Butter Blanketed Turkey

16 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes

Butter Blanketed Turkey is roasted with fresh herbs and topped with a buttered basting blanket for perfectly golden brown, juicy turkey.

There are plenty of ways to get a delicious, tender bird for Thanksgiving, from traditional Oven Roast Turkey to Slow Cooker Turkey to this easy, classic buttery basted recipe!

About Our Butter Blanketed Turkey Recipe

Whether you have been making Thanksgiving turkey for decades or this is your first try, you will love this fail-proof recipe for perfect roasted turkey! It’s extra juicy with golden brown, crispy skin that looks like it belongs in a magazine. You don’t need a fancy roaster or roasting bags to get flavorful, moist turkey. Just grab your normal turkey seasonings, butter, and a couple of pieces of cheesecloth and you’re all set.

The seasonings used for Butter Blanketed Turkey are simple. All you need are fresh herbs, onions, carrots, celery, chicken broth, and a cup of butter. The chicken broth adds to the basting liquid that you will use throughout the roasting process. Basting while you roast your turkey keeps the meat juicy and while turning the skin golden brown and crisp.

Draping your turkey with a cheesecloth dipped in butter keeps the juices from completely melting off and back into the bottom of the roasting pan. Every time you add the basting liquid, it gets absorbed into the piece of cheesecloth, trapping the juices in place. This gives a similar moisture-trapping effect to a roasting bag, but with the browning and crisping effect of normal basting.

“Can Butter Blanketed Turkey be made ahead?”

There is nothing like fresh roasted turkey, especially for your holiday meal. If you’re looking to serve up the whole turkey, it is not recommended to prepare this part of your meal ahead of time. However, you could prepare they turkey, and save the cooking liquid. You’ll slice the turkey and reheat the slices of turkey in the oven at 350, with the slices arranged in the pan with the juices. Heat for 45-60 minutes depending on how much turkey you have, then remove the slices from the juices to serve them on a platter.

Butter Blanketed Turkey Ingredients

  • 12-14 pound whole turkey: You will easily serve 8-to-10 people with a turkey of this size, and you’ll have some leftovers too.
  • Aromatics: 1 yellow onion, carrots, and 2 stalks celery are used for the aromatics in the pan while the turkey roasts. They will add just the right fragrance and classic flavor to your turkey.
  • 2 cups chicken broth: It is important to have liquid in the the bottom of your pan for the aromatics to steep in and to keep some moisture in the oven with your turkey.
  • Herbs: 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary will all be mixed together to coat your turkey inside and out. The herb mix will bring a depth of flavor that will have all your guests singing your praises.
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter: The butter will play a pivotal role in adding moisture to your turkey, and in helping the skin to become brown and crispy.
Butter Blanketed Turkey ingredients

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • 2 20-inch cheesecloths: The cheesecloths will hold the butter on your turkey as it roasts. You can buy it at the grocery store near the rest of the baking tools and equipment.
  • Roaster and rack: Use a classic roasting pan with a rack to hold your turkey over the pan. You want to be sure your turkey doesn’t rest in the pan and liquid so that it roasts rather than steams. 
  • Baster: You can use your favorite basting tool to baste your turkey with more butter during roasting.
  • Thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh. You can serve your turkey when it reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Aluminum Foil: You will need 1 piece of aluminum foil to tent your turkey while it rests, before carving.
  • Kitchen Knife: Grab your favorite kitchen knife to carve and serve your moist, delicious turkey.

How to Make Butter Blanketed Turkey

Time needed: 3 hours and 20 minutes.

  1. Turkey Prep

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and remove giblets from the turkey. Pat it dry, both inside and out.Butter Blanketed Turkey drying the turkey

  2. Roasting Rack

    Place the roasting rack in the pan and rest the turkey on the rack. Rub the inside and outside of the turkey with a mix of salt, black pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary.Butter Blanketed Turkey seasoned on roasting rack before cooking

  3. Cheesecloth

    Dip the cheesecloth in melted butter and drape it over the turkey. As the butter runs out, rub it all over the uncovered parts of the turkey.Butter Blanketed Turkey wrapped in cheesecloth on roasting rack before cooking

  4. Roast

    Roast for 30 minutes, then baste turkey with liquid from roasting pan. Add ½ the remaining butter over the cheesecloth and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Cook for 1 hour, then baste again with pan juices. Cook for another hour, then baste a third time.Butter Blanketed Turkey wrapped in cheesecloth on roasting rack

  5. Final Roasting

    Remove the cheesecloth and brush the remaining butter carefully over the turkey. Cook for 30 minutes more.Butter Blanketed Turkey basting the turkey

  6. Rest and Serve

    Let rest 20 minutes tented loosely with foil before carving.Butter Blanketed Turkey on roasting rack

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Get this super juicy Turkey Recipe just right by following these tips:

  1. Keep your Turkey from browning too fast
    • If your turkey is browning too fast, tent the pan loosely with aluminum foil and remove the foil during the final 30 minutes of roasting.
  2. Make sure your Turkey is evenly roasted on all sides
    • Turn your roasting pan each time you baste if your oven only fits your turkey sideways. This will make sure your turkey is evenly roasted on all sides.

What to Pair With Butter Blanketed Turkey

This delicious, golden brown, and juicy Butter Blanketed Turkey recipe is a sure-fire winner for Thanksgiving Dinner. Serve this tasty roasted turkey with favorite Thanksgiving side dishes like Apple Sausage Stuffing, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach Gratin. The pan juices will make an amazing extra buttery gravy for your Mashed Potatoes. Turn any turkey that doesn’t get gobbled up into Leftover Turkey Casserole, an easy day-after-Thanksgiving dinner!

Ideas to Serve Butter Blanketed Turkey

Serve your Butter Blanketed Turkey topped with your favorite holiday gravy. You can also serve it with tangy cranberry sauce. Try this super easy Cranberry Sauce recipe, or make Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce so you can just prep it and let it cook on it’s own.

FAQs for Butter Blanketed Turkey

What can I use if I don’t have a turkey baster?

While a turkey baster is the easiest tool to use, if you don’t have a turkey baster that’s okay! Instead of a baster, substitute a pastry brush, ladle, or a measuring cup. Pull the oven rack out as far as possible so you don’t burn your hands using an alternative method.

Why do I need to let roasted turkey rest?

Always let your roasted turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Resting ensures the natural juices absorb back into the meat. The bird also keeps cooking on the inside as it rests for perfectly cooked meat all the way through.

How do I make sure my turkey is cooked inside?

According to the FDA Guidelines, your Butter Blanketed Turkey is done cooking when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh measures 165 degrees F. Use an instant-read meat thermometer, don’t rely on the pop-out plastic guide that comes with the turkey.

Butter Blanketed Turkey on serving platter being carved showing interior 1x1

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Butter Blanketed Turkey

Butter Blanketed Turkey is roasted with fresh herbs and topped with a buttered basting blanket for perfectly golden brown, juicy turkey.
Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 12-14 pound turkey , whole
  • 1 onion , cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 carrots , cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 stalks celery , cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme , removed from stems
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary removed from stems, minced
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , melted
  • 2 20-inch cheesecloths


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Remove giblets from turkey and pat dry inside and out.
  • To a large roasting pan with a rack insert, add the onions, carrots, and celery to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Add in the chicken broth.
  • Add turkey to the roasting rack.
  • Mix salt, black pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary and rub inside and outside of the turkey.
  • Dip cheesecloth into the melted butter.
  • Drape carefully over the turkey and as butter runs out, rub it all over the uncovered parts of the turkey.
  • Roast for 30 minutes, then baste turkey with liquid from roasting pan.
  • Add ½ the remaining butter over the cheesecloth.
  • Reduce temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Cook for 1 hour, then baste again with pan juices.
  • Cook 1 more hour, then baste again.
  • Remove the cheesecloth and brush the remaining butter carefully over the turkey.
  • Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Let rest 20 minutes tented loosely with foil before carving.


Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 1257mg | Potassium: 886mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1745IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2mg

Butter Blanketed Turkey Variations

  • Herbs: Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme to the cavity of your turkey for layers of herbed flavor throughout. Season the second half of melted butter with dried herbs for an extra flavorful butter mixture.
  • Aromatics: You can stuff the turkey cavity with aromatics like lemon wedges, green apple quarters, onion wedges, celery pieces, garlic cloves, or chopped carrots.
  • Seasonings: Season the melted butter or rub the turkey with different spices like teaspoon paprika, chili powder, marjoram, or poultry seasoning blends. Swap 1 cup of chicken broth with dry white wine, dry red wine, or apple cider vinegar and add ½ cup of dry white wine to the melted butter for more layers of flavor.

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Butter Blanketed Turkey Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. This was the best turkey I have made in my 72 years! The turkey was moist and flavorful. All of the guests enjoyed the meal and the turkey was the star of the show! I was intrigued by the cheese cloth blanket, I usually use silver foil but not this year. Thanks for the recipe, it will now be added to my favorite list for Thanksgiving. I hope yours was as good as mine!

  2. HI,
    I can’t wait to try this, but I have a question.
    Can I use a brined turkey for this recipe for an even more tender bird?
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, my daughter and I love to make them together.