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maple roasted turkey on a platter with fruit

Herb Butter Maple Roasted Turkey

Incredible maple roasted turkey made with a savory herb butter and plenty of sweet pure maple syrup flavor. This whole turkey recipe is perfect for your Thanksgiving table and easy to make thanks to this step-by-step guide on how to cook a turkey!

Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Thanksgiving
Cuisine American
Keyword maple roasted turkey, thanksgiving turkey, whole roasted turkey
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 8 servings
Author Monique Volz of AmbitiousKitchen.com


  • 1 (12-14) pound turkey, thawed
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Handful of fresh rosemary
  • Handful sage leaves
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • For the cavity of the turkey:
  • 1 lemon (and apple or onion, if desired)


  1. Set your turkey out at least 1-2 hours before you plan on baking it so that it can come to room temperature.
  2. While your turkey comes to room temp, make your maple herb butter: add softened butter, maple syrup, garlic, salt, black pepper, thyme, rosemary sage and lemon zest. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Set aside at room temperature. You can also make this ahead of time, but it’s best to let the butter thaw/soften at room temperature before using it on the turkey.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Remove the turkey from its packaging, and remove the neck and bag of giblets from the large cavity of the turkey if it’s there. Next, pat the turkey well with paper towels until dry and place it in your roasting pan.
  5. Place a few lemon wedges inside the cavity of the turkey, plus any other items you’d like such as fresh herbs, half an onion or even an apple.
  6. Next, tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  7. Now it’s time to add your herb maple butter! Massage the turkey evenly with the maple butter, try to get some under the skin above the turkey breast; this will help you achieve crispy skin! If you are having a hard time getting your butter massaged into the turkey, then that likely means your turkey is still a bit cold. Don’t worry, here’s a solution: simply warm/melt your butter just slightly in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, then use melted butter on the turkey instead. I like to use a pastry brush to get it everywhere, but your hands will also work well. Now you’re ready to roast your turkey.
  8. Place turkey (in the roasting pan) in the oven at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees. No need to open the oven -- simply just adjust the temperature. I do not suggest baking anything else in your oven as your turkey cooks.
  9. For every pound of turkey you’ll roast it for 15-20 minutes, plus a little more depending on your oven. Remember to track your start time for putting the turkey in the oven.
  10. Every 30-45 minutes or so remove the turkey from the oven and baste the entire thing with drippings that have collected in the roasting pan. You’ll also want to rotate your turkey at these times to ensure even cooking.
  11. Once you think your turkey is done, test the breast and thigh with a meat thermometer to make sure the breast reads 165 degrees F and the thigh reads 175 degrees F.
  12. If your turkey looks like it’s getting too brown but is not yet done, simply cover it with tinfoil so that the inside continues to cook.
  13. Once your turkey is done, remove it from the oven, drape it with foil and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes so that it maintains all of its juiciness inside. This also gives you time to warm up your side dishes and make your turkey gravy. That’s it! Enjoy.