Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey

Planning a fancy dinner or Christmas meal? Look no further than this Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey! Succulent, tender meat with a wonderful homemade gravy.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
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Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey

Succulent, tender meat with a wonderful homemade gravy. Not a fan of turkey? This Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey also doubles as an amazing recipe for roast chicken!

Whole Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey with carved slice removed

Why this Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey is amazing

Flavour & texture: Wonderfully moist meat that is basted in a vibrant marinade.

Difficulty: 2/5. Simple enough, you just may need a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the meat. The recipe is very simple, you’re going to love it!

Time: 20 minutes prep + 13minutes for every 500gm 1lb of turkey or chicken. Australian turkeys are around 3-6kgs / 6-12lbs but using the calculation and having a meat thermometer, you can easily estimate the amount of time for your particular bird.

Versatility: This recipe can be altered to your personal preference of herbs and citrus and it works your preference of side dishes. Use leftovers in sandwiches, wrap in pastry with cranberry jelly and brie!

Dinner arrangement of Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey with assorted sides

What ingredients are needed

Turkey (or try chicken!): Turkey is a lean protein, this means that it is low in fat. This can be a benefit of turkey but also means it easily can lead to dry meat if overcooked. We want to ensure you use a lower temperature, use a meat thermometer to ensure you cook it just enough and don’t overcook. This recipe is also really great with chicken! Chicken it more easily accessible in Australia and much smaller portions!

Lightly salted butter: Yes, I’m a salted butter fan. I opt for a grass-fed, higher fat content butter that is lightly salted to enhance the flavours of the butter itself. You may use unsalted butter but you must then add 1/2 tsp salt.

Garlic: Flavour flavour flavour! Fresh garlic contains a chemical called ‘Allicin’ that is activated when it is chopped, crushed etc. It is what gives garlic it’s distinct taste and aroma. I prefer to crush cloves with a garlic crusher to increase the amount of allicin as much as possible.

Lemon & orange: Tanginess cuts through the richness and fat from the meat. It adds vibrancy and freshness to your mouth in each bite.

Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs add freshness and a little extra brightness to the dish. Play around with your own favourite herbs and even add some spices.

Plain Flour: Simple all purpose flour is all you need.

Chicken Stock Powder: Vegetable, chicken etc. Stock powder allows you to store easily compared to jugs of fresh stock. Its easily reconstituted and adds a lot of flavour to your food. I prefer Asian stock powders or bouillon because they have the spices and flavour profile I lean towards. Brands like Lee Kum Kee, Dasida and often Continental are used in my house.

Dry white wine: Wine adds lovely acidity and flavour. Basically, use whatever you’ve got. I really don’t follow the ‘cook with fancy wine’ nonsense. I use $5-10 bottles in cooking for their acidity and sweetness and think the fancy stuff is better kept for your glass. The alcohol content will be cooked off as the turkey roasts in the oven, leaving just the flavour.

Sliced Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey on plates surrounded by sides

General Tips for Roasting Poultry

  • Roasting poultry can be a delicious and quite impressive dish to serve for a special occasion but also an easy weeknight dinner. Here are some tips and tricks for achieving the perfect roast poultry:
    • Use a roasting pan: A roasting pan with a rack will help to elevate the bird and allow for air circulation to help it cook evenly. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can use a baking sheet or a cast-iron pan.
    • Let the bird come to room temperature: Take the bird out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting. This will help it cook more evenly.
    • Stuff the bird: If you want to stuff the bird, be sure to do it just before roasting to avoid the risk of bacterial growth. You can also stuff the bird with aromatics like herbs and citrus fruits for extra flavour.
    • Season generously: Don’t be afraid to season the skin (and underneath!) well with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you like.
    • Baste regularly: Basting the bird with its own juices or a mixture of melted butter and herbs will help keep it moist and flavourful.
    • Use a meat thermometer: A meat thermometer is the most accurate way to ensure that the meat is cooked to the right temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, and when it reaches 75°C/ 165°F, it is done.
    • Rest the bird: Once cooked, cover and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more flavourful, moist bird.
Carving Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey

Setting you up for success – Tips, Tricks & FAQs

  • How long can Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey last? Store roasted turkey either on the bone or sliced in an airtight container or wrapped completely. It can last 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Do I have to use a meat thermometer? Yes, it is recommended to help you know exactly when the turkey is cooked through. It prevents overcooking and dry meat. If you don’t have one, you can check the juices; If you pierce the chicken with a fork or knife, the juices should run clear, not pink or red. If the juices are still pink, the chicken needs to cook a bit longer.
  • How to I prevent turkey meat from getting dry?
    • At the beginning, slather it with citrus herbed butter all over AND under the skin. This is to help add extra moisture and keep the natural juices inside. ALSO, use a meat thermometer! Again, It is crucial to help you know exactly when the turkey is cooked through. It prevents overcooking and dry meat.
    • Want to go further? Look into brining the turkey: submerging the turkey in a saltwater solution before roasting can help the meat retain moisture and flavour. The salt in the brine helps to break down the proteins in the meat, which allows it to hold onto more moisture.
  • How long should Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey sit before eating? 15-20 minutes. This allows time for the muscle fibres to relax enough so that they retain their juices. Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for approximately 15-20 minutes before carving.

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Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey

Servings 10
Planning your new fancy dinner or Christmas meal? Look no further than this Citrus Herbed Roast Turkey! Succulent, tender meat with a wonderful homemade gravy.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes


For the citrus herb butter

  • 114 g lightly salted butter softened
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

For the turkey

  • 3-6kg turkey thawed
  • 1 orange quartered
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 4-6 cloves garlic cut in half
  • 4 sprigs thyme & sage
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper
  • ¼-½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock powder
  • cups water
  • ¼ cup plain flour


  • mashed potato
  • green beans
  • cranberry jelly


for the citrus herbed butter

  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together thoroughly. This can also be blended. Set aside.

For the turkey

  • Organise a rack on a lower shelf of the oven and preheat to 220°C/440°F.
    Use a roasting pan with tray/rack. If you don't have a roasting rack, use crumpled aluminium foil to elevate the turkey from the base of the pan.
  • Using paper towel, pat the skin of the turkey dry and place in the roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon, garlic and herbs. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey.
  • Gently loosen the skin around the turkey breast area by running your fingers between the skin and the breast meat. Take 1/4 of the butter mixture and rub it, thoroughly, under the skin on the breast and leg meat. Coat as much of the bird as possible. Coat the remaining butter mixture over the skin being sure to cover the entire bird.
  • Tie the legs of the turkey together with kitchen twine. Mix chicken stock powder with water and pour onto the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Place the roasting pan in the oven. Immediately turn the temperature down to 180°C/350°F.
  • Using brush or baster, baste the turkey with the pan juices every 30 minutes. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers at least 165°F.
    Roasting should be calculated at about 13 minutes per 500gm/1 lb). Start checking the temperature after 1.5 hours roasting time.
  • Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for approximately 15-20 minutes before carving.

For the gravy

  • Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a glass or heatproof bowl. Using a spatula, scrape up any fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour the pan juices through the strainer and discard the contents. Set aside for a few minutes for the fat to rise to the surface.
  • Keep 1/3 cup of the fat from the surface and transfer into a medium saucepan (if you don't have enough fat, add oil or butter to make up the difference). Discard the remaining fat. Measure the remaining juices, then add water to make up the amount to 2 ½ cups.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat then whisk in the flour and cook until slightly darkened in colour, about 1 minute. Pour in the pan juices, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until thickened to the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add extra water if you'd like to thin it out.

Bring it all together

  • Serve the carved turkey with mashed potato, gravy, cranberry jelly and greens.


Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 460mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Recipe Published: December 5, 2022 Last Updated: April 7, 2023
Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hiya, I’m Lauren but you can call me Molly!

Former OR Nurse and self-taught home cook passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. Together with my husband Troy, we create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
To learn more about us, our cooking show and more, click here!

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Leave a Comment

  1. 5 stars
    If you have not used this recipe, you should! The only way I cook my turkey now! <3 It is delicious. 🙂

    1. Miss Molly Author says:

      Thankyou for the review! I am beyond excited to share dinner time like this with you! xx M

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