Thanksgiving Lemon Sage Turkey

This is my never-fail, crowd-pleasing turkey. Sure, I have contemplated other ways of preparing the bird, but my family won't allow me to change a thing! Besides my delicious flavoring, the key to a tender, mouth-watering turkey is a proper thermometer. Seriously, don’t even bother cooking the turkey without one. They 're so high tech now , you can connect them to your cell. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

MORE: Save Time: Faster Thanksgiving Turkey

Lemon Sage Thanksgiving Turkey Clinton Kelly

Thanksgiving Lemon Sage Turkey


  • 12-16 pound turkey (thawed and brined)
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 3 lemons
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp. minced sage
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Additional lemons, oranges, curly kale and sage, for garnish (optional)

MORE: Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast


  • Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven.
  • Let turkey come to room temperature. Remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities, and reserve them for turkey broth. Drain the juices and pat the bird dry inside and out.
  • Meanwhile, make the compound butter. In a large bowl, combine room temperature butter, shallot, garlic, minced sage, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir together with a rubber spatula. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Arrange the turkey breast side up in a rack (preferably a v-rack), set in a heavy, large roasting pan.
  • Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper to taste. Puncture two lemons with a fork and stuff inside both cavities of the turkey along with fresh sage.
  • Carefully smooth compound butter under the skin of the turkey, being mindful not to tear the membrane connecting the skin to the breast. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and slide slices under the skin along with butter.
  • Coat outside of the bird with olive oil, and rub all over skin. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Roast turkey in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Then turn oven down to 325° F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg-thigh joint reads 160° F (approximately 4.5-5.5 hours). If the turkey gets too brown, loosely tent with aluminum foil.
  • When done, transfer the turkey to a platter, leaving the drippings in the pan for the gravy and cover the turkey loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Thanksgiving Lemon Sage Turkey

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#fbf to 1994 (ish) with my buds, @richardwiese and @wendirogerstv Bought that sport coat on sale for about 20 bucks because that’s all I had in the bank. Was 10% wool and 90% “other.” Got caught in the rain with it and smelled like wet dog ass all night.

Nine years ago, I made a vow to live my life based on three guiding principles: Love, Awe and Gratitude. Today, instead of feeling sad, angry or anxious about The Chew’s cancellation, I will look through the lens of Gratitude and thank: My cohosts, @chefsymon and @carlaphall, for being two of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. The crew and staff of The Chew for being so dedicated, hardworking and collaborative. Our viewers for allowing us into your homes each day to share a laugh and a recipe — and a cocktail. It’s been a fun run and I am so freakin’ lucky to have been a part of it. Much love, CK ❤️

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