/ / / /

Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey

This post may contain affiliate links. See site Terms here.   

Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey

This Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey is flavorful and bright – this recipe will make it easy for you this Thanksgiving.

In preparation for Thanksgiving I thought I’d post my favorite roasted turkey recipe—Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey. I’ve made it for years now (10+) for Thanksgiving and it always turns out delicious! I have the gobs of butter rubbed on the skin to thank for that… and it smells amazing! The onions and oranges along with the rosemary roasting all day are heavenly.

Honestly I think making turkey is the easiest part of Thanksgiving… just get it in and let it cook all day. You just need to get your hands a little dirty first 😉

(Click here to see my other Thanksgiving recipes.)

Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey

This Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey is flavorful and bright – this recipe will make it easy for you this Thanksgiving.
Serving amount depends on weight of turkey.
Author Shannon Lyon


  • 1 whole turkey (any weight works, the cooking time will depend on the weight)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped to release flavors
  • 2 yellow onions, rough chopped into chunks
  • 4 large oranges (zest then chop into quarters) (reserve zest)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper



  • I start by chopping and measuring everything, before I’ve even touched the turkey—this helps keep your kitchen and hands as clean as possible.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Get out your roasting pan.
  • First zest the skin on all of the oranges.
    Rough chop the onions and oranges (leave skin on oranges) into chunks.
    Dump into a large bowl and add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix oranges and onions to completely coat with oil and zest and rosemary. Set aside.
  • Now it’s time to prep the turkey. Get out three plastic grocery bags. One will go over your hand to pull out the turkey innards, and the other two layer together and set next to the sink. This is where you’ll put all the trash.
  • Next to your sink place the extra plastic sack, paper towels, roasting pan, string, bowl with oranges and onions, and butter.
  • This sink prep will help keep the process as clean as possible.
    Clean out both sides of your sink. Put the trash bag sacks on one side of the sink. The turkey will go in the other.
    Get your bleach cleaner and paper towels out and handy.
    Get your turkey out of the refrigerator and cut off the packaging and stick the packaging in the trash bag in the sink. Put the extra plastic bag over your hand, stick your hand into the turkey and pull out the innards—sometimes they are in a bag and sometimes they are loose. This should include the giblets and the turkey neck. (Some turkeys only have one of these – some have none). Pull your hand out, pull the bag over them and toss them into the trash sack. Now turn on cold water and rinse off the turkey. You’ll need to fill the inside with water too and turn it upside down to get all the blood off.
  • Next look to see if there is a neck still attached at the top of the turkey. If so you need to snap it off and throw it in the trash sack. Give it a good rinsing and then pat it dry with paper towels and set it in the roasting pan.
  • Thoroughly clean off the counter, and the sink with soap and water and bleach spray.


  • Set out all mixture of oranges, onions, olive oil so it's easily accessible on the counter.
    Also set out your softened butter
  • Take the chopped oranges and onions out of the olive oil mixture and stuff as many as you can into the cavity of the bird. Reserve the rest of the oil in the bowl. You’ll need this for coating the turkey later.
    Any extra oranges and onions that don't fit inside the bird, set in the bottom of the roasting pan. These make delicious gravy drippings.
  • Next grab a sharp knife – on the skin just above the opening where you stuffed in the oranges and onions, pull the skin up and cut it with a small slit, so you can slide your hand under the skin, onto the turkey breast. Grab a chunk of the softened butter with your hands and rub it all over the chicken breast (under the skin). Rub butter underneath all the skin on top and then rub butter on the outside of the skin too. Rub butter all over the turkey.
  • Grab the remaining olive oil from the orange bowl and rub the olive oil/rosemary mixture all over the turkey. Rub in on the top, bottom, and sides too.
  • Grab your string and tie the legs together as tightly as you can to hold the shape of the turkey and keep it together. (Some turkeys come with a pre-tied plastic holder on the turkey legs – this can be cooked with the turkey, so just leave that on).
    Put water in the roasting pan, about 3 inches up the side.
  • Place roasting pan in the oven and use the chart below to determine cook time based on weight of turkey.
    (These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.)
  • Cooking time:
  • Cook the turkey uncovered until the skin is a light golden brown color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent.
    If you still want the skin more golden brown, during the last 20 minutes of baking, you can remove the foil tent to brown the skin more – it will still get browned even with a loose piece of foil covering it.
  • The turkey is done when the thickest part of the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 – 155° degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
    If you cook it too long it will be dry, so watch the temperature at the end closely!
    You can also cut into the turkey to see if the juices run clear, but this isn't as accurate as a thermometer reading.
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes, covered in foil, before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.
  • Once you're ready to eat, carve the turkey and place on a serving platter.
  • Note about temperature: I’ve gotten a lot of questions about keeping your turkey from being dry.
    The biggest factor is making sure you don’t cook it too long. If your turkey is dry, it is probably because you cooked it too long. Use a thermometer and take the turkey out once it reaches 155°F.
    Some say 165°F is the temperature you should cook it to but I’ve actually found 155°F to be a better temperature so I did some research on it –
    As long as you rest the turkey for at least 10 minutes before you eat it, any of the bacteria will be killed if cooked to 155°F.
    If you’re worried go only to 165°F and no higher!
    If you go over 165°F, it will be dry.
    Make sure to grab a digital meat thermometer now to have on hand!
  • Turkey “Poppers”: Do not cook the turkey until the pop-up pops up! By the time the pop up pops, your turkey will already be overcooked and dry. Remember when you remove the turkey from the oven that it will continue to cook for up to ten minutes, so if you remove the turkey at 180-185 degrees, as most poppers do, your turkey could then reach an internal temp of 190 or higher.


Additional Tools needed:
  • roasting pan
  • basting tube or brush
  • meat thermometer
  • string for tying legs (can use dental floss)
  • lots of paper towels + bleach cleaner

Hope you love this Turkey. Be sure tag me me @plumstreetcollective on Instagram with this or any other of your Holiday recipes.

Happy Holidays!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating