Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter {Recipe} {Thanksgiving Dinner Roundup}

When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we often divide cooking duties, with each family providing one or two dishes. But the host always provides the turkey. So when I decided to host a virtual Thanksgiving Dinner, I signed up to provide the main dish.

I’ve been known to mix things up for Thanksgiving — replacing the typical candied yams with sweet potato soufflé; serving cranberry compote in place of relish; even (once) making oyster stuffing. And my family is (mostly) tolerant of my experiments and exploits.

But you don’t mess with the turkey. You season it. You roast it. You serve it.

So when I saw this recipe in Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?, I decided I’d better test it out ahead of time to make sure it was “traditional” enough for the Thanksgiving table.

The unique thing about this recipe, and what immediately caught my eye, is the use of truffle butter to season the turkey and keep it moist. I checked several local stores but didn’t find it. I knew I could probably find some at Whole Paycheck, but the closest one is about 45 minutes away. So I did what I always do in these situations: I made my own truffle butter.

I made this turkey for dinner a couple of nights ago, along with a few other recipes I wanted to try out for possible inclusion on the Thanksgiving table (stuffed pumpkin with rice and peas; Indiana persimmon pudding; and stuffing made with buttermilk cottage dill bread). It was without question the best turkey I’ve ever had. The meat was moist and flavorful; the skin salty, crispy, and delicious.

Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter


  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, preferably fresh
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces truffle butter, at room temperature
  • Truffle salt
  • 1 yellow or white onion, unpeeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme (10 – 12 sprigs)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity, drain juices from turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle cavity with Kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Gently work your fingers (wear gloves if you’re squeamish) between turkey skin and breast meat. Loosen skin of breast, legs, and thighs. Rub about 3 ounces of the truffle butter under skin, covering breast, thighs, and legs. It’s easiest to do this by pushing butter under skin, then rubbing the top of skin to cover meat well.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, in roasting pan. Stuff cavity of bird with onion, garlic, and 8 sprigs thyme. Tuck wings under body and tie legs with kitchen twine.
  4. Melt remaining truffle butter and brush generously over turkey (use it all). Sprinkle with truffle salt, freshly ground black pepper, and remaining thyme leaves, pulled from stems.
  5. Roast turkey for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until breast meat registers 160°F on a meat thermometer. Cover loosely with foil about halfway through roasting time to prevent skin from overbrowning.
  6. Remove from oven, cover tightly with heavy-duty foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
  7. While the turkey is resting, skim grease from pan juices (there will be a lot of grease), and thicken the juices to make a delicious gravy.

This turkey is definitely making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table. And I suspect it will be making repeat appearances for years to come.


  1. December 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    […] tasty turkey research took me to this turkey recipe.  It sounds lovely, especially the mention of garlic and truffle butter! It definitely has […]

  2. Heather said,

    November 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    My husband and I decided last year that we’d start doing prime rib roasts for xmas dinner because we were tired of turkey. But having seen this post, I think turkey is back on the menu. I’m doing a test run on this tonight for dinner, only with a chicken instead. I’m so excited because I love truffles – and thanks to you I now know how to make my own truffle butter!! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Can’t wait for dinner! (And to think I’ve had Ina’s book on my shelf all this time and somehow missed this recipe!!)

    • gaaarp said,

      November 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      I know the feeling. I have this book, too, but I actually saw the recipe online first.

  3. Sara said,

    November 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    This looks amazing. And I really want to make that truffle butter!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      Both the truffle butter and turkey are so easy. And crazy good!

  4. mike said,

    November 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I’m in the truffle oil camp of never using! But will have to get a bottle at World Market – the bird looks wonderfully and evenly browned! Impressed at the butter-making as well. Leave it to Ina… I love that remark “how easy…” it’s classic.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Now that I know how good truffle butter is, and what a wonderful flavor the truffle oil adds to dishes, I’m going to stock up on it.

  5. November 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Interesting. I am in the midst of thanksgiving menu planning at the moment and I admit that you have piqued my curiosity with this one. How strong would you say the truffle taste was? Subtle or strong?

    • gaaarp said,

      November 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Subtle, but definitely there. Check out the Thanksgiving Dinner Roundup for more great recipe ideas!

  6. Trix said,

    November 9, 2011 at 7:32 am

    This looks wonderful – crispy skin, juicy meat. Could you still taste the truffle after cooking? I imagine it would be more of an aroma thing? Lerrrve truffle butter.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      You could still taste the truffles, in addition to the aroma.

  7. Kayte said,

    November 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Wow, that is some Thanksgiving bird…the best ever means I have to try it and while I am not in charge of the bird for the family dinner, I do make a turkey for us this time of year (when you visit for Thanksgiving you never have any leftovers!). Thanks for hosting this dinner…now how can we make it so that we can all do this in person sometime?

    • gaaarp said,

      November 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      I would LOVE for us all toget together for Thanksgiving, or any other meal!

      This bird is so good, I’m afraid there won’t be enough leftovers. So I bought an extra bird at the grocery the other day (they were on sale for $0.69/lb; how could I not buy it?), which I’m going to roast the day before Thanksgiving as a “leftover” bird.

  8. nancy/n.o.e. said,

    November 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    to answer Ina’s question: it’s as easy as sourcing truffle butter — or making your own, lol! this really does look like a great turkey, thanks for hosting this fun event and bringing the bird.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      I soon gave up looking for truffle butter and decided to make my own. It was so good, I’m going to make a pound of it next time and wrap it in 4 oz packages for the freezer.

  9. Peggy said,

    November 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I have no idea what truffle butter even is, but I would love to try thiis turkey this year. I would not know where to even start to look for it? I love turkey and along with a fabulous day of food and family, it is usually my birthday too! But sssh, I don’t want anyone to know I’m getting older! 🙂 I really think your turkey is beautiful.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Peggy. If you have a Whole Foods or something like that, you can probably find truffle butter there. The grocery store should have truffle oil, and it’s easy to make your own truffle butter with that (not to mention way cheaper).

  10. November 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    This looks incredible! Thanks for sharing!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks! It’s definitely worth hunting for or making truffle butter.

  11. Renee said,

    November 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Beautiful!!! Makes my mouth water!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks. Mine, too!

  12. Di said,

    November 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Abby stole my comment. =P Your turkey really does look good. Every Thanksgiving we eat later than I plan because I’m late getting started or things take longer than planned. This event is no different–hopefully my contribution will be done by the end of the day. =)

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks. I’m making a panini with leftover turkey for lunch. It’s the best turkey ever!

      No worries on your post. There are still a few dishes to arrive. I’m hoping to post the roundup by mid-week.

  13. Karen said,

    November 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Truffles are an all time favorite. From the look of your photo, that turkey looks juicy and crispy at the same time.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

      It was! And the truffles add an amazing flavor to the turkey.

  14. November 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

    That looks too amazing…

  15. Abby said,

    November 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

    That is one gorgeous bird! I’ve never been able to convince myself to purchase truffle oil, but I am sorely tempted to try this recipe, and your recipe for truffle butter…….

    • gaaarp said,

      November 6, 2011 at 9:59 am

      I bought a small bottle at Cost Plus World Market. It wasn’t terribly expensive, and a little goes a long way. This recipe is definitely worth the splurge!

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