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A beautifully browned roasted turkey on a platter with grapes, carrots, and greens.
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4.56 from 9 votes

Make-Ahead Roast Turkey with Herb Butter and Balsamic

This easy make-ahead roast turkey will be the most succulent and flavorful turkey you've ever made, thanks to the herb butter and balsamic vinegar!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: poultry
Keyword: balsamic and herb roasted turkey,, roasted turkey, thanksgiving turkey
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 128kcal
Author: Renee - Kudos Kitchen


  • 1 12-14 pound turkey completely thawed with the neck and giblets removed.
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 stick butter softened to room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs combination of thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium onion roughy chopped
  • 2 medium carrots roughy chopped
  • 2 ribs celery roughy chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock


  • Dry the cavity and outside skin of the turkey with paper towels.
  • Season the inside cavity with 1 tablespoon of the salt and pepper mix you've prepared in a small bowl, reserved specifically for the turkey.
  • Pour 1 cup of balsamic vinegar liberally over the entire turkey, and allow the turkey to marinate with the vinegar at least 20 minutes, at room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
  • Stuff the cavity of the bird with the chopped onion, carrot, and celery.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter, the minced fresh herbs, and the remaining salt and pepper from the small bowl reserved for the turkey.
  • Gently run your hand between the turkey skin and the meat of the breast and lift the skin gently.
  • Pour ¼ cup of the remaining balsamic vinegar over the breast meat of the turkey and also rub approximately 3 tablespoons of the herbed butter mixture over the meat, under the skin.
  • Replace the skin on the breast and liberally slather the remaining herb butter mixture over the breast and leg area of the turkey.
  • Roast the turkey, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 350-degrees.
  • Add the chicken broth to the roasting pan, spooning the pan juices liberally over the turkey, and return the turkey back to the oven until the internal temperature of the turkey (using a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh area of the turkey) reads 165-degrees (approximately 2½ - 3 hours). *Note - If during that time the turkey appears to be browning beyond your liking, cover it with aluminum foil and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing.
  • Use the juices in the pan to make gravy, if desired.
  • *See notes if you plan on making the turkey in advance.



Make sure to remove the neck (found inside the bird, between the legs) and giblets (found under the skin flap between the wings, in a small bag) before preparing the turkey.
Use paper towels to dry the turkey inside the cavity and also the outside skin.
Separate the 3 tablespoons salt and one tablespoon pepper into a small bowl so cross-contamination of your seasonings does not happen when handling raw poultry.
Roasting and slicing of the turkey can be done 2 days prior to serving.
Once sliced, return the turkey to the cooking pan with all the juices.
Add additional fresh herbs to the pan, cover, and refrigerate.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before heating.
Keep covered and heat the turkey in a 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes.
Remove the turkey to a serving platter, discard the herbs, and use the turkey juices to make gravy, if desired.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.53g | Protein: 0.86g | Fat: 9.35g | Saturated Fat: 5.84g | Cholesterol: 24.37mg | Sodium: 2369.13mg | Fiber: 0.85g | Sugar: 5.98g