This Keto Thanksgiving Turkey with Garlic and Herb Compound Butter will be the centerpiece of your holiday meal this year. The compound butter adds so much flavor and ensures the turkey won't dry out. This dish is keto, low-carb, grain-free, and gluten-free!
A Perfect Keto Thanksgiving Turkey Every Time
Look no further – this recipe takes all the stress out of making the perfect Keto Thanksgiving Turkey.
The holidays are stressful enough and nothing is more stressful than have to prepare a roasted turkey and serve it to a table full of guests. Eeeeek!!
That is why we created this recipe – because it results in a flavorful and juicy turkey every single time.
Read through this post to get all of our secrets for the perfect turkey to serve this Thanksgiving!
Our Foolproof Method
Contrary to popular opinion, we think the key to a perfect turkey is to keep it simple!
That means no time consuming brining before hand and no basting! Woohoo!
Our secret is using healthy fats (aka grass-fed butter) to do all the work to create a juicy, moist, and incredibly flavorful turkey.
Featured Recipe Video
Check out this video to see how to make our most popular recipe – Keto Zucchini Bread Whoopie Pies.
They are easy to make and so delicious!
Keto Thanksgiving Turkey 101
Before your prep and roast your turkey, let's go over some of the basics.
- How much turkey do I need? The general rule of thumb is that you need approximately 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. This means a 6 pound turkey would feed 4 people. If you are serving more guests, then buy a bigger turkey.
- When should I start defrosting my turkey? If you purchased a frozen turkey – make sure you plan ahead for THAWING TIME! This is the most common mistake that people make. You need a good day of thaw time in the fridge for every 5 pounds of turkey. So if you have a 10 pound turkey – put the turkey in the fridge on Tuesday morning so it is fully thawed when you want to start cooking in on Thanksgiving Thursday. Pro Tip: Place the turkey on a baking sheet when you transfer it to the fridge to that the excess moisture doesn't get all over your fridge.
- How do I know when my turkey is done? Use a meat thermometer!! It is truly the only way to tell if the turkey is cooked. You are looking for 165°F for a fully cooked turkey. Make sure when checking the turkey temperature that you stick the instant-read thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh, which the thickest piece of the turkey and cooks the slowest.
- How long do I wait before carving my turkey? Once out of the oven, let the turkey rest for at least 15-20 minutes before carving. Tent your turkey with a big piece of foil to keep it warm.
Choosing the Perfect Turkey
Quality in = quality out! So when choosing the turkey you are going to buy this Thanksgiving opt for the highest quality!
Look for labels such as “pastured”, “animal welfare certified”, “no antibiotic”and “no artificial ingredients”.
PRO TIP: We get our meats from ButcherBox (an online meat delivery service).
For a Juicy Turkey Use Garlic and Herb Compound Butter
Garlic and Herb Compound butter is so simple to make – just combine the butter with some minced garlic, fresh herbs of your choice, and some lemon juice.
We recommend making extra – then placing the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and rolling it into a log and twisting the ends to seal. Store the butter in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or up to 6 months in the freezer.
If freezing, cut the log into individual rounds and freeze separately. That makes it easy to use whenever you like. Melt it on steak, seafood, eggs, or cooked veggies and an ordinary meal becomes good enough for company.
Prepping The Keto Thanksgiving Turkey
Once your turkey is fully thawed (reminder – you need 1 day for every 5 pounds of turkey!) – it is time to get the turkey prepped.
Remove the turkey from it's packaging and remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. (CKL Tip: Save the neck in the freezer for your next batch of bone broth or stock
Rinse the turkey and pat it dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
Arrange the turkey breast side up, on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. If you don't have a roasting pan, don't worry! Just buy a $1 disposable foil roasting pan (then you can throw it away after).
PRO TIP: If you do just use a disposable roasting pan, make sure to add a bunch of chopped vegetables on the bottom of your pan. This will elevate your turkey and act like a roasting rack.
Stuff and Butter the Turkey
Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity and then place the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic inside the cavity of the bird.
Squeeze lemon juice into the cavity and add then add the squeezed lemon halves inside the cavity along with rosemary and thyme sprigs.
Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird.
Rub half of the compound butter under the skin of the bird, spreading the rest of the butter on top of the skin as well.
Season the skin with salt and pepper and tie the turkey drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
Roast the Turkey
Adjust your oven rack so the turkey will sit in the center of the oven and preheat your oven to 350°F.
The general rule for cooking a turkey is 15-20 minutes per pound at 350°F. So for a 6 pound turkey, you would roast the turkey for approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
We recommend rotating the pan 180 degrees, halfway through the cooking time.
Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into into the thickest part of the turkey thigh reads 165°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
The key to roasting a perfect Keto Thanksgiving Turkey is not to overcook it and dry out the meat so use that thermometer!
To Baste of Not to Baste?
We don't think basting is necessary especially when you have coated your turkey with compound butter, which will brown the turkey beautifully.
It also requires you opening your oven often, which releases heat and can result in a longer cooking time than needed and also a dry turkey.
PRO TIP: Do look through the oven window and check on the turkey skin. We like a browned crispy skin, but if you prefer a more golden smooth skin – cover the top of the turkey with tinfoil if it starts to get to dark for your liking.
Do I Need to Brine My Turkey?
If you buy a high-quality turkey (like our favorite ButcherBox brand), then brining the turkey isn't necessary.
If you want to brine your turkey, definitely feel free to! Just make sure to factor in the extra brining time when you are planning!
Make An Easy Gravy
Save all of your turkey pan drippings! Don't get rid of them and you can whip up a quick gravy.
We love a good roasted onion and garlic gravy – so in our turkey recipe below, we add in some extra onions and garlic to the roasting pan near the end of the cooking time.
Then we make a simple gravy using the turkey drippings, roasted onions and garlic and some butter and bone broth. The exact recipe is in the recipe card below.
Complete Your Keto Thanksgiving Meal!
Now that you have mastered your perfectly juicy and flavorful Thanksgiving Turkey, you need to serve it with some mouthwatering keto side dishes and dessert of course!
Here are our top picks to make your Thanksgiving unforgettable!
- Keto Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Sweet Maple Horseradish Sauce
- Keto Brie and Thyme Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crisped Shallots
- Keto Green Bean Casserole
- Keto Harvest Salad
- Keto Garlic Butter Mushrooms
- Keto Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Keto Pumpkin Pie
- Keto Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese
- Keto Zucchini Bread
- Keto Zucchini Bread Whoopie Pies
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
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For the Turkey
- 1 (6 pound) whole turkey, fresh or defrosted (if frozen)
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Kitchen twine
For the Roasted Garlic Onions (for the gravy)
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
For the Garlic and Herb Compound Butter
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) grass-fed butter at room temperature or ghee
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
For the Gravy (optional)
- ¼ cup ghee/grass-fed butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups bone broth or stock of choice (include all the turkey drippings here)
- Roasted Garlic and Onions from from the turkey
- Make the compound butter by adding all of the ingredients into a medium bowl and combining well.
- Set the butter aside and start preparing the turkey.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. (CKL Tip: Save the neck in the freezer for your next batch of bone broth!)
- Rinse the turkey and pat it dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
- Arrange the turkey breast side up, on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan.
- Adjust your oven rack so the turkey will sit in the center of the oven and preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity.
- Place one of the quartered onions, the carrots, the celery, and 4 garlic cloves inside the cavity of the bird.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon halves into the cavity and add the lemon halves inside the cavity along with the rosemary and thyme.
- Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird.
- Rub half of the compound butter under the skin of the bird, spreading the rest of the butter on top of the skin as well.
- Season the skin with salt and pepper.
- Tie the turkey drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
- Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 - 2 hours rotating the pan 180 degrees, halfway.
- Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into into the thickest part of the turkey thigh reads 165°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
- With about 30 minutes left, add the remaining onion quarters and halved garlic cloves coated in avocado oil to the bottom of the roasting pan to use in the gravy (optional).
- When the turkey is finished cooking, remove the roasting pan from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving the turkey.
- Remove the roasted onions, garlic cloves, and turkey drippings from pan and set aside to blend in the gravy (see recipe below).
For the Gravy (optional)
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee/grass-fed butter, rosemary, and cracked pepper.
- Cook until the fat has melted and the herbs are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the broth and turkey drippings and whisk well.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook for 10-15 minutes to reduce and thicken the gravy.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding to a blender.
- Add the liquid mixture plus the roasted onions and garlic from the turkey to the blender.
- Blend with caution (hot liquids can cause the blender lid to pop off) on high speed until creamy in appearance.
- Keep warmed until serving.
We Can't Wait To See You Try It!
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