This quick Garlic Compound Butter for turkey is the easiest way to get a juicy delicious bird. These simple ingredients will add subtle flavors to compliment your brined turkey—and it’s also great to use on chicken, so save this compound butter recipe to use all year long!
Want to make your turkey even more delicious? Dry brine it before baking it with this butter!
Compound butter it’s nothing more than soft butter mixed with seasonings and herbs. Not only does it impart flavors onto meat, but it also helps the meat stay moist, while also adding an excellent, buttery mouthfeel.
This is a wonderful recipe for poultry, especially to ensure breast meat is flavorful and juicy.
I like to dry brine my turkey beforehand, so I tend to keep my compound butter for turkey pretty simple so the flavors aren’t fighting one another.
Truthfully, you can add any combination of herbs you like in this recipe.
I particularly love using fresh oregano, which brings in an earthiness, along with parsley, which brings fresh peppery taste, as well as orange zest, which adds sweetness and a beautiful subtle aroma, and of course, garlic or Brazilian sofrito!
I encourage you to have fun and make it your own!
Check out the instructions below, as well as the video to see how to make and apply the butter to poultry.
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- Room temperature butter—you can use unsalted or salted butter. Just bear in mind how you’re preparing your turkey. If you brined it with plenty of salt, consider using unsalted butter. I like to dry brine my turkey, so I use unsalted butter and add just a pinch of kosher salt to the butter.
- Zest from one whole large orange
- 1 tablespoon of Brazilian sofrito or garlic cloves—love garlic? Add more, boo! Be happy, you do you!
- Fresh herbs—I add oregano and parsley, but really, you can add any combo you like.
- Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe makes enough compound butter for a 10 pound turkey, but it’s easily doubled.
There’s also a handy button in the recipe card below that will double the recipe for you, too!
How to make compound butter:
Mise en place. Make sure your butter is sitting out at room temperature so it’s soft and spreadable. I like to leave mine on the counter for 30-45 minutes before I make the compound butter.
Zest your orange. Mince your herbs. Make your Brazilian sofrito or mince those garlic cloves, too.
Add the butter to a medium-sized bowl, and measure in the zest and the herbs. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and some black pepper, too.
Stir with a spatula to incorporate.
You can make this compound butter recipe ahead of time, too!
I keep it in a small mason jar in the refrigerator, then I take it out of the fridge about an hour or two before it’s time to use it. This allows the butter to get soft and spreadable again so you can apply it to poultry.
How to use compound butter
As I’ve said before, I like to dry brine my turkey for maximum flavor.
But if your turkey isn’t brined or seasoned, make sure you salt it liberally before applying this compound butter. (The general rule is 1 tablespoon per five pounds of meat.) Let it rest at least 20 mins so the salt can penetrate the meat before applying the butter.
Spread about half of the butter liberally under the skin of the chest area. Apply the rest beneath the skin on the thighs and over the skin everywhere. This will ensure for juicy meat and crispy skin!
Once the compound butter has been applied, it’s ready to bake!
Make sure you place the poultry on a rimmed baking sheet with a rack like this one to ensure heat circulates properly around the turkey to cook it more evenly and efficiently.
Bake the turkey
You’ll want to preheat the oven to 375F for at least an hour before baking so it’s piping hot to efficiently cook your bird.
Add about a cup of liquid to your baking sheet before you pop it in the oven to prevent drippings from burning. You can add wine or a combination of wine and orange juice—even water to keep it simple! Doing this will also keep moisture in the oven, which will keep your turkey juicy as it bakes.
The cooking time is going to be dependent on the size of your turkey. My spatchcocked turkey took about 7.5 minutes per pound. A traditional unstuffed turkey takes about 13 minutes per pound and a stuffed turkey takes about 15 minutes per pound.
Turkey is safe to consume at 165F for both thigh and breast. You can cook it until an internal thermometer reads 155-160F on the breast and 160-165F on the thighs, because residual heat should continue to bring the temperature up as it cools—usually by 5 to 10 degrees, assuming you didn’t put cold meat in the oven.
Other Turkey Recipes and Resources you’ll love:
What to serve with turkey:
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Cachaça Cranberry Sauce
- Brazilian Collard Greens with Bacon
- Farofa – Toasted Cassava Flour
- Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
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Compound Butter for turkey
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- zest from one whole orange about 2 teaspoons
- 1 tablespoon of Brazilian sofrito or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh oregano leaves, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all of the ingredients to medium-sized bowl.
- Stir with a spatula until combined.
- Use it on seasoned/salted/brined chicken or turkey up to 10 lbs. Apply and spread liberally under the skin of the chest area, then apply the rest under the skin on the thighs and over the skin all over.
- Bake as desired.