Lemon-Thyme Split-Roasted Turkey


Tired of the same old Thanksgiving turkey? Give this citrusy, herby turkey recipe a try!

Lemon thyme split roasted turkey
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
30 mins
Roast Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Stand Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins


  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges

  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters

  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • ½ cup butter, softened

  • ¼ cup snipped fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (1 medium)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 8-10 pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed if frozen


  1. Position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large roasting pan combine onions, lemons, celery, thyme sprigs, and garlic; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl combine butter, snipped thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, shallot, oil, salt, and pepper; set aside.

  3. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; discard. Rinse turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, make a lengthwise cut down one side of the backbone, starting from the neck end. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Remove and discard backbone. Turn turkey, cut side down. Flatten turkey as much as possible with your hands. Cut off and discard tips of wings. Using kitchen shears or a large sharp knife, carefully cut through the entire breastbone, creating two equal halves.

  4. Rub herb-butter mixture over turkey on all sides, massaging some of the mixture underneath the skin. Place turkey halves, skin sides up, on top of vegetables in roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle. The thermometer should not touch bone.

  5. Roast, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the thermometer registers 175°F. (The juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.) Remove from oven. Cover turkey halves with foil; let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Discard vegetables in roasting pan.


For more citrus flavor, use a combination of lemons, limes, and oranges in the roasting pan. Low on fresh thyme? Use half the amount of fresh rosemary, sage, or tarragon instead.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

547 Calories
30g Fat
5g Carbs
57g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 547
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 207mg 69%
Sodium 821mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 57g
Vitamin C 18.3mg 92%
Calcium 30.3mg 2%
Iron 4.3mg 24%
Potassium 81mg 2%
Folate, total 4mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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