Delicious White Wine Basted Turkey Recipe for Thanksgiving

As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to start planning your Thanksgiving feast. And what’s better than a classic roasted turkey? A white wine basted turkey with herb butter, that’s what!

This recipe is the perfect way to elevate your turkey game and impress your guests. The secret to making a juicy and flavorful turkey is all in the basting. Using a dry white wine and herb butter mixture to baste the turkey as it roasts in the oven creates an unbeatable flavor profile.

Not only does the white wine add a depth of flavor to the turkey, but it also helps to keep it nice and moist. You’ll end up with a tender and juicy bird that your family and friends won’t be able to resist. And don’t worry, if you don’t drink alcohol, you can easily substitute the wine with chicken or vegetable broth.

So go ahead and give this white wine basted turkey recipe a try this Thanksgiving. Your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

White Wine Basted Turkey
White Wine Basted Turkey

Are you tired of the same old roasted turkey recipe that you cook every Thanksgiving? Give this White Wine Basted Turkey Recipe a try, and I guarantee that you will love it! This recipe is perfect for those who want to make their turkey extra juicy and flavorful.

The secret to a good Thanksgiving turkey is in the basting, and this recipe uses a delicious mixture of dry white wine, unsalted butter, and herbs to keep your turkey incredibly moist throughout the cooking process. The wine-based baste not only enhances the flavors of the meat but also gives it a lovely golden color.

This recipe is not only flavorful but also incredibly simple to prepare. You just have to mix herbs and butter together and rub them generously over your turkey, then pour your white wine mixture over it once it’s in the roasting pan. The rest of the work is done by your oven as your turkey cooks low and slow.

If you don’t want the hassle of preparing stuffing for your bird separately, then try stuffing it with herbs, cheese cloth, aromatics or onions before roasting; this will give an extra aromatic kick to the turkey while also acting as a natural roasting rack keeping the meat from sitting in its own juices.

What best pairs with this turkey recipe than white wine? The wine roasted turkey creates not only a juicy bird but also a rich white wine gravy that you can serve along with your meal. The self-made pan gravy is both robust and savory, making it an accompaniment that everyone will enjoy.

In conclusion, this White Wine Basted Turkey Recipe by Half Baked Harvest is an easy to make dish that has the potential to change Thanksgiving forever. There’s nothing quite like digging into juicy turkey meat that’s seasoned well with great flavors and whose whole body has been infused with delicious flavors from buttery herb baste mixed with dry white wine simmering beneath it as it roasts.

Ingredient List

 Basting the bird with the subtle flavors of white wine, herbs, and spices gives every bite a juicy and aromatic taste.
Basting the bird with the subtle flavors of white wine, herbs, and spices gives every bite a juicy and aromatic taste.

Here is a list of all ingredients you will need to make this delicious white wine basted turkey recipe:

Turkey and Stuffing:

  • 1 whole turkey (15 pounds)
  • Prepared stuffing
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Herb Butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley, finely chopped

White Wine Basting Mixture:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup chicken or turkey broth

White Wine Gravy:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Drippings from the roasted turkey
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Note: A cheese cloth is suggested for rubbing herb butter on the turkey breast.

The Recipe How-To

 A perfectly cooked white wine turkey is the star of any festive table and a reward for a job well done.
A perfectly cooked white wine turkey is the star of any festive table and a reward for a job well done.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Before we get started with cooking the turkey, we need to preheat the oven. Set your oven temperature to 325°F(165°C) and allow it to preheat. This will ensure that the turkey is cooked evenly.

Step 2: Prepare the turkey

Rinse the turkey under cold water and dry it with a paper towel. Make sure to remove any giblets or neck from inside the cavity of the turkey. Place the turkey on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Season it with salt and pepper, then carefully loosen the skin over the breast meat using your fingers.

Step 3: Herb butter roasted turkey

To make herb butter mixture, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, sage or rosemary or mix them up based on your preference, then mix together. Spread generously all over and underneath the loosened skin of the turkey, massaging oil into meat’s surface.

Step 4: Wine baste the turkey

In a mixing bowl or measuring cup whisk together wine baste ingredients; 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup white wine or dry white wine – for sauvignon blanc lovers, simmer it over medium heat until they are well combined. Once combined, move onto basting by using a brush to gently coat mixture onto entire surface area of turkey.

Step 5: Roast the turkey

Place Turkey inside preheated oven and let cook. As it starts to turn golden brown beautifully due to butter-wine coating on meat, gently spoon mix onto bird in thirty-minute batch intervals. Accompany by using large foil paper piece added into oven when bird is first added roasting pan.

Step 6: Checking if turkey is done cooking

As turkey cooks, use meat thermometer to check its progress every time you baste it. The thickest part of the turkey should register at least 165F (74C) before it’s considered safe to eat

Step 7: Let rest and carve

Once your turkey is finished cooking, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a tender, juicy turkey. Carve your turkey and serve alongside your favorite side dishes.

This recipe will definitely make this year’s Thanksgiving herb roasted turkey recipe unforgettable.

Substitutions and Variations

 The crispy golden skin of the turkey paired with the delicate white wine sauce is an exquisite culinary masterpiece.
The crispy golden skin of the turkey paired with the delicate white wine sauce is an exquisite culinary masterpiece.

If you’re looking to change things up a bit, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can make to this white wine basted turkey recipe.

Instead of using white wine, try a dry red wine like Pinot Noir or Merlot for a deeper flavor profile. You could also swap out the herb butter for a different seasoning blend, such as Cajun or Italian. If you’re not a fan of stuffing, you can omit it or replace it with another side dish, such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes.

For those who prefer a dairy-free option, you can substitute the unsalted butter with olive oil or coconut oil. To make the recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free bread for the stuffing and substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend in the gravy recipe.

If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd, you can use just the turkey breast instead of the whole turkey or purchase a pre-cooked turkey and baste it in the white wine mixture. For added flavor, try adding some citrus zest to the wine mixture or using different types of fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme.

By playing around with these substitutions and variations, you can create your own unique twist on this classic white wine basted turkey recipe that will surely impress everyone at your Thanksgiving table.

Serving and Pairing

 This is not your grandma's plain old roasted turkey. The fragrance and richness of the wine, along with the right amount of seasonal herbs, is a game-changer.
This is not your grandma’s plain old roasted turkey. The fragrance and richness of the wine, along with the right amount of seasonal herbs, is a game-changer.

Now that you have a juicy turkey and a flavorful gravy, it’s time to think about what to serve alongside it. And I have to say, this white wine basted turkey pairs incredibly well with a variety of side dishes.

If you’re seeking something traditional, you can’t go wrong with classic sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, and stuffing. But if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, consider serving it with roasted vegetables such as Brussels sprouts or carrots. You can also add some cranberry sauce to compliment the savory flavor of your turkey.

When it comes to drinks, why not continue the white wine theme and enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio which pair perfectly with the flavors of the herb butter and citrus we used in this recipe.

And don’t forget the leftovers – this turkey makes great sandwiches or can be used in tacos or as a topping for salads for a little variety. Whatever way you choose to eat it, this turkey is sure to be the star of your meal.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You don't have to be a culinary genius to master this recipe. White wine, a trusty baster
You don’t have to be a culinary genius to master this recipe. White wine, a trusty baster

The beauty of this white wine basted turkey recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and store it properly for later reheating. Preparing the turkey the night before can save you a lot of time and effort on Thanksgiving day.

To make-ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions up until roasting the turkey. After stuffing and seasoning your turkey, wrap it tightly in cheesecloth or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to roast.

When reheating, be sure to take the turkey out of the fridge at least an hour before putting it back in the oven. This will allow the bird to warm up to room temperature, which will help to ensure even cooking. Then, place it back into a preheated oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.

Storing your leftover turkey is just as easy. Simply store any excess meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. You may also freeze the cooked meat for up to three months. When reheating leftovers, you can use either an oven or microwave, but be careful not to overheat as this can cause the meat to dry out.

Lastly, don’t forget to save those pan drippings! The pan drippings are used to create a delicious white wine gravy that can be stored separately from the turkey. The gravy can be made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to three months. Simply reheat on the stove-top whenever you’re ready to use it.

So whether you’re planning ahead for Thanksgiving dinner or simply storing leftovers, this white wine basted turkey recipe makes both preparation and reheating a breeze!

Tips for Perfect Results

One of the most important things to ensure when cooking a turkey is that it stays moist and juicy. Here are some tips to help you achieve the ultimate White Wine Basted Turkey recipe:

1. Use a meat thermometer: This will ensure that your turkey is fully cooked but not overdone, which can cause it to become dry.

2. Brine your turkey: Soak your turkey in a saltwater solution before cooking, it helps to keep the moisture in.

3. Let the turkey rest: Once the turkey is out of the oven or off the grill, let it sit for at least 15 minutes, allowing juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

4. Baste frequently: Basting with white wine and unsalted butter adds flavor and moisture to your bird.

5. Use melted herb butter: Brushing melted herb butter on top of the breast meat halfway through cooking will create an extra layer of flavor and keep the meat moist.

6. Cover with foil: Tent foil over your roasting pan during the final 30 minutes of cook time to prevent drying out but ensure even browning.

7. Save pan drippings: After cooking your turkey, be sure to save any liquid from your roasting pan for making a delicious wine gravy.

8. Slice it right: Always carve against the grain and make sure each slice has plenty of juice on it before serving.

Follow these tips and not only will you have a beautifully roasted turkey, but also a juicy and flavorful one that everyone will enjoy!


As we approach the end of this recipe article, let’s address some frequently asked questions about this white wine basted turkey recipe. These questions have come up from many cooks who have tried and loved this recipe, and we thought it would be helpful to answer them in one place. So, read on to find out more!

What is the best white wine to baste a turkey with?

When it comes to pairing wine with turkey, one of my go-to options is Chardonnay. This wine is a perfect match for a classic roasted bird, especially because it has the ability to enhance the flavors of the meal. In particular, the herb notes used in basting the turkey pair exceptionally well with the crisp sweetness of Chardonnay.

Is white wine good for cooking turkey?

A key component to the delicious gravy is a full bottle of dry white wine that gets slow-cooked with the turkey drippings. This infusion of wine not only complements the acidity of the juices, but also contributes to the tenderness of the turkey. For this technique, you can go with a crisp and dry sauvignon blanc or opt for a fruity pinot grigio.

What is best to baste a turkey with?

When it comes to turkey, a delicious and flavorful basting can make all the difference. My personal recommendation is to mix melted butter, a dash of broth, and a generous amount of herbs for a mouth-watering turkey. Another popular option is to use the pan drippings or juices from the bottom of the roasting pan to baste the turkey and infuse it with even more flavor.

Should a turkey be basted while cooking?

One thing to keep in mind while cooking a bird is to avoid basting the skin, as it’s not essential to impart flavor to the meat. In fact, each time the oven is opened to baste, heat escapes, which, in turn, leads to a longer cooking time and contributes to the meat getting dry. It’s better to let the bird cook in the oven with the desired seasoning and let it rest before carving it to perfection.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the White Wine Basted Turkey Recipe is a must-try for everyone who loves juicy and flavorful roasted turkey. The herb butter and white wine mixture make the perfect baste for your turkey, resulting in a succulent and aromatic dish that your family and guests will love. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious Thanksgiving turkey or Sunday dinner centerpiece that will impress everyone.

What’s best about this recipe is its adaptability. You can use different varieties of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, to achieve unique flavor profiles. You can also substitute the turkey with chicken or use the baste with other roasts.

But the real secret to making a flavorful gravy is using the pan drippings and incorporating them with butter, flour, and chicken/turkey stock. This creates a rich and tangy sauce that complements your roasted meat perfectly.

In summary, this recipe is a fantastic way to elevate your cooking game and impress your loved ones with a delicious roasted dish. So give it a try this Thanksgiving or any day you want to celebrate with something special. Trust me; it’ll be worth it!

White Wine Basted Turkey

White Wine Basted Turkey Recipe

From a KC Star newspaper article, originally a MS recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 1516.4 kcal


  • 1 (20 lb) fresh turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted,plus
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • classic prepared stuffing
  • 1 cup dry red wine or 1 cup white wine, for gravy (optional)
  • giblet stock


  • Serves 12 to 14 If your roasting pan only fits sideways in the oven, turn the pan every hour so the turkey cooks and browns evenly.
  • For step-by-step photos, see our Roast Turkey and Gravy feature.
  • Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels.
  • Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Place rack on lowest level in oven.
  • Heat oven to 450°.
  • Combine melted butter and white wine in a bowl.
  • Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, four-layer square.
  • Immerse cheesecloth in the butter and wine; let soak.
  • Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan.
  • Remove pop up time if there is one, use regular meat thermometer in thick part of leg.
  • Fold wing tips under turkey.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey.
  • (Stuff loosely if you choose, I do not stuff) Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later).
  • Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks.
  • Rub turkey with the softened butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper.
  • Lift cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp.
  • Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey; it can cover some of the leg area.
  • Place turkey, legs first, in oven.
  • Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Using a pastry brush, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°, and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes, you will need to reheat the butter-wine mixture occasionally as the butter will harden.
  • Watch pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
  • After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth.
  • Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven.
  • Baste turkey with pan juices.
  • If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine.
  • The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully.
  • Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
  • After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Do not poke into a bone.
  • The temperature should reach 180° (stuffing should be between 140° and 160°) and the turkey should be golden brown.
  • The breast does not need to be checked for temperature.
  • If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the gravy.
  • Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup.
  • Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off.
  • Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan.
  • Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan.
  • Add giblet stock to pan.
  • Stir well, and bring back to a boil.
  • Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more.
  • You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy.
  • Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 697gCalories: 1516.4kcalCarbohydrates: 2.4gProtein: 154.9gFat: 87.5gSaturated Fat: 34.1gCholesterol: 585.7mgSodium: 887.1mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.7g
Keyword High In..., High Protein, Meat, Poultry, Very Low Carbs, Whole Turkey
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