The Secret to Crispy-Skinned Roast Turkey with Videos by author Cleo Coyle

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This herb-butter recipe makes one beautiful bird with crispy, golden brown skin and meat that's full of flavor. The secret to the skin is butter--oil alone won't do it. And the key to flavoring the meat is placing the herb butter in the pocket beneath the turkey skin and right next to the breast meat. 

When you apply herbs and seasonings only on top of the skin, the skin is flavored but not so much the meat underneath. This method allows the herbs and seasonings to penetrate the meat--and the butter helps to keep the meat moist, as well. 

If you've never done this, it's a technique worth learning because the flavor it imparts is wonderful!

May you too cook with love and eat with joy...

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To continue reading this post,
scroll down or click here...

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.

A Note from Cleo

In our house, there is no such
thing as too much turkey! 

Whether you’re having a big party (and want some extra white meat) or you’re having an intimate gathering, consider the turkey breast. During my husband’s childhood, his family celebrated Thanksgiving by cooking a whole stuffed turkey and an unstuffed turkey breast. Their guests enjoyed all that extra white meat, and Marc’s family loved having plenty of leftovers, especially for open-faced turkey sandwiches.

Marc and I now roast turkey breasts like this one all year long. They’re easy to make, a pleasure to eat, and economical—far cheaper than buying turkey lunch meat at the deli (and much tastier). We use the extra white meat for turkey salads and turkey pot pies, too. 

You can also adapt this method for use on a larger, whole turkey. Simply double the ingredients for the herb-butter slurry and adjust your cooking time. Consult with your large turkey’s package directions, and be sure to add cooking time for a stuffed turkey, which takes longer than an unstuffed bird. However you enjoy Thanksgiving (with or without turkey), we hope you will...

Cook with love and eat with joy!

 ~ Cleo, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To download this recipe in a
free PDF document that you can
print, save, or share,
 click here

🍗 Cleo's Crispy-Skinned 
Roast Turkey Breast
with Herb Butter

Yield: Makes one 5 to 8 pound turkey breast
(for a larger, whole bird, see my note* below)


fresh turkey breast, bone-in, skin on, 5 to 8 pounds (
If using frozen, see my second note** below on thawing.)

1-½ stick (12 tablespoons) salted butter, divided

1 tablespoons olive oil (+ a bit more for greasing)

1 tablespoon Bell Seasoning (or 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning)

1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 tablespoon dried, ground sage 

1/2 tablespoon white pepper

1/2 tablespoon coarsely ground sea salt (or pink salt)

*For a larger, whole turkey, double the ingredients for the herb-butter slurry and adjust your cooking time. Consult with your large turkey’s package directions, and be sure to add cooking time for a stuffed turkey, which takes longer than an unstuffed bird. 

If using a frozen breast, be sure to thaw it first. For some great tips on how to thaw a turkey breast safely, click here. And remember...

Never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature or in hot water because these methods promote the growth of dangerous bacteria. Instead, thaw your frozen turkey in the fridge or in cold water. Again, click here for info on safe thawing methods and thawing times by weight.


Step 1—Prep the turkey and pan: First preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (Temperature may be lower for a larger, whole bird. See the instructions on your turkey's packaging.) Wash the turkey breast thoroughly, inside and out. Let it dry at room temperature for about 20 minutes. For easy cleanup, line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil and place a rack inside. Grease the rack well with olive oil. 

Step 2—Make the slurry: Soften 1 stick of butter. In a small bowl. combine the soft butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, Bell seasoning (or poultry seasoning), rosemary, thyme, sage, white pepper, and sea salt. Blend until you have a soft paste. The slurry should take on an herbal green hue.  

Making the herb butter slurry...

Step 3—Create pockets beneath skin: Lift the skin of the turkey breast as shown below. Using a tablespoon, gently separate the skin from the meat on one side of the breast and then the other. You are making "pockets," which you will fill with herb butter in the next step. Note that the videos below have been sped up a bit. Be sure to take your time and be gentle. Try not to rip the skin...

Use a tablespoon to make a pocket
on one side of the turkey breast...

...and then the other sider.

Remember that we sped up these videos.
You should take your time with this process.
Be gentle and go very slowly to avoid
ripping the skin.

Step 4—Stuff the pockets with herb butter: Using clean fingers, stuff about three-quarters of the herb-butter slurry into the pockets you made between the skin and the breast meat. Begin by pushing a bit of the butter all the way down, into each pocket, and continue adding more butter, filling each pocket and spreading the softened butter to cover the entire breast. Use the remaining slurry to completely coat the outside of the turkey breast. Then place the turkey on the greased rack of your roasting pan.

Stuff the herb-butter slurry
into the "pockets" between
 the skin and the breast meat.

Slather the remaining slurry around
the outside of the turkey breast and
 place the breast on the pan's rack.

Step 5—Roast the turkey breast: Place the turkey on the center rack of the preheated oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Turn the pan once or twice during cooking to ensure the breast roasts evenly. During the last 45 minutes of roasting, melt the remaining ½ stick of butter (2 ounces) and baste generously with that and the pan drippings, every ten to fifteen minutes. The butter will turn the skin a nice golden brown. NOTE: To prevent skin from browning too much near the end of the cooking process, loosely tent aluminum foil around the breast until finished. 

Step 6—Finish the turkey breast: When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (or the automatic timer in the breast pops), remove turkey breast from the oven. Lift the turkey breast and rack from the cooking pan so you can make gravy with the pan drippings. Tent foil over the breast to keep warm and allow it to rest at room temperature at least 20 minutes before carving—this resting time is important for the juices to re-collect so your breast meat will stay moist and you can...

Eat with Thanksgiving joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Cleo (Alice) with her husband Marc

Visit Cleo's online coffeehouse here.
And follow her at these links...

Our 20th 

Coffeehouse Mystery!

Bulletproof Barista

To Buy:


"Scads of red herrings, peeks behind the show-biz curtain, and bountiful appended recipes will leave fans smiling contentedly."


"This twentieth Coffeehouse mystery (after Honey Roasted) brings together the history of the shop, ripped-from-the-headlines plot elements, [and] the drama of on-site filming."

Paperback Edition!

Includes a mini guide
to honey varieties
and a wonderful menu
of delicious recipes...

Click here or on the image above
for Cleo Coyle's Free Illustrated
Recipe Guide to Honey Roasted

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling works
of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark 
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the 
20 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  

Get a free Title Checklist of
Cleo Coyle's Books in Order
Click here 
or on the image below.

Don't Miss Our New
Haunted Bookshop


Jack & Pen 
Together Again!


~ Fresh Fiction

"DELIGHTFUL" ~ Kirkus Reviews

To Buy:


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+ Many More Buy Links


Cleo is now working on her 
next book and 

Don't miss her book news, 
bonus recipes, and fun 

prize package giveaways!



  1. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for the wonderful recipes and books!

  2. That plate of food looks so good. I ended up with a whole turkey because it was cheaper. I have been a fan of yours for sometime, and always look forward to anything new from you. (

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for all the great recipes and books! Karen Lotito (

  4. Happy Thanksgiving. Do you deliver?

  5. Mysteries combined with food are the bomb. Your titles are so clever and unique, Cleo. (

  6. I just finished Dead Cold Brew and can't wait for the next book.

  7. This looks amazing, I may have to make it this year.

  8. Delectable and wonderful. Your recipes are enticing and your books captivating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. YOU AND YOUR BOOKS ARE DELICIOUS! I enjoy your books and newsletter very much and look forward to each new one. Thank you,and congratulations on every accolade and glowing review! kaykau

  10. What a wonderful recipe! Looks delicious. rachelkb at gmail dot com

  11. I would love to win this prize, but I'd more love to eat that yummy looking turkey with you! Congratulations, you deserve every good thing that is coming your way. e.froneb

  12. Happy Thanksgiving!! My first 6 letters of email are actually my first


  13. Just another manic Monday....then your email pops in and I'm thinking of food, family, good books...and I'm smiling. Keep it up, Cleo!!! have a happy Thanksgiving! @profholl

  14. That recipe for crispy-skinned turkey looks delicious! Unfortunately, I'm not the one who makes the turkey for Thanksgiving - but I'll have to see how well it will translate to a chicken, and have that for dinner in a couple weeks. Thanks for sharing!
    [email (first 6 chars): LadyCr*****]

  15. Love your video and recipe for the turkey with crispy skin! I love this and can't wait to try it! The video helped me to see how this actually works! Wonderful and brilliant! Thank you for sharing your books with all of us! It is so much fun to read them and learn from you!

  16. This is a great recipe. Thanks for sharing, thanks for the giveaway, and Happy Thanksgiving! aut106

  17. Great giveaway! I've made your pumpkin pie cupcakes and they are delicious. I love how you include recipes in your books. Happy and safe Thanksgiving.
    donnaing1(at)gmail(dot) com

  18. Happy Thanksgiving! and you're right, there is no such thing as too much turkey! I love this series. :) annelo

  19. What a great recipe and cooking tip. Next time we do a turkey we will definitely have to try that.

  20. I absolutely loved your walking tour, both the pictures and the videos. Just loved them all. Thanks.

  21. You are right on the money! This is the best way to flavor/season a turkey...whole or just the breast. I always use fresh herbs, butter and olive oil...yummy! Thanks for your great stories. Love them all!!!

  22. Great technique! going to give it a try. trotsk

  23. Thanks for the great recipe for turkey breast looks so yummy.

  24. I love having your website to look recipes up on, as I'm devoted to *listening* to your books (and the recipes obviously aren't included). Thanks for the turkey tips!

  25. House �� & Bed bound this Holiday season, giving me plenty of time to read the lastest Coffeehouse Mystery, sad �� that I will not have the traditional food fare but your recipe has me drooling ��, wishing you a blessed and Very HaPpY Thanksgiving ������ Gobble-Gobble

  26. Thankyou for the great tips. Happy Thanksgiving! minishoes(at)msn(dot)com

  27. the turkey looks delicious.
    I've always covered it so it
    never gets crispy. Have
    to try your way of doing it.
    thanks. Looking forward
    to the new coffee book.

  28. Great recipe. Becoming part of my Thanksgiving traditions. Thank you! Your books have given me so many hours of enjoyment, and I look forward to even more. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Fran

  29. I love getting your newsletters! Thanks for the chance. dr(dot)old

  30. Thanks for all of the wonderful stories and recipes. Happy Thanksgiving! mjmphi

  31. What perfect timing! I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the again for the first time in many years and am a bit anxious about the turkey roasting. Your recipe sounds like something I can handle. Hope I win the prize since I'll be 81 on December 6. It would be a wonderful birthday gift. Happy Thanksgiving.

  32. The food looks so good, I wish that my niece and her husband would make simple food for Thanksgiving.

    Nancy B

  33. Happy Thanksgiving Cleo! Love your posts! There is no such thing as too much turkey! martha

  34. Just like all your recipes, it sounds delicious. I think I may try this one as my family usually doesn't like turkey since it is dry and this may make them believers.
    Kyle D-H

  35. I love reading your books :)

  36. Happy Thanksgiving!


  37. This is how my mom taught me to roast a turkey, not the exact same herbs, etc.. but close!! It comes out delicious. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway and Happy Thanksgiving to you. darholley1 at aol dot com

  38. I, too like turkey breasts year round and yours looks mouth watering. Thanks for the recipe. darlen

  39. We just tried this on a turkey breast and it was wonderful. Can't wait for the next book, please say it will be on audible too. I love listening to them as well. Happy Thanksgiving!! pamhar

  40. I think I may try that recipe on chicken too. Thanks.

  41. Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for the recipes. And the opportunity to win! My email is angelh

  42. thank you for the delicious recipes and the great tip regarding the turkey I will give it a try this year . I always look forward to your next book with great anticipation have a Happy Thanksgiving john60

  43. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    email: fritsc

  44. Cannot wait for your next book!! Thank you for the recipe. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! tracym

  45. That Turkey looks mighty good!!! Love crispy skin so must try!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

  46. Definitely going to try this for crispy skin!!! Thanks!! email: tickledd

  47. I'm roasting the smallest turkey I could find---not quite 10 pounds---for just the hubby and me. Even that will give us lots and lots of leftovers which I think are the best part of the turkey. I've been putting butter under the breast skin for years---and it's a great method. Thanks for your contest.

  48. Sounds so tasty, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving! mrscla

  49. You just made me super hungry and Thanksgiving is still days away!
    Thanks for the chance to win

  50. Love your books and all the recipes you include in them. Thank you!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  51. I've watched Jamie Oliver specials where he cooks birds like this and I think he, too, is very big on butter under the skin! I think he uses all sorts of special butters he makes up! jsmith

  52. I love getting your newsletters, there is always something new to taste! I do make turkeys with butter under the skin but never thought to put the spices in the butter. Will try next time I make one. We go to my niece's for Thanksgiving so I always have to make one later so my husband can drool all day!! 5 months for the book?!? BOBNTO

  53. We make turkey breast all year long too! We use the meat for lunches. cindy2

  54. All your recipes sound so good. Thank you for the giveaway. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  55. Classic-- thanks! I think I'll do the same thing with a capon. amaebi

  56. I love your books! Thank you for the fantastic turkey tip. Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for this chance! areewe

  57. I like to brine my turkey.

  58. Turkey looks and sounds fantastic. Cannot wait to try your herb butter recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

  59. Yummy--your turkey looks so delicious--I have added some margarine between the skin and meat in the past, but not a seasoned butter and not to this extent--this looks and sounds divine!! I am gonna do it Thursday! Thanks

  60. All of the recipes are making me hungry, can't wait for Thanksgiving centra

  61. Thanks for all of the good hints which make the preparation of the turkey easy.
    I have read all of your books. Love them and the information about coffee

  62. Love your Thanksgiving recipe and newsletter! I am so excited to hear about the release date of your next book!

  63. Loved the newsletter and can not wait to try the turkey breast! Happy Turkey Day!

  64. Thanks for the recipe ideas & giveaway. doward1952

  65. I love the technique with the butter, BUT I don't touch raw meet so I will have to try "back-seat cooking" this year. Lol. Thank you for sharing. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

  66. Love your books and newsletters! The virtual tours are beautiful...makes me wish I was there! Thanks so much for all your hard work! Happy Thanksgiving!! (Tamtam)

  67. Your newsletter is great ... must try that Turkey recipe ...

  68. Happy Thanksgiving! The recipe sounds wonderful. I love your books!

  69. That looks amazing.Do you ever brine your turkey?

  70. I absolutely love your books, recipes and the connection you make with your readers! Meowot

  71. Thank you for the recipes! Happy Thanksgiving!

  72. Waters - would love to taste that turkey! I wonder if you put coffee grounds underneath a turkey skin - what would happen???? Hmmmm?

  73. I can officially say I am obsessed with your books and website. I have 12 of the coffeehouse mystery series. I enjoy reading the website just as much as the books! spears9565

  74. Love your newsletter, recipes, and books!!

  75. Happy Thanks Giving everyone. The recipes look so good, will be trying them out this year!

  76. That's a recipe I need to try! lndklb

  77. My mom always made the best turkey...juicy, crispy! One year during the big 'fad,' we tried the deep-fried. It was good, but I really like the traditional oven method. But the best part of our Thanksgiving menu was dessert! Mom always made a great pumpkin pie... Happy Thanksgiving!

  78. I am one of those people who absolutely love everything about Thanksgiving. I love cooking the special enormous meal, I love having my family around me, and I love the after meal naps :) . I love your recipes and this one for turkey looks amazing. I believe that I will give it a shot. Thanks again for all you give us. is me email.

  79. Crispy skin is where it's at! I think I might try your herb butter mixture this year, it sounds fabulous!
    Can't wait to get cooking!

    Email first six is sweete

  80. Great recipe...I will have to try! Happy Thanksgiving

  81. Happy Thanksgiving! I love this recipe. It is so hard to find recipes for just a turkey breast. This is perfect. Thank you.

  82. Happy Thanksgiving! What a great series of books! Thanks for all the super writing and recipes! kjduga

  83. Looks yummy and I can’t wait to try it!

  84. What a great recipe for Thanksgiving, it looks amazing. Love your books and I'm looking forward to reading your new book.

  85. Thank you for your help. I have almost every book you have written. They have gotten me through some trying times, kept me up. Love how you write it keeps you interested till the end. Have a great Thanksgiving Day. bobbiejv

    1. Congrats to you, "bobbie"! By now you know that your comment was randomly selected to win a fun package of Coffeehouse Mystery prizes. We hope you enjoy them!

      THANKS TO ALL OF YOU who left comments on our post. We wish we could send prizes to each and every one of you. (Hey, maybe one day!) In the meantime, we hope you all will keep in touch. We'll have another newsletter soon and more fun giveaways, recipes, and news. Until then, may you continue to eat (and read) with joy!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  86. I So look forward to your next book & recipe!! Happy Thanksgiving�� e-mail: marylm

  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. Thank you for sharing your recipe and writing wonderful stories. :) Happy Thanksgiving!
    rcl83. (Gmail)

  89. Your recipe is so beautifully photographed and videoed! And that skin looks amazing. Thanks for this recipe and all the others you've provided. I've tried several and have always been delighted with the results.
    I'm so glad that Shot in the Dark has such wonderful pre-release buzz. I've had it pre-ordered for a while and can't wait.
    The only thing to make everything perfect would be an appearance by Jack. I miss him.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Marc!

  90. I try to make it a point not to judge a book by its cover, but I have to admit I judge a turkey by its skin! I love love love crispy skin on my turkey and this recipe and the videos look amazing. Happy Thanksgiving to you! joan@n

  91. That turkey looks delicious, and I am so looking forward to the new book. 59miss

  92. Gotta admit my mom and I were just debating how we should prepare our turkey last night. With the way we normally do it, ours never ends up looking like the one in your picture. I'm now wondering if this might be the answer we were looking for. I'll have to show this to my mom and see what she thinks. Thanks for sharing (and possibly ending our debate). Email: Blackf

  93. My husband cooks the turkeys in our house, but I am going to show him this yummy recipe! It looks absolutely delicious! Readin******** at

  94. Happy Thanksgiving. You guys are great. I make the turkey here almost all the time. I've never thought of making a paste, instead of just smoothing butter over the skin. Also just a turkey breast instead of the whole bird is a great idea. I don't have a turkey this year, but certainly will try this one day. My email sign up was staywitch for the opportunity. Also Look forward to more from you guys.

  95. If I cooked, I would make that, easy on the herbs, and with a lot of garlic.

  96. Looks amazing! Thanks for the tip! Maceoindo (at)yahoo(dot)com

  97. Love your books and the ideas for cooking, even though my family is of plain food sort. I started using the cooking bags to keep the turkey moist. I'll try your method to see if the meat is moist and the skin is brown.

  98. Love your recipes, especially the treats! Love that they are printable! Have read all books in both series; looking forward to new Coffeehouse book in April! Still waiting for next Haunted Bookshop book... lwallin

  99. Thanks for the recipes. Always looking for the "perfect" way to make turkey with crispy skin! Loved the video of your backyard. I'm from the south and we don't get the color changes you guys get up north. Awesome! kjkouk

  100. Your books are fantastic and the recipes too! I always look forward to seeing what new thing you all have cooked up! srmtho

  101. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU who left comments on our post. Marc and I wish we could send prizes to each and every one of you. (Hey, maybe one day!) But we had to select one winner. (This is a very belated announcement of our winner. By now she has received her prizes!)

    Congrats to you, "bobbie" (Roberta V. of CA). Her comment was randomly selected to win a fun package of Coffeehouse Mystery prizes. We hope she enjoys them!

    In the meantime, we hope you all will keep in touch. We'll have another newsletter soon and more fun giveaways, recipes, and news. Until then, may you continue to eat (and read) with joy!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter