Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Hello Spring! With the warmer weather and tulips comes a new found energy to host friends and family for meals such as an Easter feast. Have you ever thought about forgoing the traditional ham or lamb and serving a locally sourced and budget friendly turkey for the occasion? This Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turkey is the perfect budget main for any Springtime feast!

Roast Turkey Lemon and Rosemary | Peppers & Pennies

This post contains sponsored content. I was fortunate enough to receive monetary compensation and/or products from Manitoba Turkey Producers and Granny’s. Although compensated for my efforts, all opinions are my own.

I am so very excited to share with you today my recipe for Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turkey!  When Manitoba Turkey Producers approached me about teaming up with them to create recipes featuring turkey cuts I was overjoyed and decided to create a classic recipe for my Budget Basics series. Turkey is a great option year-round as it is nutritious, feeds a crowd for a fair price and is versatile, lending itself well to many flavours and culinary styles.

To prepare for Easter (it’s a thing us bloggers ‘have’ to do!), I invited 6 close friends over to share a Springtime feast over copious amounts of wine and whiskey. On a late March Sunday evening, my friends arrived to the delicious smell of a turkey roasting. It was soon an all hands-on deck fiasco while we mashed potatoes, cut bread, snacked on cheese, poured drinks and set-up the light box for photos. They were great sports about it and patient while my husband and I worked to get the perfect shot! Thanks guys!

For the Easter feast I decided to ensure the main draw, a lovely Grade A, photogenic young turkey, was prepared in a way that lent itself well to Spring.  I wanted to keep things light and fresh and not serve a re-hash of a heavy Christmas dinner. Therefore, I opted to not stuff the bird and instead filled the cavity with lemons and fresh veggies. The outside of the turkey was prepared with a mixture of canola oil and fresh herbs and spices. This combination had the house smelling delicious in no time!

The result was turkey that felt light and fresh and boasted the most perfect golden skin. The light lemon and rosemary flavor of the turkey meat paired well with the seasonal vegetable side dishes. Better yet, saying ‘audios’ to the typical heavy stuffing and butter made this an affordable meal.

The meat of the turkey itself came out juicy and flavourful, thanks to my meat thermometer. It is very important to cook your turkey based on temperature and not cooking time as there are many variables when it comes to cooking a whole turkey! Depending on your type of oven (convection), size of bird, method of preparation and choice of stuffing, your turkey can easily vary in cooking time from recommended time charts. That is why I baby my turkey, basting often and keep a close eye on my meat thermometer. For both safety and flavour, Turkey Farmers of Canada suggest you cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  For myself, it took almost a full 4 hours to roast to a golden and delicious perfection.

Let me know in the comments below what you are serving for Easter dinner.  Are you interested in trying-out a fresh and light, budget friendly roast turkey? Stay tuned for a follow-up post where I share the sides I paired this Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turkey with, including the perfect budget wine pairings for your upcoming Spring feast!

Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Category: Dinner, Main, Meat

Roast Turkey Lemon and Rosemary | Peppers & Pennies


  • 1 Canada Grade A or Utility Turkey, thawed & giblets removed (roughly 10 - 14 pounds)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 3 carrots, washed and halved
  • 2 celery sticks, halved
  • 2 rosemary stems
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Prepare turkey by removing from fridge and resting to room temperature. Remove giblets and ensure legs are tied with kitchen twine or secured with plastic ties
  3. In large roasting pan, place roasting rack.
  4. In large bowl, toss quartered onion, 1 1/2 quartered lemons, garlic, carrots, celery and rosemary stems with 1/4 cup of canola oil and a dash of salt and pepper each.
  5. Loosely stuff vegetable mixture into cavity of turkey. Fold excess turkey skin over neck opening and secure with toothpick.
  6. In small bowl combine remaining canola oil, salt, pepper and herbs and spices. Carefully brush canola oil mixture over entire turkey.
  7. Once all oil mixture is used, place turkey, breast up on roasting rack, with wings folded underneath. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of leg, without touching the bone. Pour water into roasting pan, ensuring there is ample room between turkey and walls of roaster.
  8. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees
  10. Baste turkey and cover with aluminum foil and roast at 325 degrees until inside temperature reaches 170 degrees, basting every 30 to 45 minutes.
  11. Once desired internal temperature of 170 degrees is reached, carefully remove from oven and place turkey on cutting board. Squeeze juice of half a lemon onto turkey and cover with tin foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  12. Carve and serve!

Part of the Budget Basics Recipe Series


  1. This looks great! I am serving turkey for Easter, as always. I tried ham one year and it just didn’t do it for me. I’d love to hear the perfect wine pairing – I’m a little obsessed with Vinho Verde these days and pretty much drink it with everything!

    • PeppersPennies

      Thanks for the comment, Terri!
      I agree about the ham for Easter. I love ham, but I feel like it isn’t special enough for such an occasion. As for the wine pairing, it isn’t Vinho Verde but that has become a new go-to of mine. I love it as it is very light on the alcohol content and light and fresh tasting. My friends went to Portugal for their honeymoon and said they were paying an equivalent of 2 dollars Canadian for a bottle there! Isn’t that the dream? 😉

  2. Frankly Amanda, I’m pretty happy to consider having a Turkey for any reason, real or imagined. I always look forward to making a turkey and all the goodies that go with it. Plus then I get to have turkey soup. TURKEY SOUP. I must say though, I never really vary the flavours much, and I really like the idea of a bright, springy-yet-herbal lemon combination. Now I just need a big enough party to warrant making a turkey AND a ham…. hmmmmmm….

    • PeppersPennies

      Ahh the turkey soup I made after this was sooo good. Had tomatoes and veggies galore with fresh herbs and ate it with garlic bread. I would gladly make another turkey juat for the soup alone!

  3. I remember you posting a photo of this turkey in our FBC group and I was legit salivating. I love how you break down how to cook something that many people around our age are terrified of but in reality, it’s actually quite easy! And budget-friendly, too.

    Oh, and I’m super jealous of your party! Wine and whisky?! With a turkey dinner? Sign me up!

    • PeppersPennies

      Thanks for the kind words, Cassie! Turkey seems daunting but it is quite easy. It needs just a bit more attention than a small bird and the fun is in the flavour combos and differences of technique. I still need to work on my carving skills, however! And ‘yes’ to all the wine and whiskey. I love hosting!

  4. Now this is a beautiful looking bird! I love the lightened up, herbaceous twist you’ve given the turkey here and I would LOVE to have a seat around your table, Amanda. I hope you and your guests enjoyed it (I’m sure you did!). 🙂

  5. Awesome recipe! Turned out perfect, love the flavours!!!

    • PeppersPennies

      Hi James, I am so happy to hear that the Turkey worked out for you! I love this mix of flavours for Springtime! Enjoy the leftovers 🙂

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