Turkey Injection Recipe (2024)

Published on

by Erin

This holiday season you should definitely give a Turkey Injection Recipe a try! It is the best way to add a lot of flavor to a perfectly juicy bird (perfect for Thanksgiving). Whether you are making a whole turkey or a turkey breast, this is the best turkey injection recipe! Just follow this step-by-step guide to a flavorful turkey!

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The Best Injection Recipe For Turkey

Every year we are on deck for making a classic Thanksgiving turkey that is not only full of flavor but perfectly tender and moist. We have recently discovered that using a meat injector is the easiest way to add moisture and fresh herb flavors right into your turkey meat. No matter if you are making a traditional roast turkey injection, smoked turkey injection, or deep-fried turkey injection, the whole crowd is going to love it!

Make sure you keep your turkey moist while it is cooking by using a flavorful turkey baste!

What You Will Need

  • chicken broth – you can purchase some from the grocery store or make a homemade chicken broth or turkey broth.
  • worcestershire sauce – perfect for adding lots of savory flavor!
  • lemon juice – a splash of acidity is great for brightening things up and amplifying the flavor.
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper – simple seasonings that are always a must!
  • garlic – everything is better with a little garlic.
  • fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, & fresh sage – fresh herbs that are the perfect compliment to turkey.
  • bay leaf – brings more depth to the flavors.
  • meat injector – a simple tool used for injecting moisture and flavor directly into meat – we love this one!

Turkey Injection vs. Brine

Both options are ways to add moisture and flavor to your bird. Wet Brining involves soaking your whole turkey (or turkey breast) in a liquid that’s made up of water, kosher salt, herbs and/or fruit while the other is directly injecting broth, herbs, and butter directly into the turkey breasts and turkey thighs multiple times.

One nice thing about injecting a turkey is that you have the option to do this right before cooking your turkey or injecting it the night before cooking. A brine typically works the best when the turkey has a chance to sit in the brine for at least 12-48 hours. So, if you have less time, using a meat injector is definitely the way to go! Or you can do both a brine and use a turkey injection!

How To Make A Thanksgiving Turkey Injection Recipe

First, you can begin by gathering and measuring out your ingredients.

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Place all of the ingredients for the injection mix in a small saucepan.

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Place the saucepan on medium high heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir to fully combine.

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Remove it from the heat to cool slightly and then pour it through a mesh strainer to remove the large chunks of food because they will clog your meat injector.

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And get your meat injector assembled and ready to go. Use a measuring cup to fill your injector with the melted butter mixture.

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Make 3 injections with the injection needle on the side of the breast, but for every injection hole angle the injector three different angles so you are getting 3 injections shots in the breast for every 1 hole (you don’t want too many holes or you will lose moisture).

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If any liquid does come out of the hole when you remove the injector you can simply rub it into the turkey skin on the outside of the turkey.

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Repeat in the turkey thigh, making 2 injections holes with the injector needle (3 different directions within in each hole).

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After you have completed all of your injections you can either cook it immediately or, for best results, cover the injected turkey and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

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Other Flavor Options

We love this classic savory turkey injection just as it is but feel free to get creative with the flavor options. We also recommend trying balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, onion powder, or cayenne pepper for a little fire!

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Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute andleave a star rating and review– it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!

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Other Recipes You Might Like

  • Turkey Marinade
  • Apple Cider Turkey Brine
  • Turkey Seasoning
  • Homemade Turkey Stock


Turkey Injection Recipe (12)

Turkey Injection Recipe

★★★★★5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup injection liquid 1x
  • Category: Turkey
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Print Recipe


Turkey Injection Recipe – a delicious turkey injection recipe that adds ton of flavor and moisture to your Thanksgiving turkey!



Injection Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced (or 1 smashed garlic clove)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 12 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf


  • whole turkey, turkey breast or turkey tenderloin


  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to medium heat and allow butter to melt. Stir to combine and let gently simmer 5-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the raw turkey: ensure it is fully thawed, let it sit out for 1 hour so it comes to room temperature, pat it dry with clean paper towel and place in a roasting pan.
  3. Remove from heat and strain (if there are large bits in the liquid it will clog the injector).
  4. Ensure you have a cap on the end of the meat injector so when you pour the liquid in it doesn’t run straight out. Fill the injector and place the plunger on top.
  5. Make 3 injections across the breast, but for every injection hole angle the injector three different angles so you are getting 3 injections shots in the breast for every 1 hole (you don’t want too many holes or you will lose moisture).
  6. Repeat in the thigh making 2 injections holes (3 different directions within in each hole).
  7. If any liquid comes running out of an injections site simply rub into the turkey skin on the exterior of the turkey.
  8. If you have leftover injection liquid simply pour it into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  9. For best results inject liquid the night before cooking and leave in the refrigerator (covered) overnight.
  10. Feel free to cook turkey however you want afterwards: smoked, roasted, deep fried, etc.


  • Garlic: feel free to use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
  • Brining: you can still do this if you are also brining your turkey – just opt for a low-sodium broth and omit the extra salt.
  • Duration: we recommend injecting the night before you are planning on cooking your turkey.
  • Extra: if you have extra just pour it into the bottom of your roasting pan.
  • Recommended Injector: this is the one I have used and liked.
  • Turkey Breast: this also works if you are just doing a turkey breast (roasted or smoked) or even a turkey tenderloin!

Keywords: turkey injection recipe

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Reader Interactions


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  1. Mary says

    We are having our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I plan to do this injection…..1st time doing one. Can you do injections during the cooking process….such as when basting, do a quick injection????


    • Erin says

      Hi Mary – nope, no need to inject again during the cooking process. Inject before cooking and then you can baste during the cooking process if you want. Let me know if you have any other questions!


  2. Mike says

    Thanks for the easy and fun take on turkey! Love mixing up the Thanksgiving options for my family


    • Erin says

      So glad you liked this one!


  3. Bridget says

    Love this! Makes our Turkey so juicy, every time!


  4. EH says

    This was AMAZING! Juiciest turkey ever!!!


Turkey Injection Recipe (2024)


What do you inject turkeys with? ›

Inject the turkey with melted butter seasoned with salt, ground black pepper, and ground rosemary to achieve the moistest meat. Cranberry BBQ Glazed Whole Turkey: This glazed turkey is heavenly, but you can make it even better by injecting it with your cranberry BBQ glaze before cooking.

How soon should you inject a turkey before cooking? ›

Once you've made the injection fluid, be sure to keep it warm so the butter doesn't solidify. After injecting the turkey, rub it with your favorite dry rub to add even more flavor. Then stick that bird back in the fridge and let it sit until you're ready to cook it—you can inject it up to 36 hours ahead.

Is it better to brine or inject a turkey? ›

It's an enzyme that will break down the meat, tenderizing it and absorbing the flavor at the same time. Injecting solves the problems of a marinade or brine not getting deep into the meat in a timely fashion.

What is butterball turkey injected with? ›

Injected and Baked Whole Turkey, Water, Salt, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, and Natural Flavors.

What to season turkey with? ›

Stick with salt and pepper, put herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage to work, or take spicy Cajun seasoning for a spin for some kick. Whatever blend you choose, spread it all over the turkey—on top, underneath, between the body and wings and legs, under the skin, and even in the cavity of the bird.

What flavors go well with turkey? ›

(Here's an idea: try stuffing your turkey with oranges, pomelos and fresh herbs to infuse extra flavor into your bird and help retain moisture!) Other fragrant fruity matches include cranberries, figs, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, almonds, walnuts and urfa biber (otherwise known as isot or Aleppo pepper).

Should I season turkey the night before? ›

Every piece of poultry and pork, plus thicker cuts of beef and lamb, and even meatier fillets of fish like swordfish and grouper get seasoned at least one day ahead, and sometimes more, with kosher salt.

Are butterball turkeys brined? ›

Butterball Fresh Whole Turkey is all natural*, never frozen, gluten free, and raised without hormones on American farms. Every fresh turkey is pre-brined before packaging for meat that's always tender and juicy. *All natural means minimally processed and no artificial ingredients.

Can you over brine a turkey? ›

It's best to brine turkey for 12 to 24 hours. Brining it for longer than 24 hours can result in mushy meat and an overly salty flavor. If you do accidentally over-brine it, you can soak the turkey in cold water to remove some of the excess salt, but it likely won't have the best flavor or texture.

Is it better to wet brine or dry brine a turkey? ›

Dry brining takes longer than wet brining but requires less refrigerator space and results in browner and crispier skin. Before brining, some prep work needs to be done. If purchasing a frozen turkey, make sure it is thawed before brining.

Is turkey brine worth it? ›

One key reason is the taste—whether you wet-brine or dry-brine, using all! that! salt! infuses the bird with flavor, giving it an extra boost before you add any spices or aromatics. It also helps the meat retain its moisture and can help you avoid over-cooking, our associate food editor Kelsey Youngman explains.

Can I fry a brined turkey? ›

Add the turkey, cover, and brine in the refrigerator for 35 hours. In a turkey fryer or an 18-quart or larger stockpot, bring the oil to 400°F; this can take up to an hour. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Transfer the turkey to a frying basket, breast side up.

Can I keep a fresh turkey in the fridge for a week? ›

If properly stored, raw turkey can last in the fridge for 1–2 days, while cold cuts last up to 5 days. How long does cooked turkey last in the fridge? If you have leftovers that include cooked turkey, you can expect those to last in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.

Why do Butterball turkeys taste better? ›

Butterball turkeys are of the highest quality product and will be sure to impress your guests. Here's why Butterball is the right choice, especially for the holiday season: Butterball turkeys are always tender and juicy because we take the extra step of individually pre-brining them based on size.

What makes Butterball turkeys so moist? ›

Butterball turkeys are already injected with a solution of water, salt, and spices that helps to keep them moist and juicy. Brining them would only add more salt to the turkey, which could make it too salty. However, if you want to brine your Butterball turkey for extra flavor and moisture, you can do so.

What are frozen turkeys injected with? ›

They often are injected with a basting solution of water, salt and spices—more of it than with fresh turkeys—to amp up the flavor and make the meat extra juicy. Honeysuckle White turkeys are treated to a brine of turkey broth, salt, sugar, celery and rosemary extract.

Are turkeys injected with salt? ›

The reason for this is that most frozen turkeys are typically injected with a sodium solution to help them freeze well, and brining an already-injected turkey can often result in an inedible bird (I've learned this the hard way.)

Are turkeys injected with antibiotics? ›

Turkeys constantly injected with antibiotics may develop immunity over time, meaning the antibiotics will no longer treat their bacterial infections.

Are turkeys injected with hormones? ›

James Dickson, a professor of animal science at Iowa State University. In fact, all turkeys and poultry are raised without hormones, as required by federal law, Dickson says.


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