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Dutch Oven Turkey

I love doing a turkey in the Dutch oven. So many people end up with dry, tasteless bird when they cook a turkey. That does not happen with this recipe. When I do a turkey, it is all about taste, not looks. In fact, I carve the bird and serve it on platters, so no one even sees the finished product in the oven.

One tip is to cook your bird upside down so the breast is cooked in juices the entire time. That’s what I’ve done here. If you don’t have a Dutch oven big enough (I use a 17” extra deep Maca oven that will hold a 30 lb. bird), you can do this in a roaster oven and use a cooking back to keep the moisture in. If you do use the Dutch oven, the moisture is kept in without using a cooking bag.

Here is a list of the things you will need:

  • Turkey – I like a 22 lb fresh Tom
  • 1 cube of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 4 heads of garlic (around 20-25 peeled cloves)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Large food syringe injector


Clean out the turkey and remove the neck, gizzard, etc. that come with the bird. Stuff the main cavity of the turkey with the onions and garlic cloves.

Using ½ the stick of butter, cover the outside of the turkey. Salt and pepper the outside as well.

Take the remaining half stick of butter and add it to the chicken stock in a pan and melt the butter into the stock. Fill the large syringe (I use an epidural syringe I got from a nurse that works in labor and delivery, when that gave up the ghost, I bought a food injector syringe) with the chicken broth/butter fluid and inject the broth into all meaty parts of the bird. The skin will plump up everywhere you inject the turkey.

Add the water to the bottom of the pan, place the turkey in upside down (breast down) and cover with the fresh herbs. Don’t worry is some of the herbs fall into the water at the bottom of the pan, we use the flavored juices at the end.

Cover the oven with the lid and cook at around 350° for 3 hours using even heat (slightly more coals on top than bottom). I tend to make the oven a little hotter in the first hour of cooking and go with a lower heat for the remainder of the time. Because my oven is so deep, it takes around 25% more coals than the usual formula to get the heat I want.

The key is to use a meat thermometer to check your meat temperature. When the breast meat is at 170°, your turkey is done! Make sure you do not overcook it. When the bird is done pull it out of the oven (probably in pieces as the meat falls off the bone!) carve the meat and place it on serving platters that have a bit of an edge to them. Now, using a ladle, pour some of the juices from the pan over all the meat before serving. This will be one juicy turkey!

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  • Reply Mechef145 September 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Lovely recipe! My family and I loved it. It was so easy and simple, but did not inject the broth I just poured it over the chicken in the dutch over and also coated it with some sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. I used my pure clay dutch oven I got as a gift from my mom (she got it online form mecware.US). The chicken was soo soft, juicy and the flavor was wonderful.  

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2014 at 4:26 am

      Sounds like an interesting twist! I love tweaking recipes… sounds like you do too.

  • Reply What Does It Take To Become An Author September 26, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post.

    Thanks for providing these details.

  • Reply Pat November 22, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Sounds wonderful, Thank you, I will try this.

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2014 at 4:23 am

      let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply carolyn November 22, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Wow!! beautiful….do I see a rack under the turkey? I am going to try your recipe this year for Thanksgiving! Wish me luck!

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2014 at 4:10 am

      There is no rack under the turkey, cooking in the juices is is part of what keeps the bird moist. In fact, cooking the turkey upside down is best for making the meat as juicy as possible.

  • Reply Adam Fugal November 27, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Thanks. No one else seems to have a time or tempature. This will be my first year doing it this way. I wish you had a video but this will work. I appreciate the input and you sharing your knowledge.

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2014 at 4:11 am

      It’s not hard to do… I’ll add some videos over time.

  • Reply Adam Fugal November 27, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Thanks. No one else seems to have a time or temperature. This will be my first year doing it this way. I wish you had a video but this will work. I appreciate the input and you sharing your knowledge.

  • Reply Hannah December 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I made this turkey for Thanksgiving and I’m making another one today for a Christmas party. SO moist and delicious!!!!

  • Reply Ned November 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    What size dutch oven would fit a bird like that?

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      My oven is a MACA 17″ which is very deep. I could do a bird that weighs as much as 30 lbs in that oven.

  • Reply John Cordill November 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I did one last year. It wasn’t as moist. I didn’t cook it upside down and I didn’t take it right out of the dutch oven. You’re recipe looks great, I’m trying it today

    • Reply dotadmin November 30, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      I did one on Thanksgiving as well, which turned out great. How did yours go?

      • Reply John Cordill December 15, 2018 at 7:02 am

        I’ve been using this recipe for the last 3 years. Everyone that eats it says it’s the best turkey they have ever eaten.
        Thank you. And yes I cook it now upside down. Great tip!!

  • Reply CHERYL November 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Can you use the same method with a turkey breast?

    • Reply dotadmin January 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Yes you can. Just watch the temperature of the meat using a meat thermometor to make sure you don’t over cook it. Also, add some garlic cloves and onions to the fluid surrounding the breast as it cooks.

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