Saffron Herbed Turkey

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Turkey is a pretty rare thing to find in France in November. Most turkeys are getting fattened up in preparation for Christmas dinner. Here in the States, turkeys appear as soon as the first week of November because no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without our favorite bird.

More often than not, however, I find myself completely underwhelmed with the prepared turkeys I’ve eaten.  So, when I started making my own turkey, I turned to my favorite French herbs and a “secret” spice to create this delectable saffron herbed turkey.

If the French were enthused by turkey in November, I imagine they’d love this one!

Saffron Herbed Turkey: A flavorful, juicy turkey infused with French herbs and delicate saffron. Recipe via

Obviously saffron is not a “secret” spice, as it’s well-known around the world. The reason I call it secret is because guests usually can’t pinpoint what that special something-something in my turkey is.

Saffron’s flavor is subtle and delicate, but nonetheless captivating. When guests try this saffron herbed turkey for the first time, they’re both swooning and completely intrigued.

The saffron also gives the turkey a gorgeous, golden hue that is naturally pleasing to the eye.

Saffron Herbed Turkey: A flavorful, juicy turkey infused with French herbs and delicate saffron. Recipe via

The trio of fresh herbs on this saffron herbed turkey is also noticeable on the palate, and is really what gives the turkey its French appeal.

The earthy flavor of the rosemary, thyme, and sage is something to relish with every bite. Plus, your kitchen will smell absolutely heavenly with the heady aroma of these herbs baking away with your bird.

Saffron Herbed Turkey: A flavorful, juicy turkey infused with French herbs and delicate saffron. Recipe via

The recipe for this saffron herbed turkey is very similar to the way I prepare my roast chicken, using similar herbs and preparation.

The ingredients here are a winning combination and are sure to make your turkey the star of Thanksgiving dinner, like it should be!

Saffron Herbed Turkey: A flavorful, juicy turkey infused with French herbs and delicate saffron. Recipe via

Saffron Herbed Turkey

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Thanksgiving turkey flavored with saffron and fresh herbs. 


  • 10 lb . young turkey
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Saffron Spray, or 1 tsp saffron threads dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rinse the turkey and and pat dry with a paper towel. If you're using dissolved saffron threads, brush this liquid all over the outside of the turkey. Otherwise, evenly spray the entire surface of the turkey with saffron spray.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the inside and outside of the turkey.
  3. Stir the herbs into the softened butter, creating a sort of paste you can rub on. Massage this paste onto the turkey and underneath its skin.
  4. Bake the turkey on the middle rack of your oven for 2 1/2 hours. The turkey's thigh should read 165°F as well as the thickest part of the breast. Let the turkey rest in the pan for 15 minutes after baking.
  5. If you're using saffron spray, feel free to spray the turkey with another dose of saffron just before serving (for extra color and aroma).
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 10 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 746

Saffron Herbed Turkey: A flavorful, juicy turkey infused with French herbs and delicate saffron. Recipe via

8 thoughts on “Saffron Herbed Turkey”

  1. I made this yesterday. Used the last of my saffron I had been hoarding for a special occasion.

    It turned out beautiful and delicious. Also, it smelled so enticing while roasting. I was very proud of my turkey. Thank you!

  2. I went to the market today with the express purpose of getting a 10 pound turkey while the smaller ones were still available. He said they sold out this morning.

    So I got a 16 pound turkey (smallest available). Do you think it’s okay if I double this recipe even though my turkeys not quite 20 pounds? I’m not sure what to do. But I really wanted to try that saffron.

    • Hi Diana! I know, it’s been hard to find smaller turkeys this year! You can definitely double the ingredients. Honestly, the ingredient amounts are more there for ratio suggestions rather than a hard and fast rule like they might be if you were baking a cake or whatnot; you’ll be able to visually see that you have enough saffron and herbs because the surface of the turkey should be covered in a tint of yellow from the saffron and the herbs should be evenly sprinkled all over the surface. Any leftover seasoning/herbs can be saved or tossed. You will need to cook your turkey longer, of course, since it’s a bigger bird – closer to 4 hours. 🙂

  3. Ironically, your recipe for this turkey is very similar to the one we have prepared for the last two years. Instead of saffron, we used fresh citrus zest and the rest is essentially the same. Your rendition sounds incredible and is something we will be trying with one of our future birds! Love this post and the video; so nicely done, Beeta! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

  4. Oh how fun! I love that video..
    It is embarrassing but I do not use saffron in my cooking as much as I would like. This turkey with all those French herbs sound and look so SO good.
    I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Cheers!

  5. Bonsoir Beeta, Je suis admirative de tes photos et ton menu de Thanksgiving, tellement beau et bon! C’est vraie que ici en France le dinde on le réserve pour les fêtes de Noël. L’idée de rajouter du safran me pareil très bien, son parfum subtil doit le donne un touche époustouflant. Happy Thanksgiving x


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