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A sous vide cooks the juiciest, most flavorful turkey of all time! With a garlic herb butter, this recipe will quickly become a family favorite. This surprisingly hands-off method yields perfectly cooked turkey every time – crispy skin and all!

Overhead view of a whole sous vide turkey on a serving board garnished with fresh green herbs and lemon slices.

What Makes Recipe So Good

  • It’s extra moist with a ton of flavor throughout! By cooking the turkey in a bag full of seasoning and savory liquid, the bird soaks up as much moisture and flavor as possible. Over are the days of choking back dry turkey, because this bird is quite literally bursting with delicious juices.
  • It’s impressively simple, with less effort than most turkey cooking methods! The traditional roast turkey requires hours of hands-on work. Though for this recipe, you simply place the turkey in the sous vide for 12 hours. No need to touch or mess with anything!
  • It includes a delicious garlic herb butter that makes it the best whole turkey recipe ever! Softened butter, minced garlic, and fresh thyme are rubbed underneath the skin of the turkey. This better infuses it with even more flavor!

What Size Bird Do I Need?

First time in charge of the holiday dinner? Family grown (or shrunk) since the last get together? Instead of guessing what size turkey you’ll need and hoping for the best, use this simple formula:

1 person = 1 pound

So to feed 10 people, you’d want a 10-pound bone-in whole turkey. If you want to have leftovers, just adjust your formula to…

1 ½ pounds of turkey per person

For a quick and easy person-to-pounds conversion chart, check out our post about How Much Turkey to Serve Per Person?

Chef’s Tips

  • I highly recommend double bagging your turkey before dropping it into the sous vide bath! Turkeys may have some sharp points (I’m looking at you, turkey wings) that can poke a hole in your bag. Therefore, to avoid risking the entire sous vide process – place an extra layer of protection around your turkey.
  • Feel free to switch up the seasoning any way you’d like! Some fresh rosemary would make a delicious addition to the garlic herb butter in this sous vide turkey recipe. You can even ditch the butter altogether, and instead rub the turkey in your favorite dry rub before placing it in the bag.
  • If you’d like, you can reserve the cooking liquid from the sous vide bag and turn it into gravy! Use this leftover liquid in any gravy recipe, such as this keto one, where it calls for “pan drippings.” Though keep in mind this liquid might be a bit saltier than your typical pan drippings, so simply avoid adding any extra salt to your gravy!
A closer look at a sous vide turkey, carved into thick slices then placed on a serving platter with green herb garnish and lemon slices.

Other Delicious Sous Vide Recipes

Recipe By: Sam Guarnieri
5 from 3 votes

Garlic and Herb Sous Vide Turkey


Prep 20 minutes
Cook 12 hours 30 minutes
Total 12 hours 50 minutes
With a garlic herb butter, this juicy, flavorful turkey recipe will quickly become a family favorite – especially around the holidays!
12 servings

Equipment

  • Large pot or other large, heat-resistant container
  • Sous vide immersion circulator
  • Small bowl
  • mixing spoon or silicone spatula
  • Cutting board
  • 2-gallon vacuum sealing bag or other 2-gallon sealable food-safe storage bag; see Notes
  • vacuum sealer optional, see Notes for alternative
  • Paper towels
  • Basting Brush
  • Oven
  • roasting pan

Ingredients

  • 1 whole turkey 8-12 pounds, see Notes
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or turkey stock
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or melted butter

Instructions

  • Set sous vide to 150° Fahrenheit.
  • Mix the softened butter, garlic, and fresh thyme in a bowl then carefully peel skin away from the turkey breast and rub butter mixture under the skin.
  • Place turkey in a large zip-top freezer bag along with the salt and chicken or turkey stock.
  • Seal bag and remove as much air from the bag as possible before dropping turkey into the sous vide water bath. Cook for 12 hours.
  • Remove turkey from bag, pat dry with a paper towel then leave to rest on the counter for 30 minutes before brushing with avocado oil or melted butter.
  • Preheat oven to 450° Fahrenheit then transfer turkey to the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Anything smaller than a 2-gallon bag likely won’t hold the whole turkey. You need to be able to remove all the air from the bag and seal it tight, so when in doubt, size up!
  • Not sure what size turkey you’ll need? We’ve got a handy formula and conversion chart in our How Much Turkey Per Person? post.
  • Water Displacement Method: Place your ingredients in an appropriately-sized sealable food-safe bag (not a vacuum sealing bag) and seal the bag halfway across the top. Heat the water with the sous vide immersion circulator as instructed, then slowly lower the half-sealed bag into the heated water. The temperature difference will force the air out of the bag – you should see the plastic cling to the food. Once the food is entirely submerged and all the air is out of the bag, seal the bag completely and continue with the instructions.
  • Make it Paleo: Use ghee instead of softened butter.
 

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 615calProtein: 74gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 654mgPotassium: 917mgTotal Carbs: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gNet Carbs: 6gVitamin A: 588IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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14 Comments

  1. Every other recipe I’ve found says to sous vide for 22-24 hours. Curious why you just did 12? We are planning to sous vide a 20lb Turkey

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Without being able to compare the recipes, it’s hard to say what differences might be influencing the cook times in other recipes. You’ll also find some sous vide turkey recipes that recommend a sous vide time of 6 hours, and some only 2.

      – If the other recipes you’re looking at use a lower sous vide temperature, you’d need a longer cook time. The internal temperature of the bird has to reach a certain threshold and then be maintained at that temp for a specific length of time in order to be safe from salmonella. That hold time varies depending on the temperature of the water. Serious Eats has a great breakdown explaining the science and reasoning behind the process, which you can find here. Keep in mind that the times they use are specific to their 5-pound turkey breast.
      – If the other recipes use a larger turkey, that could be a factor. Our recipe is written for an 8-12 pound turkey.
      – How the turkey is finished can have an impact, too.

      I hope that helps! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Any advice on how long to sous vide a 20lb turkey?

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      We didn’t test that so unfortunately I can’t offer any advice, but in general if you need more than 15lbs of turkey, we recommend cooking two smaller turkeys instead. You could also use a medium whole turkey and a bone-in turkey breast.

  3. My turkey was 6.97# but I had to cut it in half to fit in my bags. It has been in the sous vide for 12 hours but I don’t want to brown it for another 3 hours. Should I leave it immersed or refrigerate it until then?

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So sorry we didn’t see your question sooner, Connie! Our team had Christmas off. What did you end up doing and how did your turkey turn out??

  4. This was the BEST Turkey I have ever had! Came out perfect5 stars

    1. Molly | 40 Aprons Team Molly | 40 Aprons Team says:

      I’m SO glad!! Thanks so much for the review, Kaitlyn!

  5. Wanting to try this, but where does the kosher salt come in? Before you put it in the bag with the chicken broth?

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      The salt is added in step 3! “Place turkey in a large zip-top freezer bag along with the salt and chicken or turkey stock.”

      1. Just want to confirm, we’re submerging the turkey with chicken stock in the zip locker bag? Forgive me but wont the turkey be all mushy from being submerged in the chicken stock for 12 hours?

        1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

          Nope! Plus you’ll finish it in the oven which makes the skin nice and crispy.

  6. I have never cooked a turkey before but due to covid restrictions, we had our own Thanksgiving this year at home. I used this recipe and oh my goodness – the turkey turned out perfectly! It was the absolute best turkey I’ve ever had! 5 stars

    1. Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team says:

      We’re so glad to hear it!5 stars

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