Turkey Injection Recipe (3 Different Options!)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so it’s almost turkey time! If you’re looking to mix things up and add an extra burst of flavor to your bird, a turkey injection recipe is the way to go. Using a meat injector helps ensure your turkey is juicy and flavorful throughout!

This method not only ensures your turkey recipes are juicy and flavorful, but also allows you to get creative with different flavor profiles. Whether you’re preparing a whole turkey, turkey breasts, or even a deep-fried turkey, injecting it beforehand prevents it from drying out and is an easy way to enhance the flavor.

turkey injection marinade next to a turkey injection kit and lemon.

Benefits

There are quite a few benefits to using a turkey injector to help nail your Thanksgiving recipes:

  • Marinating Meat Quickly – Using an injectable marinade cuts down on the brining and marinating time. This is particularly useful for thick cuts of meat that typically require long marination periods.
  • Enhancing The Flavor – Using a meat injector to infuse herbs, spices, and liquids into turkey, ensures the flavors permeate throughout the bird.
  • Moistening Dry Cuts of Meat – Helps prevent lean cuts of meat from drying out during cooking.

Turkey Injection Kit

The only special equipment you need for a turkey injection recipe is a turkey injection kit. There are quite a few options on the market, so grab one with great reviews that’s in your price range. I personally use this model and highly recommend it. 

Recipes for Injecting A Turkey

Below is a list of some of our favorite turkey injection recipes to take your holiday season feast to the next level. We’ve tested and honed these butter injections for turkey to compliment and enhance popular turkey recipes and any turkey rub

Labeled photo of turkey injection seasoning.

Garlic Butter and Herbs

This is the best turkey injection recipe if you’re going for a classic Thanksgiving Turkey flavor- it’s a savory turkey injection loaded with garlic and herbs and adds a ton of buttery goodness. 

To make this mix, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Un-salted butter
  • ​Low sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried herbs
  • Seasoned salt
  • Black pepper
Labeled photo of a variety of different ingredients.

Garlic Lemon

This is the turkey injection seasoning to use if you’re looking to add a citrus element to a classic herb mix. It’s loaded with garlic and fresh lemon juice for a bright and savory garlic butter sauce.

To make this mix, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Un-salted butter
  • ​​Low sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
Labeled photo to make a cajun butter marinade.

Cajun 

This is a cajun turkey injection that will compliment a Cajun Turkey! This cajun sauce mix is loaded with your favorite cajun seasoning or creole seasoning to add a ton of spicy buttery goodness. 

To make this creole butter injection, you’ll need the following

  • Un-salted butter
  • ​Low sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • Lemon juice
  • creole seasoning or cajun seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper

Want to add an extra hit of spicy flavor to this butter creole injection recipe? Add some hot sauce!

Recipes for Injecting A Turkey in small glass bowls.

Turkey Injection Marinade

Any of the above turkey injection recipes can be doubled to use as an injection mix and marinade. You’d use the first half to inject and the second half to marinade and/or baste the injected turkey.

Turkey Recipes

These turkey injection recipes can be used on any turkey recipe – not just roast turkey! Here are a few of our favorite turkey recipes to use a turkey injection recipe on:

Close up of a cooked smoked turkey on a striped cutting board. A knife and large fork are next to the bird.

When To Inject

There are two thought processes when it comes to actually injecting the bird – both have pros and cons.

Inject Before Cooking  

Pro – You can inject the bird up to 36 hours before cooking. Injecting it early won’t add much in terms of flavor as the butter firms back up when cold. It’s a convenience factor if you’re looking to knock things off your holiday “to do” list. 

Con – The downside is inserting the melted butter into a cold turkey will immediately turn the butter into clumps and may clog the needle (depending on the size you’re using). If you find it difficult to insert as the butter keeps clogging the needle, I recommend stopping and inserting during cooking.

Inject During Cooking

Pro – Butter melts at a temperature of 90°F, so wait to inject the buttery goodness until the bird hits 90°F. This allows the butter to free flow through the needle with no issues.

Con – It adds another “to do” step to your already busy holiday cooking schedule.

Yellow sauce in a white bowl next to a meat injector and lemon.

How To Inject the Turkey

Once you’re ready to inject: Place the turkey in the roasting pan (if you’re doing it before cooking) and start at the top of the breast working your way down. Inject the top of the breast and the sides of the breast, as well as the top of the legs and wings and the sides of the legs and wings. You should see the bird plump as it’s filled.

Tips For Success

  • This can be a messy task so make sure to have paper towels on hand and go slow.
  • Make sure the spices aren’t large in nature as they will clog the needle. Run it through a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to break down before mixing into the melted butter. 
  • If you don’t have a microwave to melt the butter, use a small saucepan instead.
  • Distribute the injection evenly and at different angles for the best results. 
  • Discard any leftover mix that’s come in contact with raw meat.
  • Experiment with flavors – light beer and white wine both make great additions.
  • It’s important to watch the sodium content, especially if you use a turkey brine or salt-heavy turkey rub. Use a no-sodium broth and unsalted butter to manage levels. The only thing worse that dry turkeys is over-salted turkeys.
Small spoon of cajun butter sauce being help up by a hand.

Turkey Injection Recipe FAQ’s

Can I Use Fresh Herbs?

You can absolutely use fresh herbs – fresh rosemary, thyme and sage work wonderfully! The key is to ensure they’re small enough in size to fit through the tip of the needle. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle for best results.

Do You Brine Turkey Before Injecting?

You can absolutely brine and inject a turkey or just stick with one. Injecting places the butter mix between the muscle fibers, while brining adds salt into the fibers. Essentially they’re placing seasoning into two separate parts of the meat.

Turkey injection kits next to a bowl of marinade.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to a turkey injection recipe. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavors to create your own signature injection recipe. Just say no to dry and bland turkeys! Happy cooking, and happy Thanksgiving!

Additional Resources

Turkey injection recipe in white ceramic bowls.

3 Turkey Injection Recipes

Thanksgiving is around the corner. Mix things up and add an extra burst of flavor to your bird with a turkey injection recipe. Using a meat injector helps ensure your turkey is juicy and flavorful.
Rate this Recipe
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 Use
Calories: 862kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $2.50

Ingredients

GARLIC BUTTER AND HERBS

  • ½ cup unsalted butter ((*Note 1))
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken or turkey broth ((*Note 1))
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried herbs of choice ((*Note 2))
  • ½ tsp salt ((*Note 1))
  • ½ tsp black pepper

GARLIC LEMON

  • ½ cup unsalted butter ((*Note 1))
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken or turkey broth ((*Note 1))
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt ((*Note 1))

CAJUN

  • ½ cup unsalted butter ((*Note 1))
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken or turkey broth ((*Note 1))
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning or creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • tbsp Optional: Hot Sauce

Instructions

  • Place butter and broth into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and repeat in 15 second increments until fully melted. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes to slightly cool.
  • Slowly draw the marinade into the syringe and inject every 2" into all sides of the breast, legs and wings.

Notes

Note 1 – If using a turkey brine, make sure to use unsalted butter and stock.
Note 2 – Rosemary, thyme and sage all work well. We prefer a mix of rosemary and thyme. Make sure to finely grind to avoid clogging the needle.
Note 3 – Discard any leftover mix that’s come in contact with raw meat.
Nutritional information is based on the garlic butter mix. It’s only an estimate and not exact.

Nutrition

Calories: 862kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 93g | Saturated Fat: 58g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 246mg | Sodium: 1615mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2864IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @foodieandwine or tag #foodieandwine!

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