Butter-Based Poultry Injection Sauce

ingredients for butter based injection
Claire Cohen
Ratings (177)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 3/4 cup (serves 20)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
11 Calories
1g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Injection sauce is used for poultry, particularly turkey, to keep it juicy and add flavor deep within the meat. This injection sauce keeps it simple with chicken broth, butter, garlic, and seasonings. You can use an injection sauce whether you plan to roast, smoke, or deep-fry your poultry.

An injection sauce is essentially a marinade and needs to spend some time with the meat for best results. You should plan on using this injection marinade several hours before you start cooking.

While you can brine your turkey, that mostly adds salt rather than additional flavors. It also takes even more time (at least overnight) and uses up a lot of refrigerator space.

You will need a meat injector for this recipe. It looks like a large syringe and is available at most kitchen stores, well-stocked supermarkets, or online. It can be unwieldy at first, so you may want to practice manipulating it a bit with water before you use your butter injection sauce.


  • 1/2 cup/120 milliliters chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons/30 milliliters butter
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 milliliters garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 milliliters black pepper (finely ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 milliliters salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon/2.5 milliliters white pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the salt. Mix well. Add salt until mixture has a slight, but not overpowering flavor.

  2. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for 8 minutes. Load it into meat injector and slowly inject into various spots in the bird. The breast meat really benefits from this mixture. It's good to inject dozens of sites with about 2 teaspoons per site, or less if you see the fluid oozing from the site. 

  3. Leftover mixture can be used as a baste while the chicken or turkey is on the grill or in the oven. Otherwise, discard the leftover sauce as the injector needle has come in contact with raw poultry. Dipping the needle into the sauce once it has been inside the bird will transmit bacteria such as Salmonella to the dish of sauce, and you risk food poisoning if it isn't cooked along with the bird.

  4. Cook your poultry as directed.

Tips and Variations

No herbs are used in injection sauce as they can clog up the injector. You can add herbs under the skin of your poultry or in a poultry rub to bring those flavors to your bird.

This butter sauce keeps it simple. If you want to add spice, some Tabasco sauce may be added to the injection sauce.

If you brine your turkey and still want to inject it, omit the salt from the injection sauce and use low-sodium chicken broth. Otherwise, your bird may end up too salty.