Butter-Based Poultry Injection Sauce

Butter-based injection ingredients on blue wood table

Claire Cohen

  • 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
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3/4 cup (serves 20)
Amount per serving
Calories 11
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 76mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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.


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  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (finely ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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. The 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.


  • It is important that the injection sauce is completely smooth and clear of any bits that could clog the meat injector, so be sure the butter is fully melted and that the peppers and salt are finely ground. Also, be careful not to include any lemon seeds when filling the injector.
  • 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.
  • Herbs are not used in injection sauces as they can clog up the injector. If you would like to bring those flavors to your bird, you can add herbs under the skin of your poultry or in a poultry rub.

Recipe Variations

  • If you want to add some spice to your bird, you can include a bit of Tabasco sauce in the injection sauce.
  • To give the injection sauce a real injection of flavor, try a butter-based recipe with beer, Worcestershire, and soy sauce.

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