Savory Turkey Injection Marinade

Savory turkey injection marinade recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 3/4 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
49 Calories
5g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 49
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 572mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 48mg 1%
*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.)

Injecting a turkey with a savory herb marinade adds flavor and tenderizes the meat from the inside. This simple recipe is loaded with the taste of bay leaf, thyme, sage, and garlic. It's a fantastic herb blend for your Thanksgiving turkey and sure to complement any side dishes served at the feast.

You will need a meat injector to use this turkey marinade. The large syringe has a broad tip that allows ingredients to pass through. However, the secret with an injection marinade is to ensure that the marinade is well mixed and that the herbs are fine enough to fit through the needle without clogging. Use a spice grinder to pulverize the dried bay, sage, and thyme leaves into a fine powder to ensure that happens. Also, be sure to use a fine setting on your pepper grinder.

The herbs and spices are simmered with oil, water, and Worcestershire sauce, and the mix is cooled to form a flavorful marinade. Once it's in the syringe, inject a couple of teaspoons into several locations all around the prepped turkey. Make sure the needle goes into the meat but not to the other side.

The herbal injection can be paired with turkey rubs and marinades if you also want to flavor the outside of the bird. Try to repeat this marinade's herbs, so you don't get any super contrasty flavors. You can also use it with a previously brined turkey but will want to eliminate the marinade's salt. When you're ready to cook, choose your favorite method. Roast the turkey or try frying, grilling, or smoking it; there's no need to adjust the usual cooking time.


  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1/4 cup light oil

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for turkey injection marinade
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 
  2. Place bay leaf, thyme, sage into a spice or coffee grinder and pulverize into a powder. 

    Grind spices
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Combine the spices with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan.

    Add spice to ingredients in saucepan
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  4. Simmer over medium heat for five minutes, stirring often. The salt should be dissolved at this point. If not, let the mixture simmer for another 2 minutes.

    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Remove saucepan from heat and let the mixture cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Remove saucepan
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  6. Load the syringe with marinade and inject into the breast, thigh, and leg. Do this a few times to spread out the seasoning. Wipe away any mixture that bubbles up to the top.

    Load syringe
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  7. Season outside of turkey, cook as directed and serve.

    Season turkey
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt