Top 6 Turkey Injection Marinade Recipes

Savory Turkey Injection

The Spruce Eats / Claire Cohen

Instead of rubbing your turkey with butter, herbs, and spices, try injecting the flavor right into the meat. Injecting turkey is a method that flavors meat from the inside, tenderizing it while slowly spreading the flavors through the bird. Injection marinades can be used with traditional turkey marinades, turkey rubs, and even turkey brines

With an injector, basically a large syringe with a thick needle, you inject small doses of the marinade into the meat. Anything can go into your marinade, as long as it's small enough to get through the needle. If you really want herbs, try blending the sauce at high speed to guarantee a smooth liquid. Make many injections in several different places, and try to aim for the meat without piercing it. This method brings an immense amount of moisture and flavor, so you don't have to worry about dry or bland turkey. Once you try it this way, you may find it's difficult to go back to seasoning your turkey any other way.

Our collection offers six beautiful injection sauces to step up your turkey game.


Watch Now: Everything You Should Know About Injecting Your Turkey

  • 01 of 06

    Beer and Butter Injection

    Beer and butter turkey injection marinade

    The Spruce Eats / Claire Cohen

    Simply mix salt, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, soy sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder with beer and butter, and put the mix in the injector, keeping it warm so the butter doesn't solidify while in use.

    After injecting, rub your turkey, or whole chicken, with a dry rub and cook adequately.

  • 02 of 06

    Butter Based Injection

    Butter-Based Poultry Injection Sauce in a bowl, turkey on a baking sheet and an injector

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    This is a great injection for any kind of poultry. A simple mix of broth, butter, lemon, garlic, pepper, and salt delivers moisture and flavor to the white meat and enhances the texture and taste of the dark meat. Remember to use injection marinades several hours before you start cooking. The earlier the meat is injected before roasting, the better the flavor will be in the end.

    If you're choosing to brine the bird and then inject it, do not add salt to the injection mixture because the turkey will end up being too salty.

  • 03 of 06

    Cajun Turkey Injection

    Cajun Turkey Injection Marinade

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

    If you're choosing to deep-fry your turkey or chicken, by injecting the flavors inside the meat, you won't have to worry about the hot oil washing them off. Use lemon, onion powder, garlic powder, crab boil, olive oil, butter, Cajun seasoning, Tabasco, and cayenne to create a spicy injection for an alternative Southern-inspired Thanksgiving. Round out the offerings with cornbread stuffing.

    Distribute the injection evenly in all parts of the bird so you don't get large pockets of the mixture. Wipe off any drips or excess moisture before deep frying.

  • 04 of 06

    Honey Beer Injection

    Beer and Honey Turkey Injection

    The Spruce Eats / Wanda Abraham

    This injection combines a traditional Cajun flavor with dark beer, honey, and apple cider for a well-balanced taste. It's a simple injection but one that will light up your taste buds thanks to the sweet and savory flavors.

    Because this injection marinade contains honey, you need to warm it up to use it. Just be careful that it isn't too hot before putting it in the injector. You don't want hot liquids leaking under pressure from your syringe.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Italian Herb Injection

    Italian Herb Turkey Injection Marinade

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    This marinade isn't spicy-hot but deeply flavorful thanks to the use of herbs in Italian seasoning, along with red wine, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Make sure that the herbs you use are well ground so that they will fit through your injection needle, and stir the syringe in between injections so it doesn't settle.

    Use other types of wine for dryer flavors, or replace wine with liquor to create your own version.

  • 06 of 06

    Savory Turkey Injection

    Savory turkey injection marinade recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

    The herbs you use for this injection are classic ones for turkey. Start by grinding dried bay leaf, thyme, and sage at high speed in a blender or food processor. Combine with garlic and onion powder, pepper, salt, and oil. Add water and Worcestershire sauce. This injection requires 20 minutes of prep and cooking time and 15 minutes of cooling down before putting it inside the injector.

    For a variation, use finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and oregano. Once the injection is cool, blend at high speed with the fresh herbs. Strain into a mesh colander to ensure the fibrous leftovers of the herbs don't pass into the injector.

Food Safety for Poultry

To keep your kitchen compliant with food-safety regulations, remember to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling poultry. Also, wash in between if you need to reach for other ingredients or open the fridge door.
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, and knives immediately after they've been in contact with raw or frozen poultry.
  • Clean thoroughly any surface that might have been in contact with raw poultry drippings. Use antibacterial disposable wipes to clean them.
  • Don't rinse raw or frozen chicken. The splashing water will contaminate other parts of your kitchen and rinsing it doesn't eliminate potential bacteria.
  • Cook your poultry to safe temperatures and for an adequate length of time. Follow these standards for handling and cooking poultry. Always aim for 165 F as the interior temperature of your turkey.
  • Don't save unused injection marinade. The needle has been in contact with raw poultry and those juices easily travel upward to your unused marinade. Discard immediately after using.
  • Your cooked leftover poultry must be in the refrigerator two hours after cooking. You can store it in an airtight container and eat it within 72 hours or freeze it for later use. If you don't consume it, discard it to avoid food poisoning.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Safe Food Handling and Preparation: Poultry, Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture.