Turkey Baste Recipe

Turkey basting recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
832 Calories
92g Fat
4g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 832
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 92g 118%
Saturated Fat 57g 287%
Cholesterol 244mg 81%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 2g
Calcium 100mg 8%
*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.)

Whether you are grilling or smoking a turkey, this baste keeps the meat moist, adds a delicious flavor, and helps to brown the skin. It is best to forego the usual method of basting the turkey with pan drippings, which are mostly turkey juices and fat. Instead, using a seasoned butter will add flavor and will help the skin crisp up nicely at the end of cooking. Remember to begin basting about an hour after you start cooking and to apply the baste in thin layers.

When basting, it is easiest to use a pastry brush as this will allow you to give a light baste to all areas. You could use a turkey baster with a bulb, but that kind of baster works better for the pan drippings and is much harder to clean.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for turkey basting
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

    Melt butter
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Pour in lemon juice and add the remaining ingredients. Let the mixture simmer on low for about 3 minutes.

    Pour in lemon juice
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before using.

    Remove from heat
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Baste your turkey.

    Baste turkey
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Lightly baste the turkey every 30 minutes after the first hour of cooking. Apply the baste warm to the turkey. Stop basting during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
  • If making the baste ahead of time, follow instructions for preparation and store in an airtight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Warm the baste on the stove top or in the microwave before using.
  • You don't want to baste your turkey too often as every time you open the oven door you are allowing heat to escape. Your oven will have to come on to heat back up, and this temperature variation interferes in getting your turkey done.

To Baste or Not to Baste?

Most turkey experts will tell you that basting is optional. It's not the best way to season your turkey, but it will work in a pinch when you don't have time for methods that require more prep work. For example, you may have wanted to brine your turkey, but you didn't get started soon enough or you lacked the refrigerator space and brining bag to do it right. Rubbing your turkey with a spice mix is another alternative to basting. Many cooks also inject their turkey with liquid seasonings to keep it moist and add flavor.

Basting can help you feel like you are doing something while waiting for heat and time to turn the pale bird into a golden centerpiece of your feast. But if you have seasoned your turkey in other ways, you can skip the basting.