How to Inject Flavor in a Turkey to Keep it Moist and Flavorful

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Wondering how to inject flavor in a turkey? One of the biggest challenges I face when preparing a turkey is keeping it moist and full of flavor. I always worry about how the turkey comes out when we have people over for Thanksgiving. After all, the turkey is the centerpiece of the entire Thanksgiving dinner. Once you learn how to inject a turkey, you’ll never have to worry about dry turkey again.

How to inject flavor in a turkey #goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexperts #sponsored

How to Inject Flavor in a Turkey

I would feel horrible if my turkey came out dry and tasteless.  One of the ways that people add flavor to their Thanksgiving turkey is by using a traditional spice or meat rubs.  While this does add flavor to the turkey, it does nothing to help the turkey stay moist.

Once you learn how to inject flavor in a turkey, you will take care of adding flavor and retaining moisture in one easy step.  Using a flavor injector lets you get the flavor deep into the turkey meat itself instead of just on the surface with a spice rub.

A flavor injector is basically a syringe with a needle attached to one end.  There are holes in the last portion of the needle that allows the flavoring to be released into the turkey meat.

oranges and a juicer

What do you inject into a turkey?

There are many different liquids you can use to inject flavor into a turkey.  The important thing to remember is that any liquid you put into the plastic plunger tube must be strained so that it is a clear liquid.  Little pieces of herbs, pulp from citrus juice, etc. will clog up the syringe and not allow the liquid to pass through.

If you want to use something that is not completely clear, make sure that you strain it through cheesecloth before you put it in the plastic plunger tube.

You can inject flavor into a whole turkey or into turkey breasts depending on what you’re cooking. The process is the same.  Fill the plunger with the liquid.

turkey in the oven

How long before cooking do you inject a turkey?

You can inject the turkey up to 36 hours in advance of when you cook it. But, you should let the turkey sit for at least 12 hours after injecting flavor. This allows the flavors a chance to penetrate the turkey meat. Always let the turkey marinate in the refrigerator.

Because I am part of the Good Cook Blogger Program, I received a variety of Thanksgiving tools to review including a Good Cook Flavor Injector.

a brine solution for turkey

Is it better to brine or inject a turkey?

I prefer turkey after injecting it with fruit juice. But, you could brine the turkey if you prefer. I think it’s a lot easier to inject flavor in a turkey. And, my preference is to keep my holiday meals as simple as possible. And, this really makes the best Thanksgiving leftover sandwich ever!

How to inject flavor in a turkey #goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexperts #sponsored

How do you inject a turkey without a injector?

It’s a lot easier to use an injector, but you can inject a turkey without one. Simply take a fork and poke holes into the skin of your turkey. Then, place the turkey in a large food service bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag and allow the turkey to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

How to fry a turkey?

If you’re wondering how to fry a turkey, you’ll have to check out the instructions on The Food Network. It’s not something I’ve ever tried, but I’d love to one day. I do think that injecting flavor in a turkey is easier.

How to inject flavor in a turkey #goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexperts #sponsored

Place the turkey or turkey breasts into a roasting pan.

How to inject flavor in a turkey #goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexperts #sponsored

Place your clear liquid in a bowl. Draw the liquid into the syringe by lowering the plunger and then drawing it out slowly. Ideally, you should spread the liquid throughout the turkey using as few puncture holes as possible.

injecting flavor in a turkey with an injector

Inject the syringe into the turkey breast and release a bit of the liquid.

Raw turkey in a pan with a pop up timer

Pull the needle out slightly but not completely from the hole. And, continue injecting flavor at different angles from the same hole. Repeat on the other side of the breast. If you are doing a whole turkey, repeat this step in the legs and thighs.

baked turkey in a pan after flavor has been injected

Cover the turkey and refrigerate for at least twelve hours to allow the liquid to flavor through the layers of meat. Cook per package instructions. I use the Good Cook Turkey Timers to tell me when it’s done.

baked turkey on a plate that has had flavor injected

Now that you know how to inject flavor in a turkey, you may want to learn how to marinate chicken with yogurt. Or, if you have leftovers, try these stuffing muffin cups. Or, check out this recipe that uses turkey sausage. If you’re concerned about your heart healthy, check out these heart healthy Thanksgiving tips.

More easy Thanksgiving recipes

Yield: 6

How to Inject Flavor in a Turkey to Keep it Moist and Flavorful

How to Inject Flavor in a Turkey to Keep it Moist and Flavorful

How to inject flavor in a turkey to keep it moist and flavor. Learn how to inject a turkey with these tips.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey
  • 1 cup of orange juice, broth or other clear liquid

Instructions

  1. Place the turkey or turkey breasts into a roasting pan.How to inject flavor in a turkey #goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexperts #sponsored
  2. Place your clear liquid in a bowl. Draw the liquid into the syringe by lowering the plunger and then drawing it out slowly. Ideally, you should spread the liquid throughout the turkey using as few puncture holes as possible.
  3. Inject the syringe into the turkey breast and release a bit of the liquid.
  4. Pull the needle out slightly but not completely from the hole. And, continue injecting flavor at different angles from the same hole. Repeat on the other side of the breast. If you are doing a whole turkey, repeat this step in the legs and thighs.
  5. Cover the turkey and refrigerate for at least twelve hours to allow the liquid to flavor through the layers of meat. Cook per package instructions.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 43 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 63mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 4g Protein: 3g
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Comments

  1. PERFECT TIMING. this is the first year in EONS we arent letting whole foods do all the work ;-)
  2. That does look really yummy! We always brine our turkey.
  3. Your post is perfect timing as we are going to be on our own this year to make a turkey.
  4. i have never tried doing this before but I bet it gives quite a nice flavor!
  5. christine reyes says
    Thanks for the tip. I might actually attempt a turkey this year. LOL I am always scared of cooking one, so I just cook a ham. But you make it look easy!
  6. Kelsey Apley says
    Great tips for sure! We are doing ham this year, but we always inject like this when we do a turkey, it helps a lot! 
  7. Jessica @FoundtheMarbles says
    This vegetarian has trouble with that whole concept, but her family loves it!!
  8. I have never injected anything into my turkey before, but I might just have to give it a try this year.
  9. Nancy Lustri (StyleDecor) says
    I bet the turkey came out soooo juicy. Looks wonderful! I'll have to try injecting my Thanksgiving turkey.
  10. Great way to make the turkey even better!
  11. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
    I've never tried to do that before, but then again, I usually hand that job over to someone else and do the baking part of it!
  12. Tammilee Tillison says
    Wow, I have never thought of injecting flavor into the turkey. That is a great tip. 
  13. Very good to know! I have never made a turkey yet, so I need the tips!!
  14. I never would have known how to do that! Thank you for sharing!! 
  15. Ashley - Embracing Homemaking says
    That does look yummy!! I've never injected flavor into any meat but this sounds easy.
  16. I'm not usually the one baking our Thanksgiving turkey, at least not at this point in my life, but I'm going to give this a try the next time I bake a chicken.
  17. Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom says
    I've never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey before and wouldn't have even thought about injecting flavor into it.  Thanks for the tips!
  18. Wow, that looks very easy!  Just in time for the Thanksgiving turkey!
  19. Kristin Wheeler (@MamaLuvsBooks) says
    Interesting! I'll have to bookmark this for closer to Thanksgiving! THANKS!
  20. What a great idea. My turkey always tastes a little bland.
  21. I have never injected a turkey before but I'm all for giving it a shot! Yours turned out beautiful.
  22. Tammy Woodall says
    It's hit or miss if my turkey will be dry or not. I'm hoping this will be a hit this year. Thank you for this information.
  23. Rhonda @ Travel? Yes Please! says
    That looks delicious! Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy and actually cook once in a while!
  24. I tried this with a chicken 2 years ago and the juice was squirting out into my oven. It almost started a grease fire. Any suggestions? I'm willing to try it with my turkey this year. Thanks.
  25. Love the blog name! I can relate! Back to the turkey...I have to admit this peaks my curiosity on how an injected turkey would taste. I'll have to give it a go this year! Thanks for sharing.
  26. Susan - ofeverymoment says
    Hi Ellen - I just want to let you know that I included it in my List of Fabulous Finds on my blog today ... today's finds are links to recipes for a completely fabulous Thanksgiving feast. I can't wait to serve turkey made like this!
  27. Shelley Strong says
    We always used to brine our turkeys. Last year we brined two and injected one. Everyone thought the injected turkey was the best: both more flavorful and more moist. This year we are injecting all three.

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