Thanksgiving Dinner Skill-School Day #1: Fabulous, Easy HERB-BUTTER-TURKEY-RUB & BREAD-SPREAD

Yay! We’re so glad you dropped in to take a peek in our kitchen! Before we get cookin’ you may want to check out what you missed in our intro post:

Herb-Butter-Turkey-Rub & Bread-Spread:

~about 1 hour if cooking with kids~

Herbs and butter are two of my favorite things. What is more beautiful than a summer’s terra-cotta-potted herb garden? And what is more indulgently divine than cooking with butter? Put them together and —holy basil —yum!

This cooking day will be a feast for your kiddos’ senses! They will get to touch, wash, sniff, pluck, and taste the fresh, fragrant herbs that make the turkey the crowning centerpiece of of a festive Thanksgiving dinner.

~The Bird Behind the BUTTER~

A few years ago, I was determined to cook the internet’s favorite Thanksgiving turkey. After hours of research (I only had one kid back then), I selected what seemed to be the prize turkey: Bobby Flay’s Herb-Roasted Thanksgiving Day Bird. Holy heart-attack, the internet was right. We cooked it up just like Bobby said and gobble-gobble-golly-gee! We roasted that turkey basically the same as we always had before. . . but that bird was singing! As it turned out, it wasn’t so much the bird as the BUTTER that made all the difference! As far as I’m concerned, Bobby’s butter won the country fair blue ribbon . . . the turkey was just there for kicks and giblets.

This butter is the best-ever turkey rub (thanks Bobby Flay!) but it’s just as good served with your Thanksgiving rolls as the most delicious bread-spread you’ve ever tasted. I strongly suggest you make more than you need for the turkey so there is plenty for bread, leftovers, and using on other dishes. For example, this butter is amazing in a morning-after-Thanksgiving omelet or scramble, or a next-day-turkey-sandwich. You can even freeze a container of it to spread on your Christmas roast and to make herb-butter gravy—just about the happiest Christmas miracle that ever happened in my kitchen . . . but that’s another story.


*Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Herb-Roasted Turkey*

I know it is kind of sacri-foodie to adapt a recipe by a master chef like Bobby Flay, but we had good reasons to do so! Here’s what we changed and why:

1.) We cut out the parsley. Mostly because we don’t really like parsley. Ok, the parsley was great on the turkey . . . but we wanted to spread that butter on everything we could get our hands on and the parsley wasn’t our favorite on bread, eggs, or in gravy. We made more butter without the parsley and the whole family gave it a thumbs up as the best bread-spread and all-around world’s-best-everything-rub.

2.) We added the salt and pepper directly to the turkey. This was again so that our herb-butter could double-duty as bread-spread which is better without salt and pepper (if using salted butter).

3.) We doubled (ok tripled) it. Yeah, we may need an intervention.

4.) We used a little bit more butter in our ratio. I know, I know, but it’s only once a year! It just makes for a little bit more subtle a flavor for using on rolls, and the kids like it more that way.

5.) We chopped the herbs ourselves. We don’t like to use the food processor like Bobby recommends only because it turned our butter green and we don’t like that Sam-I-Am. Cutting the herbs by hand only took a few extra minutes and it gave us a beautifully yellow butter jeweled with green herbs.


*enough to rub one large turkey, plus bread-spread for up to eight guests . . . and maybe a little leftover*

  • 4 sticks of salted, sweet-cream butter (or two cups of your favorite non-dairy)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary (about one packet)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage (about one packet)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (about 2 packets)

Let’s get Cookin’!

*click here to check out our tips for kicking it with kids in the kitchen*

1.) Set out butter for a few hours before you begin

2.) Wash herbs (ages 2 and up)

3.) Dry herbs (ages 2 and up)

4.) Remove leaves from stalks and reserve (ages 2 and up)

5.) Chop and measure out 3 tablespoons each (ages 7 and up with caution/best judgment)

*save any extra herbs for adding to turkey or for stuffing*

6.) Add to butter (ages 2 and up, with help)

7.) Mix well with a spoon (ages 5 and up)

*if butter is not soft enough, place in a warm bowl of water or in a warm spot for a few minutes and mix again*

8.) Store until Thanksgiving day in fridge or freezer (I put ours in freezer not because I am worried it will spoil . . . but because I was worried it would get eaten!)

9.) Day-of Turkey-Rub Instructions: I don’t recommend involving the kids for this task. Remove about 1/4-1/3 cups herb butter into a separate container (no cross-contamination!) and rub all over your turkey and under its skin. Be sure to salt and pepper your turkey after you butter it since we left the salt and pepper out of the butter. Roast that turkey your favorite way, or use Bobby Flay’s method, which we give a thumbs up.


Thanks for Kickin’ it in the Kitchen with us! Join us tomorrow for cranberry sauce & vegan cashew “cheese” & chive dip!

Thanks for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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