The Barefoot Contessa’s Recipe for Perfect Roast Turkey Made Skinny

turkey photo
I love Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipe for roasting turkey. I decided to share it because it’s a really easy recipe to make and comes out moist and flavorful.  I did change a few things from her original recipe to keep it skinny.  First, her recipe coats the turkey with ½ stick of melted butter.  I used reduced-fat butter, which cuts the fat in half.  Next, after the turkey roasts for 1 hour, she tosses a medley of vegetables with ¼ cup olive oil and adds them to the same pan as the turkey continues to cook.  Not only is that quite a lot of oil but in addition, all the fat from the turkey seeps into the vegetables while cooking.  It’s best to make one of my vegetable dishes and served it on the side.  You’ll just love this recipe anyways.  The thyme, lemon, onions and garlic gives it a classic turkey flavor that’s just PERFECT!!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hr 30 minutes


1 fresh turkey or frozen and thawed (about 12 pounds)

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 large bunch of fresh thyme

1 lemon, halved

1 onion, quartered

1 head garlic, halved crosswise

¼ cup reduced-fat butter, melted

String (to tie legs together)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers, if it has any, and pat the outside dry.

3. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle inside the turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with thyme, lemon, onions and garlic.

4. Brush the outside of the turkey with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

5. Roast the turkey for about 2½ hours until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest 20 minutes.

6. To keep the turkey skinny, remove the skin before or after craving.

Serves 12 (Skinny Facts for 1 serving is based on 5 ounces turkey breast, skin removed)

Food Fact

This recipe is from Ina Garten’s Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Healthy Benefit

Turkey breast is a good choice of poultry for a healthy diet. It is an excellent low fat, high protein food. Because turkey is low on the glycemic index, it helps regulate your blood sugar, which can prevent hunger between meals.

Prep Tip

When you let the turkey “rest” for 20 minutes at room temperature it allows its natural juices to redistribute throughout the flesh and set. This produces an evenly moist result and makes the bird easier to crave.
If using a meat thermometer to check for doneness, the breast temperature should be 170 degrees and the thigh should read 180 degrees.

Weight Watchers
(old points) 4
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 (5 ounce) serving of turkey breast, skin removed
164 calories, 4g fat, 24g protein, 6g carbs, 0g fiber, 410mg sodium, 5g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 serving (not including the vegetables and olive oil)
344 calories, 17g fat, 36g protein, 7g carbs, 0g fiber, 475mg sodium, 5g sugar


  1. This is NOT her recipe. Perhaps you wanted to draw people using her name, but once you decide to change things up, it is no longer hers.

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!