How to Baste a Turkey without Butter

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Italian dressing is the secret ingredient to basting a turkey without butter.
Italian dressing is the secret ingredient to basting a turkey without butter. (Image: Photo by Ryn Gargulinski)

We all love a juicy turkey, but not all of us are fond of the oily calories that come with a constant basting of the bird in butter. You can still get the same juicy results, with a fraction of the calories, if you baste a turkey without butter. This basting method will also add a pleasant zip to the turkey, so you’ll never know that butter is missing. Baste a turkey without butter by using a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Turkey
  • Basting instrument
  • Low fat Italian dressing
  • Low fat chicken broth

Prepare the turkey for baking as you normally would, cleaning its innards out and setting on a roasting pan. Make sure the turkey is fully thawed if you bought it frozen or the meat will not cook evenly.

Mix one cup chicken broth with one cup Italian dressing. To keep the calories lowest, choose a low fat broth and dressing. Some varieties may give you the same amount of calories as you would have using butter, so read the labels.

Brush or rub the raw turkey with the chicken broth and dressing mixture so the skin doesn’t dry out.

Place the bird in a preheated oven at 325 degrees. Every 25 minutes or so, pull the oven rack out containing the bird and baste with the chicken broth and dressing mixture. Make sure to squeeze some in the crevices between the wings, thighs and other areas. If you run out of the mixture, simply mix more by using equal parts chicken broth and dressing.

Remove the turkey from the oven when done. Let it cool and absorb the juices. Serve and enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • The length of time you cook a turkey depends on the weight of the bird. Directions are usually on the turkey’s packaging or you can find a weight chart online.
  • You can follow your own tried and true turkey recipe by simply substituting the broth and dressing mixture for your basting butter.
  • If you don’t have a basting instrument, you can always use a brush or even paper towel to rub the mixture on the turkey while it’s cooking.
  • Don’t tell fussy eaters that you didn’t use butter to baste the turkey or they may find any reason not to eat it.

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