Roasted Turkey with Achiote Citrus Marinade

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


Achiote paste gives the rub for this recipe a deep red hue, making for a visually striking roast holiday bird. This recipe, developed by chef Mary Sue Milliken, first appeared in the iPad edition of our November 2013 issue with the article State of Grace.

What You Will Need


  • 6 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice, plus 2 whole navel oranges, cut into quarters
  • 34 cup achiote paste
  • 6 medium jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 heads garlic (1 with cloves peeled and roughly chopped, 2 halved crosswise)
  • 3 tbsp. black peppercorns, plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (10-12 lb.) turkey
  • 2 large onions, quartered


Step 1

Combine cilantro, orange juice, achiote paste, jalapeños, roughly chopped garlic, peppercorns, and 3 tbsp. salt in a blender. Purée into a smooth marinade. Rub turkey inside and out with marinade and season with salt and pepper. Place quartered oranges, halved garlic heads, and quartered onions inside turkey. Transfer turkey, breast side up, to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Refrigerate uncovered 1 hour or up to overnight.

Step 2

Heat oven to 425°. Roast turkey until skin is crisp and and dark red-brown, about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°, about 2 hours. Transfer turkey to a serving platter; let sit at least 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Watch How to Carve a Turkey

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.