Achiote Adobo Thanksgiving Turkey

tomatocitruschorizo

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey

Pavo de Acción de Gracias

Recipe Yield

10 servings

Cooking time

17 hours

Rate this recipe

4.41 from 5 votes

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons achiote paste from a bar
  • 6 cups bitter orange juice or its substitute
  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth or store bought
  • 12 cloves garlic charred, broiled or toasted with the skin on, and then peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

For the turkey:

  • 1 16- to 18-pound turkey rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 whole red onions peeled and sliced
  • 8 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 banana leaves (optional)
  • 1 brining bag large enough for a turkey (or an extra-large plastic bag)
  • Chorizo, Apple and Corn Bread Stuffing

To Prepare

To make the marinade:

  • In a blender or food processor, working in 2 batches, add the achiote paste, bitter orange juice or its substitute, chicken broth, garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth.
  • Slide the turkey, with the breast side down, into the brining bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and massage it into the bird, working it into the cavity and all the crevasses. Place the bag in a mixing bowl or roasting pan and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours, turning the turkey a couple of times to redistribute the marinade.

To make the turkey:

  • Set the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spread the onions and tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Sit the turkey on the vegetables breast side up. Stuff the main cavity with as much stuffing as it can hold and place the rest in a buttered baking dish. Close the cavity by crossing and tying the legs with butcher’s twine. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Pour as much of the remaining marinade over the turkey as will fit halfway up the pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Cover the turkey with layers of banana leaves, if you are using them, and then cover the entire pan with aluminum foil, sealing it as best as you can. The less steam that is able to escape the better.
  • Reduce the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place turkey back in the oven and roast for 3 1/2 hours, or for at least 12 minutes per pound. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the leaves and/or the foil, being careful as the steam is hot. Return to the oven and roast for 20 more minutes. The turkey should be completely cooked through and nearly falling off the bone.
  • Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes, loosely covered with the aluminum foil.
  • Strain all the cooked vegetables and juice into a medium 3-quart saucepan, pressing with the back of the spoon to get as much liquid as possible. Set aside 1 cup for the stuffing. Simmer the remaining sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has reduced by half.
  • While the turkey rests, pour the reserved marinade over the stuffing in the baking dish and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it is hot and the top is crisped.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing.

Comments

107comments inThanksgiving Turkey

  1. R. Castro

    Dec 31

    Made this for 2021 New Years Eve dinner…VERY moist and delicious! Definitivamente lo haré en otra ocasión! Gracias!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 06

      Que bueno que les gusto!!! Saludos y Feliz 2021 😉

  2. Mayra

    Nov 25

    I’m about to take on your Turkey Recipe this Thanksgiving. It’s my first time ever cooking the bird on my own! I’m following your recipe step by step and also making the Brussel Sprouts with Pork Belly as my side dish too!!! I’m very excited and nervous at the same time. I will let you know if it’s a success during our thanksgiving dinner! Besitos y abrazos! Gracias Pati! 🙏🦃🍁

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      Thanks for choosing my recipes for such a special celebration Mayra, don’t forget to let me know how did you like the Turkey and the Sprouts 😉

  3. Robert & Shawn

    Nov 24

    I just watched the episode for Thanksgiving!!! Just had to say I love u and love it all!!! Amazing as always!!! Happy a holiday and stay safe!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      Thanks so much for the kind words! Very happy that you enjoyed it 😉

  4. Janice

    Nov 23

    Any suggestions if I can’t find banana leaves?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      I would say visit the International Markets in your area and you will find them, they are very popular in Asian cooking as well (check the freezers, sometimes they have them there!). Or buy them online, because there is nothing that can make this Turkey so moist and flavor as banana leaves 🙂

  5. Amalia

    Nov 23

    ❤️

  6. Elda

    Nov 20

    Hello Patty

    What do you use to stuff turkey cavity?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 22

      I use the stuffing from this recipe Elda, hope you like it! https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/chorizo-apple-and-corn-bread-stuffing/

  7. Nicole

    Sep 07

    Starting to plan Thanksgiving 2020 and this turkey will be the star! I was wondering, would one be able to cook in an infrared fryer? Warmest thanks!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 17

      Sure, go for it Nicole!

  8. J.J.

    Dec 02

    I dutifully marinated the bird — all 20 lbs. of it: Added the stuffing at least a couple of pounds; then I sliced the onions and chopped the tomatoes which added a few more pounds. I use a Calphalon roaster, which is not lightweight and the rack. Finally, I filled the roaster pan halfway with the marinade. Then, I tried to lift it, LOL. I am not weak – I lift things all the time. This was, however, quite a bit heavier than I thought it would be. With help I got it into the oven. I followed all directions – including the banana leaves and foil. The result was everything I had hoped it would be — But, if I do this again, I will consider the weight and adjust accordingly. Thank you for a great opportunity to make a memorable feast.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 03

      It is heavy…but I’m so glad you enjoyed it, J.J.

  9. Debbie D

    Dec 02

    We made this Yucatan turkey and Chorizo stuffing on Thanksgiving! It was so tender and flavorful. We use banana leaves for our Guatemalan tamales, so I knew that the banana leaves on the turkey would give it an extra good flavor! Thank you and we LOVE watching your show!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 02

      I’m so glad you guys had a yum Thanksgiving, Debbie!

  10. Pilar

    Nov 28

    This Year My family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving Mexican Style, and we are following some of your recipes 🙂 Thank you, Patti for the inspiration! Viva Mexico

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 29

      I hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Pilar!

  11. Carmen Turkoff

    Nov 25

    I love your show. I planning to make the turkey on Thanksgiving, I hope I can buy the achote paste in Richmond Va.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 26

      You can also find it online, if you can’t find it locally, Carmen. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  12. Elizabeth Neily

    Nov 25

    My favorite recipe for marinade. Makes a juicy, flavorful Turkey. However my hubby likes my traditional potato (Nova Scotia) stuffing and gravy with red wine recipes. So this year we’ll see how it works out combining the two recipes.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 25

      Let me know how it goes, Elizabeth.

  13. Ana

    Nov 24

    Hola pati por que no haces el vídeo en español

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 25

      No tengo un vídeo…pero aquí está la receta en español: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/es/pavo-de-accion-de-gracias-a-la-mexicana/

  14. Leticia Champion

    Nov 23

    Hola Pati!
    I’m excited to try your turkey recipe! for the first time use banana leaves too. I’m nervous too because I’m hosting as well.
    Do you think I can use an electric roaster or should I really go with the oven? I like the idea roaster for the turkey and use my oven for the side dishes. Happy Thanksgiving Pati!

    Leticia

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 30

      Go for it, Leticia!

  15. Elena Paredes

    Nov 05

    Hi Pati –

    Planning to make your turkey on Thanksgiving. Where do you get your banana leaves in Washington, DC? Love all your recipes!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 11

      Give these a try, Elena:
      Panam International, 14th St NW
      H Mart (lots of locations)
      Mega Mart (lots of locations)
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Dalonne Boresahole

    Aug 27

    I woke up at 3am to find this Turkey Day show on tv and I was mesmerized by all the deliciousness I was seeing. I’m hooked and look forward to all your shows. Can’t wait to start trying your recipes!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 27

      I’m sorry you were up at 3am…but I’m glad you found the show, Dalonne!

  17. Aimee StJean

    Jul 23

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it ❤️

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 23

      Enjoy the turkey, Aimee!

  18. Antonio Celaya

    Dec 22

    I assume that the skins are on the garlic because it is toasted before blending. The recipe implies the papery skins go in the blender. That doesn’t seem a good idea.

    1. Pati

      Jan 01

      You peel the skin off the garlic after you char it. Enjoy the turkey Antonio!

  19. Antonio Celaya

    Dec 05

    I love the bitter orange and achiote blend. use it on lamb chops (with a bit of rum).

    I’d like to try your turkey recipe. I wonder whether it might cook well spatchcocked. Any thoughts?

    1. Pati

      Dec 11

      Give it a go, Antonio!

  20. Carlos Ayala

    Nov 21

    This was one of the very first episodes I ever watched of your show! And from that day forward, I always look forward to seeing it stream every Saturday afternoon. As for this dish, I may not be the master of roasting turkey, but I love this a twist from the classic and the flavors sound delicious together. Happy Thanksgiving Pati, to you and your famliy 🙂

    1. Pati

      Nov 24

      Thank you for tuning in every Saturday, Carlos! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  21. Claudia

    Nov 21

    Pati,
    If my turkey is smaller like 14 lbs, should I reduce the amount of marinade?

    1. Pati

      Nov 21

      You can by a bit, but I used a 16-18lb turkey, so you don’t need to reduce too much, Claudia.

  22. Pilar

    Nov 18

    Thanks Pati, por todas las ricas recetas, I will be making this Turkey on thanksgiving 2018 ❤️

    1. Pati

      Nov 19

      Feliz día de acción de gracias, Pilar!

  23. Margi

    Nov 16

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Pati, thank you so much for sharing your culture and being such a great ambassador for Hispanic culture. As well as showing how much more the food of Mexico really is! Muchas gracias Señora.

    1. Pati

      Nov 16

      Thank you for the kind words, Margi! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Anonymous

    Nov 13

    Last year I had everything ready and the element in my oven burned out while it was pre heating! We ended up smoking it which all the flavors away! So this year, with a NEW oven Im so excited to make it!!! Wish me luck!!!

    1. Pati

      Nov 14

      Oh no I’m sorry you had oven troubles…but good luck this year!

  25. Rebecca Perez

    Oct 30

    Hola Pati hermosa, me inspiras mucho, eres una mujer linda, gracias por ser como eres, el ano pasado hice esta receta, pero ya no hayo el video, Pati me puede ayudar porfavor, quiero ver el video..
    Gracias Dios los bendiga grandemente🧡

    1. Pati

      Oct 30

      Puedes ver el video en Amazon, Rebecca! Season 5, Episode 11: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07323NLJD/ref=atv_dp_season_select_atf

  26. Julia Kunborn

    Sep 20

    Se ve super bueno…!!! Lo acabo de ver por tv….y wow…!!!

    1. Pati

      Oct 02

      Gracias, Julia!

  27. Arline Arreche

    Sep 16

    My mother in law was from mecico city she was mayan. She made a meat dressing but it had olives in it. Shes gone now and im wondering if i could get your thoughts

  28. Rosa alarcon

    Dec 25

    Hola hermosa me fallo en cosida pero lo meti otra hora y media el juego del stufging wow

    1. Pati

      Dec 27

      🙂

  29. Margarita Ocana

    Nov 28

    THIS TURKEY RECIPE WAS A WINNER AT OUR HOME THIS YEAR!!!
    MIL GRACIAS 🙂

    1. Pati

      Nov 29

      Awesome!!!

  30. James Torlin

    Nov 26

    Well I had a whole house full of Mexicans for Thanksgiving they enjoyed the turkey but they did not like the cornbread stuffing it was too sweet white people like the stuffing

    1. Pati

      Nov 28

      I’m glad everyone enjoyed the turkey…but sorry they didn’t like the stuffing.:)

  31. R

    Nov 22

    Hi Pati, What do you recommend we do with the grease that comes off the turkey? Do you separate it off before you push the solids through the sieve? Thanks for your help!

    1. Pati

      Nov 30

      ​Yes! That is a good idea.

  32. Kevin

    Nov 22

    Hi Pati do I use the same marinade that I used for the Turkey, back over the Turkey when I roast it?

    1. Pati

      Nov 30

      No…when you roast the turkey the juices from the bird and veggies is what you use to make the sauce.

  33. Jeanette

    Nov 22

    Pati – Feliz Día de dar Gracias! Tengo 2 pavos este año. Uno a tu estilo – Yucatán/Mexicano, el otro a mi estilo – Cubano. Aquí vamos atener parte de las Naciones Unidas jajaja. Muchísimas gracias por compartir tantas recetes requisimas e historias tan lindas por tantos años! ❤️

    1. Pati

      Nov 29

      Super!!! Feliz Día de dar Gracias a ti!

  34. Tom

    Nov 22

    We just put the bird in to marinate last night at 1:30 AM. Ivan has posted the photo on FB. Can’t wait to see how it turns out at tomorrow’s dinner here in DC!

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      Yay! I hope you all enjoy it and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. Savannah

    Nov 22

    Hey Pati! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I’m proud to say I’m doing your Thanksgiving this year. The turkey, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes. But I chose a dessert out of all your desserts, and I’m doing Oreo Conchas. Thank you. Have a great holiday.

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      That’s awesome! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving too!

  36. Celia

    Nov 21

    Wow.gracias por compartir. Y la receta del relleno donde lo puedo encontrar.

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      Gracias, Celia!

  37. Anonymous

    Nov 21

    Hola paty. Gracias por la receta, es facil y el turkey se mira delicioso. Donde puedo ver el video del relleno. Bye. Tnks.

  38. Christina

    Nov 21

    Hi! Pati,
    If I am cooking the turkey in a bag instead of banana leaves (I could not find any) would I add the onion and tomatoes in the bag or sauté separately???

    Im Truly one of your biggest fans!!!

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      You would do the onion and tomatoes in the bag, it will be just as YUM!​

  39. Celia Hickisch

    Nov 20

    Pati thank you so much for your show. Mi mama ya no esta conmigo y cocinar pues mas o menos puedo. Pero gracias a ti estoy cocinando mas. Grabo todos tus shows y luego me ando hablando contigo como si estuvieras escuchandome. jaja
    Saludos

    1. Pati

      Nov 22

      Abrazos!

  40. Zehl, from Orlando FL

    Nov 19

    Wow, thanks for sharing with so much love, caring effort and dedication.

    1. Pati

      Nov 20

      Thank you, Zehl!

  41. Vianey

    Nov 18

    Me gustaría ver el vídeo para darme una idea

      1. Vianey

        Nov 22

        Gracias ya está en proceso mi turkey. Espero y todo me salga mal😋😉

        1. Pati

          Nov 22

          Buena suerte!

  42. Bernice Aridjis

    Nov 13

    Love your recipes Patty. On my way to get the ingredients 🦃!

    1. Pati

      Nov 14

      I hope you love this recipe too, Bernice!

  43. Nancy Ramirez

    Nov 11

    Pati – I fell in love with your show while I was on maternity leave last year. I’m trying your recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I am so excited to try it! Wish this 1st time Thanksgiving cook good luck!

    1. Pati

      Nov 13

      Oh good luck, Nancy!!!

  44. Jeanna Rodriguez

    Oct 12

    Pati it’s just my husband and I can I do the same thing with little game hen ?

    1. Pati

      Oct 13

      Absolutely! You can also do it with a chicken if you like. I recommend you cut down the ingredients and the time on each step by a third if you use a 3 pound game hen or chicken.

  45. Bren

    Oct 12

    Wonderful!!! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you.

    1. Pati

      Oct 13

      Yay!

  46. Darunee

    Jul 29

    Just saw this episode in Australia. Mexican food ingredients are not widely available here. So what can I use to substitute achiote paste? Also, would regular orange juice instead of bitter orange work? Thanks!

    1. Pati

      Jul 31

      You can make a bitter orange substitute and here is the recipe: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/bitter-orange-juice-substitute/ There isn’t a substitute for achiote paste…but you can maybe find it online.

  47. Susan

    Jun 25

    I’ve been watching you for ages. Just watched the Thanksgiving episode this week. As much as I love your trips through Mexico, I think this was my favorite episode! Your joy in cooking and especially your pleasure in cooking with your so precious son (and I’m a sucker for boys!) was shining through the airwaves! I’ve cooked several of your recipes and can’t wait to try these! Almost makes me want to cook the family Thanksgiving meal this year…almost 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jul 06

      Thank you Susan. I’m so happy you really enjoyed the episode!

  48. Todd Yoshikawa

    Apr 29

    If I didn’t want to put stuffing inside the turkey, what would you recommend to put inside in order to infuse flavor and maintain moisture in the turkey?

    1. Pati

      May 08

      You can put onion and/or celery and/or carrots…or you can quarter and stuff the turkey with oranges.

  49. Jayme Maria

    Apr 29

    I’m watching now and can’t wait to make this — also, thanks to the other viewer that mentioned trying this with chicken — what a great idea! Pati, thank you for entertaining us with your stories and delicious recipes. You’re a wonderful teacher!
    P.S.
    I love your molcajete ^-^

    1. Pati

      May 05

      🙂

  50. Paul J. Arreguin Jr.

    Apr 27

    Just saw this on TV. I tell you I was drooling the whole time and I’m not waiting for Thanksgiving to do this. Thanks.

    1. Pati

      Apr 28

      Hahaha!

  51. Lydia

    Mar 05

    looked so good and the ingredients sounded so good that I thought it would make a tasty experiment on the second turkey. Thank you

    1. Pati

      Mar 06

      Yay!!!

  52. Jacqueline MacKinnon

    Feb 19

    I tried this recipe on a chicken. The aroma was amazing & the chicken so moist. My husband enjoyed it too. Can’t wait to do the turkey now. Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Feb 23

      Isn’t the aroma to die for…I’m hungry just thinking about it. Hope you like the turkey!

  53. Jksulli@gmail.com

    Feb 13

    Dear Patti,
    Thank you so much for your show!! I just saw your Thanksgiving turkey episode. .. your a great ambassador to Mexican cooking and culture…and thank you so much for your honest, non-sarcastic sense of humor… its refreshing that your not trying to be anyone but yourself…humor and lighthearteness are so important in our daily lives…and your

    1. Pati

      Feb 16

      I am so flattered. Thank you so much for watching & for taking a minute to write to me!

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