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Citrus-Marinated Thanksgiving Turkey

4 hrs 35 mins
1 hr
Make the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey with zesty, citrusy and garlicky flavors.
Make the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey with zesty, citrusy and garlicky flavors.TODAY
4 hrs 35 mins
1 hr


For the marinade
  • 1 Spanish onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 16 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 3 sour oranges (called Seville oranges), juiced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
For the herb butter
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
For the turkey and cavity filling
  • 1 (14- to 16-pound) fresh turkey
  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 navel orange, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, whole but with top sliced off
For the roasting liquid
  • 6 cups turkey stock or bone broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh oregano
For the glaze
  • 1 cup guava jam
    Fulfilled by

    Chef notes

    Say bye-bye to bland birds! This Latin-inspired marinade made with garlic, fresh herbs, tart orange juice and smoked paprika infuses every bite of this turkey with explosive flavor and helps keep the bird moist and juicy even through the long cook time. The herb butter is great with chicken, too! 

    Swap options: If you can't find Seville or sour oranges, substitute with the juice of 2 navel oranges and 1 large lemon.

    Instead of guava jam, use apricot or seedless raspberry jam for the glaze. 

    RELATED: TODAY recipes are now shoppable — and it makes ordering groceries online so easy


    Prepare the marinade:


    In a blender or food processor, combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, smoked Spanish paprika, sour orange juice, olive oil, black pepper and salt. Puree until smooth.


    Taste it for seasoning. If you taste it and it’s still pleasant (like you could easily eat it as a salad dressing), add more salt. This amount of salt won't be evident in the final turkey, but it will make the bird super flavorful, so don’t be afraid to add more. Once ready, set the marinade aside.

    Prepare the herb butter:


    In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter with the thyme, oregano and paprika until well blended. Set aside and keep at room temperature.

    Prepare the fresh turkey:


    Remove the giblets and turkey neck from the turkey cavity and set them aside to make stock later. Pat the bird dry and use your hands to separate the skin from the breast of the bird. Using your hands, scoop the herb butter and massage into the bird under the skin and inside the bird cavity. Use all of the butter.


    Place turkey on a large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and completely cover the bird with the marinade, pouring it inside the cavity, over the entire bird and under the skin. Use all of the marinade.


    Refrigerate turkey uncovered for 24 to 48 hours.

    To cook the turkey: 


    Remove turkey from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking and preheat oven to 325 F.


    Fill the bird cavity with the prepped onion, lemon, orange and garlic (chop the top off the head to expose the cloves). Use twine to tie the legs together.


    Place the bird on a roasting rack.


    Fill the bottom of the roasting pan with 3 cups of broth, 1 cup of orange juice, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Cover with foil.


    Roast for 2 hours, then remove the foil. Add another cup of broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast uncovered for an additional 2 hours and 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 175 F.


    When the bird is cooked, use a pastry brush to brush the outside of the bird with guava jam. Place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until glaze sets. 


    Let turkey sit for about 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!