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Achiote Turkey

Thanksgiving is around the corner! This achiote-marinated turkey is the perfect twist on the traditional roasted bird.

Tasty Team
November 15, 2022
Total Time

4 hr 20 min

4 hr 20 min

Prep Time

1 hr

1 hr

Cook Time

3 hr

3 hr

Achiote Turkey
Total Time

4 hr 20 min

4 hr 20 min

Prep Time

1 hr

1 hr

Cook Time

3 hr

3 hr

Ingredients

for 12 servings

Dry Brine

  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 oz achiote or annatto paste (55 g)
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 small garlic cloves

Turkey

  • 12 lb turkey (5 kg), thawed, giblets removed
  • ½ cup olive oil (120 mL)
  • ½ orange
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ yellow onion

Seasoned Butter

  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 oz achiote or annatto paste (55 g)
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Make the dry brine: Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the black peppercorns and bay leaves until finely ground. Add the oregano and achiote paste and grind to break up the achiote, then add the salt and continue grinding until incorporated .Add the garlic and grind until well-combined. (Alternatively, add the dry brine ingredients to a coffee grinder or blender and blend until all ingredients are well-combined.)
  2. Place the turkey in a large, oven-safe roasting pan and rub with the dry brine on all sides. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  3. Make the seasoned butter: In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and achiote paste. Let the achiote soften for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to dissolve.
  4. Add the butter to a medium bowl, along with the softened achiote paste, and mix until smooth and well-incorporated. Add the orange zest, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix until evenly combined.
  5. Use your hands to separate the skin from the breast, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub the inside and outside of the turkey, including under the skin, with the seasoned butter. Cover again and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  6. When ready to roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  7. Rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Place the orange half and the red and yellow onion inside the turkey cavity.
  8. Place the turkey in the oven, uncovered, and roast, basting every 30 minutes with the juices from the bottom of the pan, for a total of 3 hours, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F (75°C).
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, baste one more time, then cover and let rest for 1 hour before carving.
  10. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for 12 servings

Dry Brine

  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 oz achiote or annatto paste (55 g)
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 small garlic cloves

Turkey

  • 12 lb turkey (5 kg), thawed, giblets removed
  • ½ cup olive oil (120 mL)
  • ½ orange
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ yellow onion

Seasoned Butter

  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 oz achiote or annatto paste (55 g)
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Make the dry brine: Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the black peppercorns and bay leaves until finely ground. Add the oregano and achiote paste and grind to break up the achiote, then add the salt and continue grinding until incorporated .Add the garlic and grind until well-combined. (Alternatively, add the dry brine ingredients to a coffee grinder or blender and blend until all ingredients are well-combined.)
  2. Place the turkey in a large, oven-safe roasting pan and rub with the dry brine on all sides. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  3. Make the seasoned butter: In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and achiote paste. Let the achiote soften for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to dissolve.
  4. Add the butter to a medium bowl, along with the softened achiote paste, and mix until smooth and well-incorporated. Add the orange zest, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix until evenly combined.
  5. Use your hands to separate the skin from the breast, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub the inside and outside of the turkey, including under the skin, with the seasoned butter. Cover again and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  6. When ready to roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  7. Rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Place the orange half and the red and yellow onion inside the turkey cavity.
  8. Place the turkey in the oven, uncovered, and roast, basting every 30 minutes with the juices from the bottom of the pan, for a total of 3 hours, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F (75°C).
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, baste one more time, then cover and let rest for 1 hour before carving.
  10. Enjoy!
Achiote Turkey

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