Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Mexican Lime-Poached and Roasted Turkey

November 12, 2015
A whole new way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey; this poached and roasted turkey ensure a juicy and incredibly flavorful bird and the technique is easy!

Behold! I give you quite possibly the easiest Thanksgiving turkey recipe ever.

Mexican Turkey

Keep in mind I did not say the fastest but the easiest one I’ve ever made, and I’ve made my fair share of turkeys like this one, and this one, and even this one. They were all good but they all took the kind of effort you’d expect for the centerpiece of the year’s most important meal.

Let’s go back to one year ago today when I was eternally washing dishes and listening to turkey roasting tips from Ariane Daguin when she said she poached her turkey before roasting it. What the what?!!! In her beautiful French accent she explained how briefly poaching the turkey the night before in a rich broth infuses the turkey with loads of flavor and not only that, you are pre-cooking it ever so slightly which cuts down significantly on the roasting time, resulting in a juicier bird.

Mexican Lime Turkey

Well, I knew that was the turkey for me. I was willing to go the extra mile for such a glorious-sounding bird but to my pleasant surprise it turned out to be so much easier than your average Thanksgiving roasting affair.

Mexican Lime-Poached Turkey

There are no special bags, no brining, no basting, it takes about a quarter of the time and bonus, you are left with boatloads of delicious turkey broth that you can use to make soup with the leftovers! The only, ever-so-slightly, annoying thing is that you do have to let it sit in the broth overnight. So you will need to A: Have a lidded pot big enough to fit the turkey in. And B: Have enough room in your refrigerator for the pot. Or if you live in a cold enough climate (like me) you can put it on your front porch or non-heated garage, as long as it is 30°F or colder outside.

Mexican Lime-Poached and Turkey

Then the next day you place that baby in a roasting pan and roast it at a pretty high heat for only—get this— 30 Minutes! That’s it! And then turn your oven off and leave the turkey to finish gently cooking from the residual heat.

Mexican Lime-Poached and Roasted Turkey

I tell you that skin was so shatteringly crisp and gorgeous I think I shed a tear. And the meat was tender and soaked with lime and garlic and pepper and bay. I went with Mexican-inspired flavors but you could add anything you want to the broth. Basic carrots, onion, celery are gorgeous or you can go really exotic and add cinnamon stick, dried chiles, or saffron. Have fun with it but just remember, no recipe will make up for a crappy turkey so make sure you buy one that hasn’t been jacked up with saline solution or any other weirdness. In my opinion, organic, free-range is best.


Mexican Lime-Poached and Roasted Turkey Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe inspired by D'Artagnan This recipe works best, logistically, for smaller birds. Anything bigger than 14 pounds becomes a bit cumbersome unless you are blessed with an enormous fridge. If you'd like to make the roasted butternut squash and charred scallions as seen in the pictures, lay thick slices of squash on a baking sheet, toss with oil and salt and roast at 425°F for 20 minutes then place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown. For the scallions, toss with oil, salt, and pepper and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until lightly charred.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 3 jalapeños, stemmed and cut in half
  • 2 heads garlic, cut in half
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 10 fresh sprigs oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 (10-12 pound) whole fresh or defrosted turkey, neck and giblets removed
  1. Combine all ingredients except the turkey in a pot large enough to hold the turkey. Fill halfway with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the turkey and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, then remove pot from heat and let turkey cool to room temperature (about 4 hours). Refrigerate turkey in broth overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 400°F. Take bird out of the pot and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes then turn oven off and leave turkey inside for 1 hour.
  4. Remove turkey, let rest for about 15-20 minutes, slice and serve.

One More Thing

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  • nicole November 12, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    what a great method! i’m assuming this recipe will apply to any yardbird? we have two 10ish pound free range chickens that have only eaten butterflies and drank dolphin tears, so will try this method and a traditional method and will keep you posted on which is the crowd pleaser!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

      Fantastic idea!! What else is on the menu?

  • Susan November 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Kate, I think I will love you forever for this. I hate brining because it leaves the meat impossibly salty (at least for me). So this solves the problem that brining does, but without making the meat indelible. Living on the border with Mexico, I think that the Mexican flavors are perfect (I’ve fallen in love with Mexican flavors since I moved here). Thank you for this wonderful solution.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 14, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      You don’t know how happy that makes me Susan! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

  • Tuya November 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Kate,
    One of our little guests learned about Thanksgiving food. Wanted to know if we are making gravy. Just thought you may have something that could go well with the Mexican – lime poached turkey.

  • Leigh Suznovich November 24, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Oh wow, I love this twist on the traditional turkey! Yum!!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks so much Leigh! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Tuya November 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you very much Kate! Happy happy Thanksgiving.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Sure thing, Tuya!!!