A whole new way to cook your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey. This Mexican Turkey Recipe is poached in a lime broth and then roasted to ensure a juicy and incredibly flavorful bird!
Recipe first posted November 30, 2021 and last updated November 12, 2022.
Are you looking for a different way to cook your turkey this year?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
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.
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 not that much more complicated than your average turkey roasting affair. With a tender turkey breast and no worries wondering if the thickest part of the thigh is cooked through.
There are no special bags, no brining, no basting, 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:
- A lidded pot big enough to fit the turkey in.
- To have enough room in your refrigerator for the pot. Or if you live in a cold enough climate you can put it on your front porch or non-heated garage, as long as it is 30°F or colder outside.
Ingredients To Make This Mexican Turkey
- White onions
- Jalapeños or serrano chiles
- Fresh oregano
- Bay leaves
- 2 tbsp Black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- 10-12 pound turkey
How To Make It (with step-by-step photos)
Prepare the poaching liquid. Combine the onions, jalapeños, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, oregano, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt in a stock pot large enough to hold the turkey. I use a 20 quart stock pot. This pot will also need to fit in your refrigerator so keep that in mind.
Add water and bring to a boil. Fill the pot about a third of the way up with water. I used 8 cups water. You don’t want to add too much or it will overflow when you add the turkey. You can always add more if necessary. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Add turkey. While the poaching liquid is heating, remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Cut off the plastic piece that holds the legs together. Once the liquid comes to a boil. Add the turkey with the legs sticking up. Try to submerge it as much as possible but don’t worry if it isn’t completely submerged, you can turn it later. Add more water if possible. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Poach off the heat. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let poach at room temperature, covered, for 4 hours.
Chill. Place pot in the refrigerator to soak in the poaching liquid overnight.
Roast. Heat oven to 400°F. Remove turkey from the poaching liquid by lifting it out with your hands from the bottom. Don’t lift by the legs or they will come off. Place on a rack in a roasting pan or very large baking dish breast side up and roast turkey in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour and 15 min, depending on the size of the turkey. You want to bake it until the internal temperature is 150°F and the skin is golden. Turn off heat and let rest in the oven for 1 hour.
Carve. Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest 30 minutes then carve and serve.
Save broth. Strain poaching liquid and use in place of chicken broth in all your favorite recipes. It makes and awesome soup with the leftover turkey!
More holiday recipes to try!
- Vegan Atole
- 25 Must-Try Mexican Appetizers
- Pumpkin Spice Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Simple and Quick Champurrado
- Pumpkin Mole Sauce
- Red Mole Pork Tamales
- Thanksgiving Paloma Cocktail
This Mexican Turkey Recipe Will Become A Holiday Staple
If you’ve never cooked a turkey like this before, you will not believe how delicious and easy it is. When you make it please let me know by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !
- 3 white onions, sliced
- 3 jalapeños or serrano chiles, stemmed and cut in half
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half
- 8 ounces tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Juice of 4 limes
- 10 fresh sprigs oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 (10-12 pound) whole fresh or defrosted turkey, neck and giblets removed
- Prepare poaching liquid. Combine all ingredients except the turkey in a pot large enough to hold the turkey (mine is 20 quarts). Fill a third of the way with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt. Don't fill it more than this or the pot will overflow when you add the turkey. You can always add more water later if you need to.
- Poach turkey. Remove plastic piece that holds the legs of the turkey together. Remove the neck and giblets and set aside to make gravy. Add the turkey, legs up, to the poaching liquid pressing down so as much of it is covered by the liquid as possible and immediatley reduce heat to low, you don't need to wait for it to come back to a boil. It's okay if it is not completely submerged, you can turn it later. If you added too much water in the beginning ladle extra water out so it doesn't overflow. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, then remove pot from heat and turn turkey to submerge the part that might have been exposed at the beginning. Let turkey cool to room temperature (about 4 hours). Refrigerate turkey in broth overnight.
- Roast turkey. Remove turkey from the refrigerator. Heat oven to 400°F. Carefully remove bird from the pot by lifting the body with your hands. Don't lift by the legs, they will come off. Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes- 1 hour 15 minutes (depending on the size of the turkey) or until the skin is golden and a thermometer reaches 150°F. then turn oven off and leave turkey inside the oven for 1 hour. The turkey is fully cooked at 165°F, it will continue cooking while resting in the oven with the oven off. If the skin is getting too dark, cover with turkey with foil and continue roasting until it has reached the proper temperature.
- Carve. Remove turkey, let rest for about 15-20 minutes, covered with foil. Carve and serve.
- What to do with the broth. Strain the leftover poaching liquid and save for another use.
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.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g
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