Bring a new twist to your Thanksgiving table by making this delicious no-brine Persian Spiced Turkey. It’s juicy, tasty and filled with aromatic spices that will take your Thanksgiving dinner to a whole new world!
If you’re looking for delicious and tasty Thanksgiving recipes, you’re in the right place! From homemade stuffing to cheesy scalloped potatoes and an easy turkey gravy recipe, you’ll find everything you need to have a great Thanksgiving. And this Persian spiced turkey is going to be a showstopper!
Why is this spiced turkey a winner?
I’m so excited to share this with you, for a few reasons:
- It’s really, really delicious. The leftovers are even better.
- It’s different from a traditional brined turkey. This Middle Eastern turkey recipe is one of a kind and it’s bursting with amazing flavors such as saffron and turmeric.
- This turkey is so easy to make. I mean, if I can make it, I bet you can make it!
How big of a turkey do I need for Thanksgiving?
If you’re planning to have leftovers, plan to have 1.5 pound turkey per person. This was an eleven-pound turkey and it is totally enough for a 6-8 people for thanksgiving.
When should I buy the Turkey for Thanksgiving?
It depends whether you’re planning to buy fresh or frozen. If buying fresh turkey, then you can purchase it up to 2 days prior to cooking. However, if you’re buying frozen turkey, then you can buy it any time between 6 months to 4 days before cooking day.
How long does it take to thaw the turkey?
I always thaw turkey in the fridge and it takes 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. So for an eleven pound turkey you would probably need about three days.
Read more about turkey and how to keep it.
What spices to put on turkey before cooking
To make a turkey that’s packed with delicious flavors, I made a seasoning blend with spices that go well together and keep the turkey very tasty such as:
- Chili Powder
These warm spices compliment the flavor of turkey and also pair well with the side dishes that are served on Thanksgiving. You can also use Persian spice mix called Advieh for this spiced turkey recipe.
How to make Persian spiced turkey
The morning that I made this Persian turkey, I made sure that the inside was completely clean. I pat dried the skin completely and then made a compound butter with butter, chili pepper, cumin and cinnamon. I rubbed the compound butter under the skin all over the turkey, especially the breast. This will keep the meat nice and juicy.
Next I stuffed the turkey with chopped carrots, onions, bell pepper, garlic and celery and sewed the opening completely and placed the turkey in the roasting pan on a roasting rack. I basically stuffed the turkey with as many of them as I could and placed the rest in the pan around turkey in. These vegetables added a lot of flavor to the juice of the turkey which I used later to make some delicious gravy.
Then I made a mixture using olive oil, turmeric, bloomed saffron (I personally like Mehr Saffron the best in the US. The flavor, aroma and color is just on point and how I like saffron to be) and paprika. I brushed the turkey with this mixture and it gave the turkey a natural beautiful golden color.
How long should I cook the spiced turkey?
I cooked this delicious Persian turkey for about 3 1/2 hours. The first hour I cooked it uncovered and then I covered it with an aluminum foil while it was being cooked. I also brushed it with spiced olive oil every 1 1/2 hours and basted it with pan juices every hour. The turkey stays super moist even if you don’t baste it, but I like basting my turkey so I did so.
Once the turkey was completely cooked (insert the thermometer between the thigh and the leg, it should reach 165F) I took it out of the oven, covered it loosely with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. This will help the juice to stay inside the turkey.
Persian caramelized walnuts to accompany spiced turkey
I made Persian caramelized walnuts (photo below, top right next to pomegranates). It’s a combination of onions, walnuts, barberries, turmeric, pomegranate molasses, salt and pomegranate arils. This makes a delicious side for the turkey. I also had pomegranates, because they just make everything better and the flavor combination is beyond great. The rest is basically any herbs and vegetables you have at hand. I used cute colorful tomatoes, olives, thyme and rosemary.
How do I keep my turkey moist?
There are so many ways to keep a turkey moist such as making two small turkeys instead of one large or buying fresh turkey instead of frozen. What I always do to keep turkey moist and it has always worked is to make compound butter and generously rub it under and on the skin. For this Persian spiced turkey recipe I also made a spice paste with olive oil which also gave great color to the turkey as well has great flavor and kept it juicy.
Notes and tips to make a delicious turkey for Thanksgiving
- Give yourself ample time to prepare the turkey. It takes about 4 hours for a 12-pound turkey to cook and rest and about 40-60 minutes to prepare it. So make sure you start on time.
- Dry the inside and outside of the turkey very well before you start. This will give you crispy skin and tasty juice.
- Don’t stuff this spiced turkey with stuffing. Vegetables work best for this particular recipe.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
I know Thanksgiving is all about traditions, and my tradition is to make something new each year! You’ll love this spiced Persian turkey, I promise!
Aromatic Spiced Turkey
Bring a new twist to your Thanksgiving table by making this delicious no-brine Spiced Persian Turkey. It's juicy, tasty and filled with aromatic spices that will take your Thanksgiving dinner to a whole new world!
- 1 turkey Mine was 11 pounds, thawed, cleaned and pat dried completely
- 1 stick butter room temperature
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 large carrots chopped
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 3 lemons cut into quarters
- 3 onions cut into quarters
- 10 cloves garlic peeled
Olive oil Persian Spice Mixture:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup bloomed saffron
Persian Caramelized Walnuts:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/2 cup barberries substitute with chopped dried cranberries if barberries are not available
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare your roasting pan.
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, using your hands, create space between the meat and the skin on the turkey and rub the compound butter everywhere under the skin and on the meat, especially the breast.
Mix all the ingredients, stuff the turkey and sew it completely. Spread the rest on the filling vegetable at the bottom of the roasting pan.
Olive oil Persian Spice Mixture:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, brush it all over the turkey completely. Place the turkey in the roasting pan and roast in the oven for one hour. Then cover it with aluminum foil and roast for another 2 1/2 hours. After 30 minutes brush it with olive oil mixture again and also baste every hour. 30 minutes before it's done, brush with olive oil one more time.
Insert a thermometer between the thigh and the leg, it should reach 165F and then the turkey is done.
Cover with aluminum foil for 30 minutes and then carve.
Persian Caramelized Walnuts:
Heat olive oil in a pan, saute onion until translucent. Add in walnuts and stir for a minute. Add in the barberris, turmeric, salt and pomegranate molasses and cook for two minutes. Turn the heat off and add pomegranate arils.
Serve the turkey with Persian Caramelized Walnuts.
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