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Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

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Youtube Video tutorial on how to make an EASY thanksgiving roasted turkey.

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Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: MainCuisine: American, MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time


Brine time


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Im going to show you how to roast the perfect thanksgiving juicy turkey. This recipe is made to impress a crowd! We are unlocking the secrets to a very flavorful and juicy dish, that everyone will be raving about. It’s a labor of love, very much worth it. 


  • 12 lb whole turkey, thawed

  • Brine
  • 2 gallons of water

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups kosher salt

  • 2 ea limes, halved

  • 5 ea oranges, quartered 

  • 1 ea onion, roughly diced  

  • 12 ea garlic cloves, crushed and peeled 

  • 4 ea bay leaves

  • Bunch of fresh thyme 

  • 1 TBSP Mexican dry oregano 

  • Bunch of fresh oregano

  • Molcajete 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 2 tsp all spice, whole

  • 1 TBSP black peppercorn

  • Ice (if needed)

  • Flavored butter 
  • 12 oz unsalted butter, softened 

  • 2 TBSP avocado oil 

  • 10 ea garlic cloves, pressed

  • 1 1/2 TBSP ground onion

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 TBSP Mexican dry oregano

  • 2 tsp ancho chile, ground

  • 1 TBSP guajillo, ground

  • 1 TBSP paprika, smoked

  • Zest from one lime and orange

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup lime juice 

  • Cavity
  • 1 ea orange, small pieces  

  • 1 ea lime, quartered  

  • 1/2 ea white onion, cut in half 

  • 1 ea head of garlic, slice end off 

  • Bunch of fresh thyme

  • Bunch of fresh oregano  

  • Other things we need
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium

  • Kitchen twine 

  • 5-6 pieces of banana leaves 

  • Aluminum foil 

  • For the platter
  • Banana leaves

  • Orange, wedges 

  • Lime, wedges 

  • Fresh oregano 

  • Fresh thyme 

  • Pomegranate


  • Brine the turkey: place a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in 8 cups of water, vinegar and salt. Whisk until salt has dissolved and mixture is warm. Add 1 gallon plus 8 cups of very cold water to a large 22 quart food safe container or very large pot. Pour the warm salt solution into the container; along with, the limes and oranges. Give them a squeeze. Then, add their peel, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, dry and fresh oregano. 
  • In a molcajete, roughly crack the cumin, all spice, and peppercorns. Toss them in. Whisk until well combined. The brine should be cool. If not, pour in a couple cups of ice. 
  • Turkey needs to be completely thawed out. Remove the giblets, excess skin along the neck area, feathers and plastic inside the cavity. Submerge it in the brine and place a few plates over it to ensure it remains fully covered. Cover the container. Take it over to the fridge and let it sit in the brine for 12-24 hrs. 
  • Remove the bird from the brine. Rinse it well, under cold water (don’t forget the cavity.) Discard the brine. Lay the turkey over a sheet pan, lined with kitchen paper towels to absorb some of the water. Now, using more paper towels, pat the entire bird dry. 
  • Leave the turkey at room temperature for about an hour, that way its not too cold when roasted. 
  • Flavored butter: in a bowl combine all of the ingredients, except for the juices. Mix with a spatula or whisk until fully incorporated. Pour in the juices and keep mixing. At first, it might look broken but just keep going until fluffy and combined. Using a mixer makes this step a lot easier. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. 
  • With paper towels, give the turkey a quick pat dry once again. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lime, onion, garlic and fresh herbs. If they don’t fit, add to the roasting pan. 
  • Carefully, loosen the skin on the entire breast area by sliding your fingers underneath. Do not tear it. Stuff the flavored butter under the skin and massage with fingers to spread all around. 
  • Truss the bird: you will need a long piece of kitchen twine. Go under the tail. Around the legs. Cross, and secure. Take it around the breast, and make a double knot at the neck area. Ensure is nice and tight. 
  • Transfer it on to the rack, which is already placed inside the roasting pan. Tuck the wings. Rub the remainder of the flavored butter all over the breast, thighs, wings, and legs. Add the broth to the bottom of the pan. Place it inside the oven, on the 2nd bottom rack. Roast for 30 minutes to get the browning started. 
  • Remove from the oven, reduce the temperature to 350ºF. Baste the turkey with the drippings. If using a leave in thermometer, insert it in the thickest part of the breast. Enclose the turkey completely with banana leaves. Be careful, the pan is hot. Do another layer of aluminum foil right over the leaves to keep the steam trapped. 
  • Continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 150ºF, it will take about 2 hrs. Take it out of the oven. Carefully, remove the banana leaves and foil. Baste the turkey and brush the fat over the skin for a glossy, brown color.
  • Finish roasting until the thickest part of the breast reaches a safe internal temperature of 165ºF. It will take about 30 additional minutes, give or take. During this time the turkey will finish browning. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the breast, if it’s browning too fast. Once fully cooked, remove from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, before carving into it. Save the drippings to make a delicious gravy.
  • Platter: To serve, line a platter with banana leaves. Place the turkey over them, right in the center. Arrange the orange, lime, herbs and pomegranate around for color. ENJOY!

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