Roast Peruvian Turkey


This is one of the juiciest and most flavorful turkeys I've ever made! The rub forms a crust that locks in all the juices, even in the driest part of the breast meat. I served some of it plated up with sweet potato chunks and black beans and some of it covered with rich pan gravy.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 25 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 15 mins
1 whole roast turkey


  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

Spice rub:

  • ½ cup ground cumin

  • ½ cup soy sauce

  • ½ cup white vinegar

  • cup vegetable oil

  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 3 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or as needed

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons water, or as needed


  • 1 (8 ounce) container creme fraiche

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste


  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Loosen skin over each side of breastbone with a spatula inserted beneath skin.

  2. Place cumin, soy sauce, vinegar, vegetable oil, garlic, paprika, black pepper, smoked paprika, and oregano into a blender. Blend spice rub into a thick paste, about 1 minute. Set aside 1/2 cup of rub in a bowl for a later step; pour remaining rub all over turkey and use a spatula to work about 2 tablespoons of mixture beneath the loosened skin on each side of the breast. Rub the mixture over every nook and cranny of turkey. Let turkey stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fold a piece of aluminum foil into a rounded piece about the size of the turkey breast; set foil aside.

  4. Place turkey onto a rack set in a large roasting pan. Tie legs together at the bottom with a piece of kitchen twine. Spread 1/4 cup of reserved wet rub into cavity of turkey; retain remaining 1/4 cup for later. Sprinkle entire top and sides of turkey with kosher salt.

  5. Roast turkey in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours; place foil tent on turkey breast. Return to oven and continue to roast for about 1 hour and 15 more minutes. Combine remaining 1/4 cup of spice rub with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and water in a small bowl. Brush mixture over turkey's top, legs, and sides. Roast until until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, not touching bone, reads 170 to 175 degrees F (75 to 80 degrees C), about 30 more minutes. Transfer turkey to a serving platter and let rest for at least 20 minutes, reserving drippings in roasting pan.

  6. Place creme fraiche, chicken broth, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour excess grease out of turkey roasting pan, pour in creme fraiche mixture, and place the roasting pan over a burner set over medium-high heat. Scrape the browned pan drippings into the sauce mixture, bring to a boil, and cook until gravy is reduced by half and thickened, about 10 minutes. Whisk often to prevent lumps. Season gravy with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Carve and serve turkey with pan gravy.

    close up view of a Roasted Peruvian Turkey in a roasting pan on the stove
    Chef John


Please note differences in ingredient amounts when following the magazine version of this recipe.

Cook's Note:

Roasting time is about 15 minutes per pound, or a total of about 3 hours for a 12-pound turkey. Mine was about 13 pounds.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

841 Calories
47g Fat
7g Carbs
94g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 841
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 47g 61%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 292mg 97%
Sodium 1267mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 94g
Vitamin C 6mg 29%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 10mg 54%
Potassium 1101mg 23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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