Adobo Marinated Turkey (Pavo Adobado)

Easy adobo marinade that is delicious for many dishes, including this turkey recipe! 
Course Main Course, Turkey
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 8 Servings



    For Adobo

    • 5 chile guajillo peppers
    • 2 chile ancho
    • 1-2 chile morita or chipotles in adobo
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 1 ounce achiote paste
    • 1/2 cup pineapple, orange or cranberry juice
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
    • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoons pepper
    • Salt to taste

    You Will Also Need

    • 10-12 pound turkey
    • 1 large onion sliced
    • 1 stick of butter sliced
    • 2 lemon sliced
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • More salt and pepper



    • Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles and transfer them to a saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel the garlic and add to a separate saucepan. Drizzle garlic with a little oil and heat to medium low. Saute garlic for 6-8 minutes and set aside.
    • While peppers are cooling, gather your ingredients. In the blender, add the achiote, juice, cider vinegar, oil, oregano, cumin and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, add the chiles in water and the garlic. Season to taste with salt. Blend on high until smooth. If sauce is too thick, add a little more juice or water. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl, set aside.
    • Wash off turkey with cool water and pat dry. Clean out the inside of turkey. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Add the lemon, onion, half of butter and fresh herbs. Use cooking twine to tie the legs together if you like.
    • Carefully, place the turkey on rack inside of roasting pan. Pull the skin up in the breast area and spread the remaining butter directly onto turkey. Put the skin back in place. Pour the adobo all over, using your hands to make sure it is coated evenly all over the surface of turkey. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight. 
    • When ready to cook, remove the turkey from refrigerator at least one hour before. Add 4 cups of water to the bottom of the pan. Remove the plastic wrap from turkey and discard. Cover the turkey tightly with heavy foil paper. Transfer to oven and roast in a 350 degree preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. 
    • Remove the foil paper and continue roasting, basting as desired,  until the internal temperature of breast reads 158-160. Inner part of thigh should be at least 175 degrees.  Remove from the oven and tent loosely with foil. Let sit for 25 to 30 minutes before slicing. When ready, slice turkey. Pour the strained(warm) pan juices over the meat. Or save pan juices for gravy.
    • All ovens will vary as far as the cooking times. If your turkey has a built in thermometer, start watching for it to pop up after 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Keep your meat thermometer handy!


    In the past I have roasted my turkey in an oven bag. First season the inside of turkey and add the onion, garlic, butter, lemon and herbs, To do that, you will place the turkey in the bag and position it on the roasting rack in the pan. Rub with butter and then add the adobo. You will have to use your hands to make sure the adobo coats the turkey evenly. Follow instructions on oven bags box.
    Roast as usual, but without the foil paper. During the last 30 minutes, cut open the bag and place turkey back in the oven uncovered to brown the skin.