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Roast Spiced Turkey

Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker
Yield Makes 14 to 18 (1/4-lb.) servings, white and dark meat with skin, plus generous leftovers
Notes: You can roast the turkey with just a sheen of oil, or you can add spices for bolder flavor. We've adapted the seasoning rub that Gayle Pirie and John Clark, chef-owners of Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, use on chicken. You can prepare the turkey through step 1 up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill.


  • 1 turkey (14 to 18 lb.)
  • Spice rub (optional; recipe follows)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Nutrition Information

  • calories 250
  • caloriesfromfat 43 %
  • protein 32 g
  • fat 12 g
  • satfat 3.2 g
  • carbohydrate 1.2 g
  • fiber 0.3 g
  • sodium 246 mg
  • cholesterol 93 mg

How to Make It

  1. Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; save for gravy if desired. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. If using spice rub, rub it generously over skin and inside both neck and body cavities. Brush bird with enough oil to coat.

  2. Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan (pan should be large enough that turkey fits inside).

  3. Roast in a 325° regular or convection oven, basting occasionally with oil, or pan drippings if using spice rub, until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 2 to 3 hours.

  4. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest in a warm place at least 30 minutes, then carve. When you remove the legs, if meat around thigh joints is still too pink, cut drumsticks from thighs and put thighs in a shallow pan in a 450° oven until no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. Spice Rub: In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir 1 tablespoon fennel seeds until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Pour into a blender and whirl until finely ground. Add 3/4 teaspoon hot chili flakes and whirl until coarsely ground. Pour into a small bowl and mix with 3 tablespoons Madras or regular curry powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon paprika, and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt. Makes about 1/2 cup.

  6. Nutritional analysis per 1/4 pound boned cooked turkey with skin, based on percentages of white and dark meat in an average bird.