Citrus Roasted Turkey

This Citrus Roasted Turkey adds a bright note to a meal that tends to be pretty heavy. By late November, California citrus season is in full swing. Take advantage of it by adding zest from Meyer Lemons and Oranges to your brine.

We prefer to prep our birds with a dry brine rather than a wet brine. Essentially the same thing as a “rub,” a dry brine consists of salt and other seasonings. Save your worries about sodium intake for another day, because you need salt here! Salting the bird draws the moisture from the outside in, making it juicy on the inside and dry on the outside. While it might sound counter-intuitive, you want your turkey to be dry on the outside. That means that the skin will get nice and crisp. In addition to the salt and citrus zest, we add paprika and coriander for a nice, warming flavor. Rainbow Peppercorns spice things up. It all comes together deliciously, for one juicy citrus roasted turkey!

Citrus Roasted Turkey

Citrus Roasted Turkey

Citrus Roasted Turkey

Course Main Dish
Cuisine California
Servings 12 servings


  • 12-14 lb. turkey
  • 3 tablespoons meyer lemon zest from about 3 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest from about 3 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground rainbow peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 meyer lemons halved
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup melted butter or olive oil


  • 1-3 days before Thanksgiving, prepare your turkey. Remove the packaging, pull out the giblets, drain, and pat dry with paper towels, inside and out.
  • In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for your dry brine: lemon and orange zest, paprika, coriander, peppercorns, salt and sugar. Place your turkey inside an open brining bag. Rub the turkey all over with your spice mixture, making sure to rub inside the cavity. Wrap the bird tight in the brining bag and place in the refrigerator on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Brine the turkey for at least 12 hours and up to three days. Turn the bag over once every 12 hours it is in the refrigerator. The night before you plan on cooking the turkey, take the bird out of the bag. Rub with paper towels to remove the brine and to pat dry. Lay the bird on a clean rimmed baking sheet and place it in your refrigerator. (This will dry out the skin so that it becomes nice and crispy during cooking!)
  • Ready your bird for cooking. One hour before you'll start cooking, take your bird out of the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature. Position an oven rack one-third of the way up your oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Set up your roasting pan with a rack inside. Place your bird, breast side up, on the rack. Stuff two lemon halves and two onion quarters inside the cavity. Arrange the remaining onion and lemon and the garlic cloves in the roasting pan. Pour in the chicken broth into the pan. Generously brush the turkey with olive oil or melted butter. Cover the turkey breast with aluminum foil.
  • Put the turkey in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan on approximately 13 minutes of cook time per pound, or about 2.5.-3 hours total cook time. After 90 minutes of cooktime, remove the aluminum foil. Keep roasting until an instant-read thermometer registers a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
  • When the turkey reaches temperature, remove it from the oven. Carefully transfer from the roasting pan to a wooden board. Rest for 30 minutes before carving.
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