Southwestern Rubbed Turkey

October/November 2005

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Smoked paprika is the key to the turkey rub in this recipe. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online at Roasting the bird breast-side down for the first half keeps the breast meat succulent and moist.

Southwestern Rubbed Turkey

Makes: 12 servings, 3 ounces each, plus plenty of leftovers

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  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 12-pound turkey, giblets removed


  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Mix paprika, ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons water to make a paste. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, particularly under the skin and onto the breast meat.
  3. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups water to the pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven and turn it over"either use silicon oven gloves or cover the bird with foil and use cloth oven mitts to turn it over. Continue roasting, basting occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 180°F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. If the bird is browning too deeply, tent with foil while it continues to bake. If the pan runs out of juices, add about 1/2 cup water, scrape up any browned bits, and use this liquid for basting. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind in a spice mill or blender into a fine powder.


Per serving: 346 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 222 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 67 g protein; 1 g fiber; 348 mg sodium; 606 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (118% daily value), Zinc (60% dv), Iron (30% dv), Potassium (17% dv).

Exchanges: 9 very lean meat, 1 fat

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Type of Dish
Main dish, poultry
October/November 2005
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