middle eastern turkey

Middle Eastern roast turkey

  • serves 8-10
  • A little effort

For an exciting alternative to a traditional festive dinner, this Middle Eastern turkey really has the wow factor. It's packed full of fragrant spices such as cinnamon, cumin and sweet paprika


Try this Middle Eastern roast turkey, then check out our roast turkey, turkey crown, turkey gravy and more Christmas turkey recipes.

The turkey will need a different cooking time per weight depending on how big it is. Calculate the weight the night before and don’t forget to allow one hour of resting time. If you want to serve gravy with this, you just follow the classic gravy recipe and add a pinch of each spice (below) and a squeeze of orange juice to the cooking juices.



  • turkey 1 oven-ready, about 6kg
  • butter 125g
  • lemon 1, zested and halved
  • onions 2 large, 1 halved and 1 thickly sliced
  • bay leaves 2
  • ground cinnamon, ground cumin and sweet paprika combined to make 2 tsp
  • thyme 1 sprig, leaves pulled off and finely chopped
  • pomegranate molasses ½ tbsp (optional)
  • orange 1, zested and halved
  • olive oil
  • cinnamon sticks 2
  • white wine 2 glasses
  • flour 1 tbsp
  • white wine or red wine 200ml
  • chicken stock 600ml


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Mix the butter with the lemon and season well. Gently push your fingers under the turkey’s skin, starting from the neck end of the bird, easing the skin away from the flesh over both the breast and tops of the drumsticks – you’ll have to slide your whole hand in to reach this far. Spread the lemon butter under the skin, pushing it as far in as you can, then smooth the skin back into place. Put the onion halves and bay leaves in the turkey cavity.

  • Step 2

    Mix the spices and thyme with the pomegranate molasses, if using, orange zest and enough oil to make a brushable paste. Brush all over the turkey breast. Push the halved orange and cinnamon sticks into the turkey.

  • Step 3

    Arrange the sliced onion in the bottom of a large roasting tin to act as a trivet for the bird and pour in the wine. Sit the turkey on top and cover both the bird and tin completely with foil to make a tent. Cook the turkey for 40 minutes per kilo, basting once or twice.

  • Step 4

    Take out the turkey and turn up the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is golden. To test if it is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices that run out should be clear and not pink; keep cooking if the juices are pink and check again after each 10 minutes. If you like your turkey meat almost falling off the bones, test by wiggling the leg – it should give slightly if the meat is ready to come away from the bones.

  • Step 5

    Rest the turkey, covered loosely with foil, for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving. To make a gravy, pour away any excess fat from the roasting tin but keep the onion slices – a fat separator will help with this. Set the tin over a medium heat, then sprinkle over the flour. Stir through and cook for 2 minutes, turning the onion over in the mixture to extract the flavour. Slowly stir in the wine, stock and juices, add a pinch of each spice and a squeeze of orange juice. Bring to a boil, scraping bits from the bottom, then simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Season and sieve into a jug. Serve with the turkey.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 851
  • Fat 41.7g
  • Carbs 14.7g
  • Fibre 1.9g
  • Protein 105.1g
  • Salt 0.94g