Middle Eastern turkey recipe

Middle Eastern turkey

This turkey recipe uses cinnamon, pomegranate molasses, and cumin, which are all ingredients used in Middle Eastern cooking.

Here is the recipe for Middle Eastern turkey.

Ingredients for Middle Eastern turkey

  • One 12- to 13-pound oven-ready turkey 
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • One lemon, zested and halved
  • Two large onions, 1 halved and 1 thickly sliced
  • Two bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, ground cumin, and sweet paprika
  • One sprig of thyme, leaves pulled off and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses 
  • One orange zested and halved
  • Olive oil
  • Two cinnamon sticks 
  • Two glasses of white wine
  • One tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup of white or red wine
  • 2.5 cups of chicken stock 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix the butter with the lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. 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 the tops of the drumsticks. You’ll have to slide your whole hand in to reach this far.

3. 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.

4. Mix the spices and thyme with the pomegranate molasses, orange zest, and enough oil to make a paste. Brush the paste all over the turkey breast.

5. Place the halved orange and cinnamon sticks into the turkey.

6. 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. Set the turkey on top and cover both the bird and tin completely with foil to make a tent.

7. Cook the turkey for about 4 hours, basting with the juices once or twice.

8. Take out the turkey and turn up the oven to 450 degrees. 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 every 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.

9. Rest the turkey, covered loosely with foil, for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving.

10. 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.

11. Set the tin over medium heat, then sprinkle the flour in. Stir through and cook for 2 minutes, turning the onion over in the mixture to extract the flavor.

12. 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 low heat for 15 minutes.

13. Season and sieve the sauce into a jug. Serve with the turkey.

Nepali family of parents and young children
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