Roasted Turkey with a Lebanese twist

Lebanese Roasted Turkey

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This Lebanese Roasted Turkey is usually served around the holiday season in Lebanese cuisine. Stuffed with a perfectly spiced rice mixture, crispy skin, tender meat and so delicious, you’ll wonder why you waited a whole year to eat it again.

Roasted Turkey with a Lebanese twist

Lebanese Roasted Turkey

One of our most loved and favored holiday dinner is this roasted turkey with a Lebanese twist. It’s beautiful! It’s stunning! It’s the centerpiece of the whole Thanksgiving meal! And here’s the great news: It’s not hard to make at all.

I Promise.

INGREDIENTS FOR LEBANESE ROASTED TURKEY: 

  • Turkey: Remove the thawed turkey from it’s packaging and remove the neck and the bag of giblets. 
  • Seasonings & Herbs: Salt, ground cinnamon, ground all spice and cinnamon stick.
  • Long grain rice: Long grain rice such as uncle bens works best for turkey stuffing. This rice stuffing is very similar to my Lebanese Chicken and Rice recipe.
  • Lemon: Cut into wedges and added to the crevice of the turkey for extra flavor. 
  • Nuts: Raw almonds or pine nuts.

Thanksgiving turkey

HOW TO MAKE THANKSGIVING LEBANESE ROASTED TURKEY:

Scroll all the way down to get the full recipe with exact measurements. 

  • Thaw the frozen turkey. The turkey will need a few days to thaw depending on how big it is. The best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator, so it is a good idea to plan ahead. I had a 13 pound turkey and it took 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. So about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. It is a good idea to give yourself an extra day, just incase!
  • Prepare the turkey for roasting. Thirty minutes to an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the refrigerator.
  • Make the rice stuffing. The rice needs to be cooked half way to allow it to fully cook while roasting. Long grain rice such as uncle bens works best for turkey stuffing. This rice stuffing is very similar to my Lebanese Chicken and Rice recipe.

rice stuffing for turkey

  • Remove the neck and the bag of giblets. Usually found in the large cavity of the turkey or sometimes found in the smaller neck cavity). I usually reserve the neck and giblets and boil it separately on the stove top to use for gravy along drippings later. 
  • Pat dry the turkey with a paper towel. This helps remove any excess moisture and place it on prepared roasting pan. 
  • Stuff the rice mixture inside the turkey crevice. Use your fingers to loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and stuff a hand full of rice underneath. Keep stuffing until you run out of rice mixture. Add a couple lemons wedges if you’d like and a few cinnamon sticks as well with the rice. 

how to stuff turkey with rice

  • Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the bird. This prevents them from sticking out higher than the rest of the turkey and potentially burning in the oven before the turkey is fully cooked. If your turkey has a band of skin near the cavity opening, you can tuck the legs into the band. If not, simply crisscross the legs and use some twine or dental floss to tie the turkey legs together. This also helps to cook it evenly so it doesn’t become lopsided in the oven.
  • Season and flavor the turkey. Generously rub salt all over the turkey, making sure to get underneath the bird and all around it. 
  • Place in prepared roasting pan. I use a foil roasting pan, for easy clean up. 

turkey stuffed rice

  • Add liquid to the roasting pan. When ready to roast, pour 2 cups of water into the roasting pan.

  • Cover the turkey with a piece of foil on top tightly. That’s it! You are ready to let your oven do the rest of the work! Well, Kinda.
  • Now it’s time to cook it in the preheated oven. In general, a turkey with stuffing needs to cook for 15 minutes per pound of bird. But there is no way to be sure if it’s fully cooked  unless you use a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chest to check the temperature. The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Remove the foil in last 45 minutes to an hour of cooking to let the turkey brown. 
  • Baste the turkey also in the last 45 minutes of cooking time. To baste, use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the pan liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Baste for a few times. Basting with pan juice is the secret to getting that perfect golden crust on the turkey. 
  • When the turkey is fully cooked as measured by the thermometer, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before carving into it. This helps to ensure it stays juicy, so don’t skip this step.
  • For extra crispy skin, broil in the last 5-8 minutes of cook time, keeping your eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • When the turkey is fully cooked as measured by the thermometer, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or serving plate. Tent with foil to keep it warm and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before carving into it. This helps to ensure it stays juicy, so don’t skip this step.
  • Scoop out the rice into a large serving plate. Carve your bird and top it over the rice.
  • Dig in and Enjoy!

Whole turkey roasted to perfection

YES, TO SAVING THE TURKEY DRIPPINGS: 

After roasting the turkey should rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This is a perfect time to make gravy. Move the turkey to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. This way you can use all those tasty pan drippings for gravy making. You can also boil the neck and giblet separately and use its broth for gravy as well! While this is optional, I do think that it will add lots of flavor to your gravy! 

how to carve a turkey

More Lebanese Inspired Recipes:

Moghrabieh

Chicken Tawook

Lebanese Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Freekeh

If you like make this Lebanese Roasted Turkey with rice stuffing or any other recipe on The Salt and Sweet Kitchen, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! You can also follow and tag me on my Instagram page!

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Lebanese Roasted Turkey Recipe:

Yield: 12 servings

Roasted Turkey with Rice Stuffing

Roasted Turkey with a Lebanese twist

Turkey Stuffed Rice roasted to juicy perfection.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 13 pound turkey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Lemon- quartred 
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For Rice Stuffing

Instructions

    Prepare the bird:

    1. If the turkey is frozen: Thaw in the fridge, 24 hours for every 5 pounds of Turkey. 
    2. Remove the thawed turkey from the fridge 1 hour before roasting, and pat dry with paper towels.
    3. Remove the neck and the bag of gibletsUsually found in the large cavity of the turkey or sometimes found in the smaller neck cavity). I usually reserve the neck and giblets and boil it separately on the stove top to use for gravy along with drippings later.
    4. Set the bird aside and let it come to room temperature.

Make the rice stuffing:

  1. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, add butter and the sliced raw almonds and stir constantly until light brown.
  2. Add the rice, salt/spices and mix well.
  3. cover with 1 cup of water and bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the rice is half way cooked. Set aside. 

Stuff the turkey with rice stuffing:

  1. Place your turkey breast side up on a rack in the large pan and get ready for stuffing.
  2. Start by stuffing the cavity of the turkey with the half cooked rice. You might have to hold the turkey up a little. 
  3. Use your fingers to loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and stuff a hand full of rice underneath. Keep stuffing until you run out of rice mixture. You can also add a few slices of lemon.
  4. Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the bird. This prevents them from sticking out higher than the rest of the turkey and potentially burning in the oven before the turkey is fully cooked.
  5. If your turkey has a band of skin near the cavity opening, you can tuck the legs into the band. If not, simple crisscross the legs and use some twine or dental floss to tie the turkey legs together.
  6. Season and flavor the turkey. Generously rub salt all over the turkey, making sure to get underneath the bird and all around it.
  7. Place in prepared roasting pan.
  8. When ready to roast, pour 2 cups of water into the roasting pan.


Roast the turkey:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and remove any racks above it.
  2. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat to 400°F.
  3. Roast the turkey. In general, a turkey with stuffing needs to cook for 15 minutes per pound of bird. But there is no way to be sure if it’s fully cooked  unless you use a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chest to check the temperature. The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
  4. Remove the foil In last 45 minutes to an hour of cooking to let the turkey brown. 
  5. Baste the turkey in the last 45 minutes of cooking To baste, use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the pan liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Baste for a few times. Basting with pan juice is the secret to getting that perfect golden crust on the turkey. 
  6. For extra crispy skin, broil in the last 5-8 minutes of cook time, keeping your eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  7. When the turkey is fully cooked as measured by the thermometer, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or serving plate. Tent with foil to keep it warm and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before carving into it. This helps to ensure it stays juicy, so don’t skip this step.
  8. Scoop out the rice into a large serving plate. carve your bird and top it over the rice.
  9. Dig in and Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 538mgSodium: 1038mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 142g

Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

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