Cilantro-Lemon Marinated Turkey

Try turkey breast flavored with citrus and cilantro for a tasty variation of the traditional bird.

Cilantro-Lemon Marinated Turkey Breast,
Prep Time:
45 mins
Marinate Time:
8 hrs
Roast Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
Stand Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 8 pound fresh or frozen turkey

  • 1 brining bag or extra-large plastic bag

  • 2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (about 1-1/4 ounces)

  • 1 ⅓ cup orange juice

  • ½ cup lemon juice

  • 10 cloves garlic, halved

  • 2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • cup olive oil

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 1 recipe Peppered Onion Gravy (see recipe below) (optional)

Peppered Onion Gravy

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper

  • 2 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • Salt


  1. Thaw turkey, if frozen. Using tip of a sharp knife, prick turkey in several spots. Place turkey in a brining bag or extra large self-sealing plastic bag set in a very large bowl. Set aside.

  2. In a large food processor or container combine cilantro, orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Cover and process until almost smooth. With processor or blender running, slowly add oil in thin stream. Pour cilantro sauce over turkey; marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, turning occasionally*. Coat shallow roasting pan and roasting rack with cooking spray.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in prepared roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of one of the inside thigh muscles without the thermometer touching bone. Tent turkey with foil. Roast for 2-1/4 hours. Cut band of skin between drumsticks so thighs will cook evenly. Continue roasting for 30 to 45 minutes more or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F, juices run clear, and turkey is no longer pink. Cover with foil to prevent over-browning, if necessary. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes before slicing. Pass Peppered Onion Gravy, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Peppered Onion Gravy

  1. In a medium saucepan cook onion in olive oil until tender. Stir in cornstarch and pepper until smooth. Add broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt. Makes 3 cups.

Turkey Breast Option:

Use two 3 to 3-1/2 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) bone-in turkey breast halves and 1/2 recipe of the marinade. Use tip of a sharp knife to prick turkey breast in several spots. Place skin side down in a very large self-sealing plastic bag set in a baking dish. Marinate as above. Coat a shallow roasting pan and roasting rack with nonstick cooking spray. Roast, skin side up, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast turkey 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer or until thermometer registers 170 degrees F. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes before slicing. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

*Because turkey is not totally submersed in marinade, it is important to turn the turkey.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

520 Calories
26g Fat
6g Carbs
61g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 520
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 220mg 73%
Sodium 634mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 61g
Vitamin C 28.3mg 142%
Calcium 60.6mg 5%
Iron 4.3mg 24%
Potassium 845mg 18%
Folate, total 44.4mcg
Vitamin B-12 1.2mcg
Vitamin B-6 1.3mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.