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Soy Sauce Roasted Turkey

Soy Sauce Roasted Turkey

Yield: serves 6-8
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


  • one 10-12 pound whole turkey


  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) peeled sliced ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves , peeled and smashed

Turkey Filling:

  • 6 scallions (green onions) , sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves , peeled and smashed
  • 1 onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


  • reserved turkey pan juices
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock , or homemade chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


  • Remove turkey neck and giblets. If desired saved turkey neck to make stock. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. 


  • Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic in a very large bowl. 
  • Place turkey breast side down into bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Turn turkey and marinate breast side up for 15 minutes. Turn turkey breast side down and marinate for another 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove turkey from marinade. Reserve marinade. Place turkey, breast side up*, on a rack in a roasting pan. Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with scallions, garlic, and onion. 
  • Loosely cover turkey with foil tent.  Place in oven. Pour 2 cups water into roasting pan. Roast turkey for 4 1/2 hours, basting the turkey with reserved marinade every hour. After each basting, add 1/2 cup of water to roasting pan.
  • Remove foil tent. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes, basting once more after 15 minutes. Turkey is cooked once the an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If turkey is not done, add foil tent and continue to bake until fully cooked. 
  • Transfer turkey to a cutting board or large serving plate. Let stand for at least 45 minutes before slicing. Before serving, garnish turkey with toasted sesame seeds. Meanwhile, make gravy.


  • Pour pan drippings into a fat separator and allow liquid to separate. Alternatively, strain the pan juices into a large pot and skim off the fat. 
  • Mix together separated pan juices, 2 cups chicken stock, and 3 cups water in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. 
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and butter to form a paste. Slowly temper in hot liquid into paste. Whisk in 1/2 cup of hot liquid at a time until you have added 2 cups of liquid. Whisk until mixture is smooth.
  • Pour mixture back into sauce pot. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until gravy has thickened. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with turkey. 


This recipe is cooked breast side UP. This prevents lines from forming on the breast. However, if you will be carving the turkey ahead of time and serving it pre-sliced, I suggest cooking the turkey breast side DOWN. This will result is a juicer turkey breast. 
Recipe adapted from Joanne Chang's Soy Sauce and Honey Glazed Turkey