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thai roasted turkey on a silver platter with herbs

Thai Style Roasted Turkey (Brined and Marinated)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Low Lactose


This Thai-style roasted turkey (brined and marinated) brings mixed flavors of East and West together in one delicious dish full of bold and tasty flavors! If you love Thai food and want more Thai flavors in your Thanksgiving bird, this turkey recipe is for you!



For the brine

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, cut each stalk into 2 at 5-6 inches each. Smash before use
  • 10 cloves of garlic, smash before use
  • 1  cup salt
  • 7-8 bay leaf
  • 14 cups water for the brine solution. Add up to 2 more cups to submerge the turkey

Ingredients for marinating

  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed but not crushed
  • 2 shallots,  chopped into medium pieces (1.5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  •  3 tablespoons agave
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil. Unmelted and rub on the turkey before roasting.
  • Water. As needed, add to the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.


Brine the turkey

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. While waiting for the hot water to heat, combine salt, smashed lemongrass stalks, garlic, and bay leaves in a large bowl. Set aside until the water is ready. Once the water is hot, turn the heat off and carefully add 4 cups to the aromatics in a large bowl or container that you'll use to brine the turkey in. Whisk until most of the salt is dissolved. Let cool while prepping the turkey next.
  2. Prep the turkey according to the turkey packaging instructions. This usually means thawing out the turkey according to its weight. Mine is a 12 lb turkey, and it took me 3.5 days to thaw out the frozen turkey in the refrigerator.
  3. Once thawed, remove the turkey packaging, the giblets, and the neck bone inside the turkey. Trim any hair, extra skin, fat, or parts you don't want. Rinse and wash the turkey thoroughly with cold water.
  4. Add the remaining water (10 more cups) to the bin and place the turkey in it. If possible, try to submerge the entire turkey with just a little more water, up to 2 cups if necessary. A large container like an ice bin, a brining bag, a large stock pot, or a medium-sized cooler is great.  See notes for tips if you don’t have a large enough bin to cover the entire turkey.
  5. Cover and wrap the bin tightly with aluminum foil or Saran wrap. Place the turkey in the fridge or a cool place for up to 18-20 hours. If you have a cooler temperature where you live, you can leave your brined turkey outside. Only leave the turkey at a temperature lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety precautions. Now we wait! (:


  1. Let's roll up our sleeves and get this Thai turkey going! Combine all the sauces, coconut milk, agave, and oil in a medium bowl and whisk gently together. Set aside.
  2. Add cilantro stems, garlic, shallot, and ground white pepper in a small food processor.  Add 1/3 cup of the marinating sauce to the food processor to help turn the blades and blitz until smooth.
  3. Combine the paste into the sauce bowl and whisk well. Get ready to marinate the turkey next!
  4. Remove the turkey from the brine water. Easiest inside the sink, drain the brine water from the turkey, then wash it with cold water for a minute or two. Pat dry with paper towels. This part is optional but highly recommended for all the leftover aromatics used in brinning the turkey inside the cavities for more flavors.
  5. Line a roasting pan with a heavy-duty baking sheet, then place the turkey on it. Pour the marinating sauce all over the turkey to marinate! Slather the sauce in all the parts and crevices inside the cavity and around the wings. Carefully turn the turkey over to get all the parts. Leave 1/4 amount of the sauce for brushing on during roasting.
  6. Place the bird breast down to marinate to let the sauce seep into this dryer part of the turkey meat. Cover with foil and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 5 hours to get a tasty and juicy turkey. Turn the turkey once or twice to let the sauce marinate evenly on the turkey.


  1. Remove the turkey from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for up to one hour before roasting. Preheat the oven temperature to 325 degrees f.
  2. Use a spoon or measuring cup to scoop the sauce at the bottom of the roasting pan one last time to get the marinating sauce all over the turkey. Move the turkey to a cutting board, then place the pan's roasting rack over the foiled lining to keep the turkey lifted from the bottom of the roasting pan. Note * I used my roasting pan to double up as a platter for marinating and roasting the turkey. I removed the rack while marinating, then placed it back on, with the turkey on top,  just before putting it in the oven.
  3. Rub 1/4 cup of coconut oil inside and all over the turkey skin. Be careful not to tear the skin. Tuck the wings under, then truss the turkey with butcher's twine the best you can to keep the turkey from splaying out when baking. Leave the turkey breast side down for baking to let all the fat drip into the drier breast parts to get the juiciest turkey!
  4. Check the oven rack to ensure it’s on the right spot before popping the turkey in. Place turkey on the oven rack and roast for 3-4 hours or until cooked (165 F on a meat thermometer). Larger turkeys will take more time. Please check your turkey’s roasting guide for the correct cooking time.
  5. Check the turkey on the first hour. (set a timer on my phone is super handy for me!). Carefully move the turkey out of the oven onto a heat-safe spot. Be careful with the high heat! Brush the turkey with marinating sauce before turning the turkey breast side up next.
  6. Carefully turn the turkey so that the breast side is up. Slater, this side with leftover marinating sauce, add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom, then back to roasting some more. 
  7. Check every hour or so, brush with more marinating sauce, and keep adding 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan if it gets dry. Add a foil to the top of the turkey, like a loose blanket, if the skin starts to burn too quickly.
  8. Once the timer goes off, use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature should read at least 165 degrees on the thickest part of the breast. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving. Gather as many pan drippings as possible, and place them in a small bowl for dipping sauce! Enjoy!


  • Use a very large container for brinning. I used an ice holder for mine, but you can use anything available. A medium size cooler could work too.
  • While roasting, keep a close eye on the bird and check every hour or so, without opening the oven, to see how it’s looking.
  • If the skin starts to brown too soon, use regular aluminum foil to loosely cover the turkey.
  • If the wings or any smaller parts of the turkey start to burn too quickly, wrap a small piece of foil around those parts to help them not get burned by the high temperature.
  • Save the bones for making turkey broth.
  • The best way to flip the hot turkey is to use kitchen mitts or a clean dish cloth, hold the drumsticks while supporting the base with the other hand, and carefully lay it back onto the baking pan rack. You might need an extra hand for a larger turkey.

** Thank you so much for visiting my blog! This is truly a passion for me. If you have enjoyed these recipes and appreciate the hard work I put into them, I would love it if you would share them with your friends! Your recommendation is the highest review I could hope for, and I’d appreciate it! **

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Seasonal
  • Method: roasting
  • Cuisine: Thai