Sweet-and-Spicy Roast Turkey

If you like turkey with a bit more heat, this is the bird for you.

Sweet-and-Spicy Roast Turkey

Greg DuPree; Prop Stylist: Ginny Branch; Food Stylist: Cat Steele

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
Serves 8 (serving size: 10 oz. turkey)

Go bold with a turkey that's packaged with heat—and a touch of sweetness. We dry-brined this bird with a fragrant spice rub and then roasted it with a honey-hot sauce glaze. This recipe might be a surprising new addition to your holiday table, but we think it will earn a repeat invitation. 


  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 (12-lb.) fresh whole turkey

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 3 cups water


  1. Stir together salt, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, ginger, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of salt mixture.

  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for another use. Pat turkey dry, and remove excess skin. Starting from neck, loosen and lift skin from turkey without completely detaching it. Spread remaining salt mixture evenly under skin. Carefully replace skin. Drizzle skin with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and rub with reserved 2 table- spoons salt mixture. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen twine; tuck wingtips under. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, or refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. (If refrigerated, let turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.)

  3. Stir together honey, hot sauce, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl until well blended.

  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place rack in a roasting pan; coat rack with cooking spray. Place turkey on rack, and transfer to oven. Add 3 cups water to pan. Bake in preheated oven 1 hour and 10 minutes. Rotate pan halfway (on same rack), brush with half of honey mixture, and continue baking until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 165°F, about 25 more minutes. Remove turkey from oven, and brush with remaining honey mixture. Let stand at least 30 minutes.


You may skip brushing the turkey with honey mixture when you rotate it if the turkey is already dark. Just brush the mixture on at the end.

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