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Honey Glazed Cantonese Turkey, by thewoksoflife.com
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4.8 from 5 votes

Honey Glazed Cantonese Turkey

Cantonese people have been expertly roasting poultry of all kinds for hundreds of years, so why not add a Thanksgiving Honey Glazed Cantonese Turkey to the list? If you’re looking to mix things up, prepare this turkey with plenty of Chinese flavors and a honey glaze.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time2 hrs 35 mins
Total Time3 hrs 35 mins
Course: Chicken &amp, Holiday, Poultry
Cuisine: American/Chinese
Keyword: cantonese turkey
Servings: 12
Calories: 635kcal
Author: Bill


To prepare the turkey:

For the honey glaze:


  • First, thaw your turkey. Make sure you provide plenty of time for this step. It’s best to let your turkey thaw overnight in the kitchen sink a couple of days before Thanksgiving (if it’s frozen solid) or the day before you’re going to cook it (preferably the morning, as it will still need to marinate). When the turkey is completely thawed, remove it from the wrapper, and if the inside of the turkey is still frozen, run some warm water into the cavity and let it sit for a few more hours to thaw. If you’re in a hurry, you can soak the turkey in lukewarm water to aid the thawing process.
  • This is the single most important step to ensuring your turkey cooks evenly. Be sure to also remove the giblet package in the cavity and thoroughly rinse the cavity and outside of the turkey. Next, drain all of the water from the cavity, and pat the whole turkey dry with paper towels. You can also let it drip dry on a rack.
  • Make the marinade by mixing together ¼ cup ground bean sauce, 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot, 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 1½ tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, and 1 teaspoon five spice powder.
  • Rub the turkey down inside and out with the marinade, ensuring all surfaces are thoroughly coated. Work the marinade under the skin where possible. If you think you have too much marinade, use the surplus amount in the cavity. Finish the turkey by placing the Chinese dried tangerine peels into the cavity.
  • Place the turkey in a roasting pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, take the turkey out 3 hours prior to roasting to bring it up to room temperature.
  • When you’re ready to cook the turkey, line the roasting pan with the 3 pounds of chopped potatoes and the chopped leek. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast side down. (We’re going to flip it later).
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and arrange an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. While that’s happening, prepare the glaze. Mix together ⅓ cup hot water, 2 teaspoons red Zhejiang vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of honey. Set aside.
  • Roast your Cantonese turkey for 30 minutes. Then use a basting brush to glaze the turkey with your honey mixture and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Roast for another 30 minutes, and give the turkey another basting with the glaze.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, and lower the temperature to 325 degrees F. Using a clean kitchen towel and a sturdy roasting fork, flip the turkey breast-side up. Carefully brush off any vegetables that may be stuck to the turkey, taking care not to damage the skin on the breast.
  • Roast the turkey at the lower temperature for another hour and 5 minutes (for a 13 pound turkey) to an hour and a half (for a 15 pound turkey). Glaze the turkey every 15 minutes, and rotate the pan halfway through the second block of roasting time. If the turkey is browning too much, tent it lightly with aluminum foil.
  • The surest way to check if your turkey is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the thigh should register 165 degrees and the juices should run clear (not pink).
  • When your turkey is done, transfer it to a serving plate, cover it lightly with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes and leeks out of the pan. Serve them as-is, or make them into a delicious side of roasted mashed potatoes (just add milk, butter, and salt to taste). Lastly, pour the pan drippings through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator to make the gravy.


Remember, prep time of 1 hour does not include the time needed to thaw and then marinate your turkey!
Nutrition information includes serving of potatoes. 


Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 85g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 271mg | Sodium: 971mg | Potassium: 1337mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 14.2mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 7.3mg