November 28, 2022

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Turkey Marinade – Recipes From A Pantry

This Turkey Marinade recipe is the key to a flavorful Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey. Whip up this simple marinade in just 5 minutes with ingredients you already have in your pantry. Can be used for turkey wings, turkey legs, a whole turkey or chicken.  

Suitable for low carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Post may contain affiliate links. For more information, check my disclosure

a glass jar filled with the completed turkey marinade

This Turkey Marinade recipe will help to make your Christmas or Thanksgiving holiday dinner special. The marinade makes your turkey flavorful, moist, and tender, and it comes together quickly, so it’s also simple enough to use on turkey wings or turkey legs for a special weeknight dinner. 

To marinate turkey means pouring a flavorful sauce over the raw turkey so the flavors are infused into the meat and skin. Just like my collection of 7 Chicken Marinades, this turkey marinade adds moisture, so every bite of your turkey dinner will be succulent and won’t dry out, whether you bake, grill, or roast the bird.

The turkey marinade is simple to prepare in just a few minutes using a mix of savory herbs and spices. It’s perfect for roasting a whole turkey, making turkey wings, Air Fryer Turkey Legs, Air Fryer Turkey Breast, or even as a turkey tenderloin marinade. You can even use it on Air Fryer Whole Chicken and Air Fryer Cornish Hen. It’s a simple way to make your dinner special. 

a spoon pouring turkey marinade into a bowl

Why Make This Recipe

  • It Adds Flavor – On its own, turkey is somewhat plain, but marinated turkey has deep flavor throughout.  
  • It Adds Moisture – Dry turkey is a thing of the past with this turkey marinade recipe.  This juicy turkey will have your guests rating the meal with 5 stars. 
  • It’s Simple – Make your holiday dinner infinitely better with just a few minutes of prep work. It will be a great meal with great flavor. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Garlic Powder – Adds an earthy, warm flavor. 
  • Fresh Rosemary and Fresh Thyme – Fresh herbs have a wonderful taste, and rosemary and thyme go so well with poultry. You can substitute other fresh herbs. 
  • Oregano – For a robust sweet, and peppery flavor. 
  • Ground Ginger – Adds an aromatic flavor to the turkey marinade. 
  • Black Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper has a stronger flavor.  
  • Lemon Juice – Always use fresh lemon juice when possible. You can also use apple cider vinegar or orange juice.
  • Olive Oil  – or use any light, neutral-flavored seed or vegetable oil.
  • Soy Sauce – substitute tamari or amino acids for a gluten free option for soy sauce. 
  • Liquid Smoke – This optional ingredient adds a nice smoky flavor. Be sure to check the ingredients for gluten and omit if you need a gluten free marinade. 
turkey marinade being poured on top of meat inside a baking dish

Ready to make the best turkey marinade recipe? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

How To Make Turkey Marinade

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, ginger, and black pepper. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and liquid smoke. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. 
  2. Pour the marinade into a gallon bag and add the turkey wings or legs. 
  3. Seal and marinate for several hours, up to overnight. 
  4. Cook the turkey using your desired method. 
image collage showing the steps for making turkey marinade

Pro Tips

  • Combine everything in a bowl and mix well
  • Pat the turkey dry before marinating. 
  • Place the meat and the marinade in a ziptop bag or brining bag and shake every hour or so. 
  • To use as an injection marinade, omit the fresh rosemary and thyme or run the marinade through a blender. 
  • Always discard any remaining marinade that has been in contact with raw poultry. 
  • Marinate the turkey in the fridge and not at room temperature. 
  • This recipe makes enough marinade for turkey legs, turkey wings, or as turkey tenderloin marinade. To marinate a whole turkey, double the ingredients for a small turkey and triple for a larger turkey. 
  • Frozen turkey should be completely thawed before marinating. 
  • You can also use this marinade on whole chicken or chicken pieces
close up view of the marinade and two chicken wings in a ziptop bag

Delicious Variations

  • Make A Turkey Injection Marinade – A turkey injection marinade is injected into the thickest part of the meat and below the skin using a special marinade syringe. To use this as an injection marinade, you will need to omit the fresh rosemary and thyme as they will not pass through the syringe. You can sprinkle them on the surface of the turkey if you like. Alternatively, you can run the marinade through a blender until smooth. 
  • Use Dried Herbs – No fresh herbs? No problem. Substitute fresh herbs with dried herbs. You can also use parsley, chives, sage, or your other favorite herbs and spices.
  • Swap The Lemon Juice – You can use apple cider vinegar or orange juice instead of the lemon juice. 
  • Add More Flavor – There are many ways to add more flavor to the marinade. Add in kosher salt, brown sugar, or mustard for great flavor. 
a spoon removing some of the turkey marinade from a glass jar

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Allow from 4 to 24 hours to marinate your turkey. 
  • Store – The marinade can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before use. 
  • Freeze – Unused marinade can be frozen for up to 5 months. Just be sure it did not come in contact with raw meat.
wings covered in marinade inside a ziptop plastic bag

FAQs

How to marinate turkey?

To marinate turkey wings, and legs or to use as a turkey tenderloin marinade, pour marinade into a ziptop plastic bag, place turkey meat inside, and seal. For a whole turkey, pour the marinade over the whole bird to coat the turkey, rubbing under the skin and inside the turkey cavity. 

How long should I marinate a turkey?

Raw turkey should be marinated for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Because of the acid in the lemon juice, marinating longer is not recommended. 

Can I reuse turkey marinade?

No. The marinade will be in contact with raw poultry and should be discarded after use. 

turkey marinade being poured on top of meat inside a baking dish

More Recipes You May Like

Weight Watchers Points

There are 3 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

close up view of a spoonful of the marinade

Thank you for reading my marinade for turkey recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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the completed turkey marinade in a white bowl and ready to use

Print Recipe

Turkey Marinade

This 5 minute marinade is perfect for tender and flavorful turkey meat for the holidays or any meal.

Prep Time5 mins

Total Time5 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Western

Servings: 8

Calories: 100kcal

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, ginger and black pepper. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and liquid smoke. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.

  • Pour the marinade into a gallon bag and add the turkey wings or legs.

  • Seal and marinate for several hours to overnight.

  • Cook the turkey using your desired method.

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Notes

  • Combine everything in a bowl and mix well. 
  • Pat the turkey dry before marinating. 
  • Place the meat and the marinade in a ziptop bag or brining bag and shake every hour or so. 
  • To use as an injection marinade, omit the fresh rosemary and thyme or run the marinade through a blender. 
  • Always discard any remaining marinade that has been in contact with raw poultry. 
  • Marinate the turkey in the fridge and not at room temperature. 
  • This recipe makes enough marinade for turkey legs, turkey wings or as turkey tenderloin marinade. To marinate a whole turkey, double the ingredients for a small turkey and triple for a larger turkey. 
  • Frozen turkey should be completely thawed before marinating. 
  • You can also use this marinade on whole chicken or chicken pieces.
  • Storage – keep marinade in an airtight container inside the fridge up to 24 hours before using.
  • There are 3 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.3mg