Pavochón (Puerto Rican Roasted Turkey)

Pavochon roasted turkey recipe

​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
876 Calories
30g Fat
35g Carbs
113g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 876
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 403mg 134%
Sodium 4169mg 181%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 113g
Calcium 114mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving in the manner of lechón (suckling pig) has been a tradition in Puerto Rico since the island became an American commonwealth and adopted the holiday. The word pavochón is a combination of the Spanish word for turkey, pavo, and the word lechón.

On the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, the meat of choice for the holidays is roasted suckling pork. So it only makes sense to combine the tradition of the islands with an American tradition and serve turkey that is reminiscent of roasted pork for Thanksgiving. This flavorful recipe will go over well with the most discriminating of tastes.


  • 1 head garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons adobo
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (14-pound) turkey

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pavochon roasted turkey
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh
  2. Mash the garlic cloves and salt into a paste using a pilòn (mortar and pestle).

    Mash garlic
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh
  3. Add the peppercorns and adobo and crush the ingredients into the paste.

    Add the peppercorns
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh
  4. Stir in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

    Stir in olive oil
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh
  5. Rub the mixture under the turkey’s skin inside the cavities, then rub the rest of the mixture on top of the skin.

    Rub mixture
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh
  6. Roast the turkey according to the manufacturer’s recommended time and temperature. A 14 to ​16-pound turkey will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook.

    Roast turkey
    ​The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh