A Turkey Feast featuring an Achiote Butter Basted Turkey ready for carving.


This is my Achiote Butter Basted Turkey. This year we named her Frieda and of course there is a story that goes with that. The story starts six years ago when I was out buying a Christmas gift. I was looking at a set of folding saw horses when the woman beside declared they were the ideal gift for her family gift exchange. Her gift needed to start with the letter F. They started this idea with the letter A and on this year they had to buy gifts that started with the letter F. Folding saw horses met her criteria.

I liked the idea of some criteria for the gift exchange so convinced my family to start the same tradition. That year we started ours with the letter A.

Name That Turkey

A few years later I heard someone talking about the time and care we give to our turkey. The idea to name it came from that and we would use the same criteria as our gift exchange. I would name my turkey a name that began with the same letter of the alphabet as our family gift exchange. Now, six years later, all of our family turkeys this year will be given names that begin with the letter F. All gift exchange gifts must begin with the letter F. Next year will be the letter H in 19 years we’ll start back at the letter A.

That’s the story of how Frieda got her name.

PIN for later…

Achiote Butter Basted Turkey, we named this one Frieda.

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Get The Tools – Turkey Equipment

Turkey is a commitment. It’s big and requires some equipment. You can make a point of using these items throughout the year but you definitely need them for your Turkey Feast.

Achiote Paste for Achiote Butter Basted Turkey

Gluten Free Achiote Butter Basted Turkey in the roasting pan.
Achiote Butter Basted Turkey -photo credit Jim Little

Frieda the turkey was lovingly rubbed with a mixture of achiote paste and butter. This Latin American paste is an unusual pantry ingredient made with annatto seeds, vinegar and spices. It provides a bright orange hue and a unique earthy taste to the turkey. Before you commit to a whole turkey recipe try it in this recipe for achiote chicken, that is how I fell in love with this ingredient.

Do you name your turkey or are you going to start doing that? Did you try this Achiote Butter Basted Turkey? Let me know in the comments below.

More Recipes – The Turkey Feast

Achiote Butter Basted Turkey

This is Frieda, my Achiote Butter Basted Turkey. She is the star of our annual southwestern inspired Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey feast.
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: Achiote Butter Basted Turkey


  • 15-20 lb turkey
  • 3 Tbsp achiote paste
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half
  • 4-6 cups gluten free chicken stock


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Mix butter and achiote paste together. This can be done the night before and left at room temperature.
    The box of achiote paste with the rust coloured brick, broken in half on a plate.
  • Remove the turkey from the fridge for 1-2 hours before starting. Wearing gloves, rub the achiote butter over the entire turkey. The butter will quickly harden on the cold turkey so microwave the remaining butter for 10 seconds if needed. You can also put the turkey in the oven for 5-10 minutes after the butter is on it, uncovered, to help the butter melt. Remove the turkey from the oven and finish spreading the butter with your hands or a silicone brush.
  • Place turkey on a rack in a turkey roasting pan. Tuck wings under the turkey. Using kitchen string tie the legs together to help hold its' shape.
  • Pour 2 cups of chicken stock in the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan.
  • Cover with foil and roast in preheated oven until it reaches 160°F on a meat thermometer. A general guide is 15-20 minutes per pound.
  • Check the turkey every hour and baste it with the juices in the bottom of the roaster. Add the more chicken stock as needed.
  • If not nicely browned remove the foil for the last hour of the cooking time.
  • Transfer turkey from roasting pan to large baking tray with an edge to contain the juices. Cover well with foil and then a towel, let rest for 45-60 minutes before carving.
  • Meanwhile make Ancho Chile Gravy using the juices from the roasting pan.
  • Carve turkey, arrange on a platter and serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro and whole cranberries just before serving.


Naming Turkeys - This is Frieda, my Achiote Butter Basted Turkey. Following the letters of the alphabet, each year we name all of the turkeys we cook and the name starts with that letter. This photo was taken the year we were using the letter F. If you name your turkeys like we do, you might be interested in the full story.
Best Turkey Advice from my sister - You can never overcook a turkey! (You probably can overcook a turkey but keep this in mind when you're planning.)
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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