Mexican Inspired Turkey Breast

If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd this Thanksgiving, this Mexican inspired turkey breast recipe should be at the top of your list. It’s super easy to make and comes out delicious. Hints of chili and pepper add bursts of flavor to a very plain piece of meat, the achiote paste keeps the meat juicy and tender and the low and slow cook adds that smokey flavor that just takes this dish to a whole other level.  This is a must try recipe. Here we go!

Defrost the turkey.

Mexican Inspired Turkey Breast

Place the frozen turkey breast in the refrigerator 1-2 days before the cook day. You want to give it plenty of time to defrost. The defrost time will vary based on the weight of the turkey so be sure to take that into account.

After the turkey breast is defrosted, rinse it under cold water, remove the skin and pat it dry. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut out the turkey backbone.

Trimmed Turkey breast

How to add flavor to a plain turkey breast?

To get started, coat the entire turkey breast with a seasoning mix that includes salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano.  Set aside a tbsp of the seasoning for later usage.  Make sure to coat it heavily on all sides.

Next, heat up the grill to 275 degrees and place the turkey breast directly on grates for indirect cooking.  Leave it on until the internal temp of the protein reaches 145 degrees.  Depending on the size of the breast, this part of the cook will take about 2 hours.

Achiote seasoning mix

While the turkey is on the grill, start prepping the sauce.  In a blender, add achiote paste, vinegar, water and a tbsp of the dry seasoning mix: chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Mix it all together until you get a thick liquid of orange goodness.

What makes Mexican inspired turkey breast so tender?

The long smoking process is what makes the meat so tender.  In order to keep the moisture and prevent the protein from drying out, you need to wrap it for the final cook.

Turkey Breast in Achiote paste

Wrapped Turkey Breast

Once the grilled turkey breast reaches 145 degrees internally, line 2 sheets of Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Foil and place the meat on the wrap. Next, pour the blended achiote liquid paste all over it.  Wrap up the protein for the second cook starting ending with a tight seal from the heavy duty foil.  The wrap will help keep all the moisture inside the cook and allow the sauce to penetrate through the meat and infuse it with all those amazing Mexican style flavors.

Mexican inspired smoked turkey breast

Leave the wrapped turkey on the grill for another hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the grill and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Carve this Mexican inspired turkey breast and serve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Printer Friendly Recipe

Mexican Inspired Turkey Breast

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 6 People


  • 1 Turkey Breast - Fresh or Frozen
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Achiote paste
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup White vinegar


  • Remove the turkey from the packaging and remove the skin.
  • Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut out the turkey backbone.
  • Combine all dry ingredients. Set aside 1 tbsp of the mixed seasoning aside for later use
  • Season the turkey breast on both sides.
  • Preheat the grill to 275 degrees, indirect heat, and place the turkey breast directly on the grates.
  • While the turkey is cooking, combine the all remaining ingredients, along with the reserved seasoning mix in a food processor or blender.
  • When the turkey breast reaches 145 degrees internal temperature, remove the grill and place on 2 pieces of aluminum foil.
  • Cover the turkey with the braising liquid, wrap tightly with the foil and place back on the grill.
  • Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  • Remove the grill, allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, carve and serve!


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