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Pavochón: Most Flavorful Turkey for Thanksgiving

What is Pavochón? 

Pavochón is a mashup of the words “Pavo” meaning turkey in Spanish, and “chón” which is part of the Spanish word “Lechón” meaning pig or pork. It is tradition in the Latin/Puerto Rican culture to do a pig’s roast during the Holidays. Based off of the Holidays, this tradition was also adapted to the Thanksgiving holiday. Many choose to make pork during Thanksgiving, or make turkey with the flavor of the pork roast. That is how the word “Pavochón” was born.

Pavochon is the perfect choice for those who no longer eat pork, but crave the taste of a traditional Pernil. The Pavochon is different from a traditional Turkey recipe because of the seasonings. Traditional Turkey recipes call for sage, butter, salt and pepper. Pavochon is all about the garlic, oregano, olive oil, citrus juices and the seasonings. Healthy Rican Savory Spice Mix, Healthy Rian Sazón, and Healthy Rican Adobo. Not only can you see the difference you definitely taste the difference. 

Speaking of seasonings, let me introduce to you to my newest blend Healthy Rican Savory Spice Mix. If our signature Adobo & Sofrito had a baby... this would be it!

Healthy Puerto Rican Spices - The key to a tasty Pavochon is in the marinade. The same can be said for a tasty Roast Pork (Pernil) since the marinade is the star ingredient.Made with all natural herbs and spices, this lower in sodium and black pepper free blend is a stand alone seasoning that is perfect for poultry. It can also be used to make stews, as a dry rub to marinate meats, added in soups, rice, beans, and so much more.

What gives Pavochón a better flavor?

The key to a tasty Pavochon is in the marinade. The same can be said for a tasty Roast Pork (Pernil) since the marinade is the star ingredient. Actually this type of seasoning/marinades can be used on all types of proteins that are roasted. The top 3 ingredients in all of Puerto Rican dishes that require roasting are garlic, oregano and onion. Those ingredients blend together and create a flavorful profile that lends itself perfectly to Pavochon. Add the olive oil, Healthy Rican Adobo, Healthy Rican Savory Spice Mix, Healthy Rican Sazón, ground black pepper and citrus juices orange and lime and you’ve got the taste of Puerto Rico in every bite.  

Healthy Puerto Rican Sazon Seasoning - Discover the most flavorful turkey recipe perfect this thanksgiving. Read more here.

What is Pavochón seasoned with?

Pavochón is seasoned the same way as the pig roast and/or “pernil” (also pork). It is heavily seasoned with a marinade made with garlic, seasonings, and mojo (juices of limes and oranges). Typically 1-2 days before the main event or Thanksgiving. 

Can Pavochón be stuffed?

Yes, typically Pavochón is stuffed with mofongo. Mofongo is a popular side dish in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. It is made with mashed plantains, garlic, olive oil or butter, and chicharón (crunchy pork skins or pork rinds). 

What is a good stuffing for Pavochón? 

While Mofongo is the first choice, however, Pavochón can be stuffed with any stuffing of choice. It can also be stuffed with rice, traditional stuffing, potatoes and so much more. I listed various alternatives below.

What sides do you serve with Pavochón? 

Typical side dishes include “Arroz con Gandules” yellow rice with pigeon peas, pasteles (Puerto Rican’s version of tamales), “guineos en escabeche” green bananas in an onion sauce, potato salad, macaroni salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn… shall I continue? The possibilities are endless.

What dessert goes well with a Pavochón dinner? 

Flan is the most typical dessert during the holidays. However, there are many more like “tembleque” coconut custard, “arroz con dulce” sweet rice pudding, cake, tres leches, cookies and more. 

How to make Pavochón

To make Pavochón, you must first make the marinade. Then the turkey is seasoned to perfection and slowly roasted until the entire house smells like deliciousness, and home cooked goodness. This made me hungry just thinking about it. 🙂 

Puerto Rican Staple Seasonings - Complete recipe guide to make your first Pavochon for every Thanksgiving vibe

What you’ll need:

Equipment: Conventional Oven

  • 14-15 pound turkey - defrosted

To defrost, allow it to defrost in the fridge 2-3 days

Pavochón Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic (pealed)
  • ½ small yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp. Healthy Rican Adobo
  • 1 tbsp. Healthy Rican Savory Spice Mix (Don’t have the Savory Spice Mix yet? Stock up here OR use our regular Adobo in its place)
  • 1 tbsp. Healthy Rican Sazón
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. oregano
Healthy Puerto Rican Dinner Recipes - Visit our online store! You will find out more about our healthy blends of Latin Adobo and Sazón made with all-natural ingredients.


  1. Remove giblets and turkey neck from the turkey and fully dry the turkey with paper towels.
  2. Make the turkey marinade: Add all the marinade ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, or chop everything by hand very finely and mix all together.
  3. Gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and separate gently.
  4. Season the turkey with the marinade over and under the skin.
  5. Cover the turkey and refrigerate for 12-48 hours. 
  6. Remove the turkey from the fridge at least an hour before cooking, and let sit at room temperature.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Stuff the cavity of the turkey as desired and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  9. Roast turkey uncovered until juices are clear and turkey has cooked through. Typically for 2-3 hours or until the turkey reaches the following temperatures: 180°F in thigh. 170°F in the breast. 165°F in stuffing.
  10. Enjoy with your favorite side dishes, along with quality time with your loved ones. 
What Is Sazon Seasoning Used For - Here is the list of stuffing alternatives you can make with your Pavochon recipe.

Stuffing alternatives: 

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