Cozy apple cider turkey (brine & roast) - nicole's tasting spoon

"Apple Cider is the perfect brine for a cozy fall inspired turkey. Just a little sweetness, paired with the warm spices of cinnamon, cloves, star anise and fresh oranges will get you into the holiday spirit."
-- @nictastingspoon
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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 10mins

Recipe Card

Brine (good for up to 15 pound Turkey)


  • 12 cups Water
  • 4 cups Unfiltered Apple Cider
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Peppercorns
  • 2 Oranges

Roasting the Brined Turkey


  • 15 pounds Turkey - Brined
  • 1 Onion - cut into quarters
  • 1 Celery Stalk - cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 Orange
  • 1 handful of Fresh Sage
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 handful of Fresh Thyme
  • 1/4 cup Butter - cut into tablespoon cubes

Apple Cider Brine


  • Step 1

    Clean out the turkey, remove the neck, and packet of giblets. Set aside.

  • Step 2

    In a large pot, add 8 cups of water, 4 cups of apple cider, salt and all of the ingredients seasonings (bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and oranges).

  • Step 3

    Bring up to a boil until all of the salt is dissolved. Turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes. Take off it off the heat and let it cool down, add the rest of the 8 cups of cold water.

  • Step 4

    Once the brining liquid is lukewarm or colder it’s ready. In your brining bag or large container, put in your turkey breast side down and pour the brining solution over the turkey. The turkey should be fully submerged in the liquid.It's okay if the back bone is out of the brine.

  • Step 5

    Place your turkey bag on a sheet pan with parchment paper or a towel. Store the turkey in the brining solution on the lowest level-shelf in your refrigerator (should your bag leak you don’t want it to drip onto anything else). Let it brine for at least 12 hours, no longer than 48 hours.

Roasting your Apple Cider Brined Turkey

  • Step 1

    Take your turkey out of the brine, rinse off and pat dry, let it come up to room temperature or at least get the chill off of it – about 30 minutes. You can continue with the prep steps during the 30 minutes so that you can save on time.

  • Step 2

    Preheat your oven to 450F.

  • Step 3

    Prepare your ingredients – have ready your all of your aromatics (onion, celery, lemon, orange, herbs) Divide your butter up, 1 TBSP and then 6 squares, 1/2 TBSP each.

  • Step 4

    Prepare to truss your bird. Tuck the wings behind the shoulder of the bird, similar to if you were putting your hands behind your head to do a sit up. Then take a twine, or a large string and place the center of it underneath the turkey so that it lays across the shoulders.

  • Step 5

    Stuff the cavity of the bird with your aromatics (onion, celery, lemon, orange, herbs)

  • Step 6

    Truss the turkey. Pull your twine or string up and over the wings pulling it tight so that the wings stay close the body of the bird, but not too tight to pierce the skin. Pull the twine/string across the bird so that it falls between the thigh and the breast, tightly tie around the ankles of the bird. Be careful not to break the skin.

  • Step 7

    Place your turkey on your roasting rack and in your roasting pan.

  • Step 8

    Slowly and carefully pull the skin away from the meat of the breasts and stuff each side with 2 squares of the butter.

  • Step 9

    Then near the same hole, you will do the same for the thighs, but only put in 1 square per leg.

  • Step 10

    The bird should have all 6 squares of butter underneath the skin, then with the remainder of the butter, you will want to spread it over the top of the skin. This will help create a delicious crispy beautiful brown color.

  • Step 11

    Roast at 450F for 15 minutes. This will help jump start the browning process. After 15 minutes, drop the temperature to 325F.

  • Step 12

    Roast for 2 hours at 325F, without doing anything to it – just let it go.

  • Step 13

    After 2 hours, baste with a baster, large spoon or I have even found it super easy to lift the roasting rack out of the pan, pour the pan juices in a measuring cup, once you put the roasting rack back on the pan, pour the juices from the measuring cup onto the turkey.

  • Step 14

    Place a foil cover over the breasts to keep them from getting too brown.

  • Step 15

    Put the bird back in the oven for another hour (total roasting time should be 3 hours and 15 minutes for a 12lb turkey). Before you pull it out TAKE HIS TEMPERATURE. Put a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the breast meat without going through into the cavity, and again in the thigh, making sure not to hit the bone, both checks should be at least 165F. Do not skip this step, even if you have a turkey with a "pop-up when done", I suggest to still use meat thermometer to check.

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