Apple Cider Brined and Maple Roasted Turkey

It’s this cook’s favorite time of year, Thanksgiving. Up until the arrival of this holiday, I will be posting recipe by recipe a complete meal. This week’s post is the centerpiece of the holiday, a delicious brined turkey. Ever since I started to brine my turkey’s the night before, I have delivered to my table a juicy, moist roasted turkey. I especially enjoyed this brine, which uses some of my favorite fall flavors – apple cider, apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, sage, brown sugar and a touch of allspice. The flavors combine to create a subtle sweetness to the meat. For the roasting by using maple syrup and melted butter to baste the turkey, the result is a beautiful crisp and brown skin on the outside of the turkey and the inside meat is moist and tender. So follow along to create a perfect holiday menu!

From by the bay wishing you apple cider brined food memories!


blog turkey 2012

Apple Cider Brined and Maple Roasted Turkey

1 16-18 lb. turkey, preferably organic


16 cups cold water, or more to cover turkey

8 cups apple cider

1 cup fine sea salt

1 cup light brown sugar

2 macintosh apples , quartered

3 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

2 tablespoons allspice berries

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

½ cup maple syrup

2 onions , peeled and quartered

3 sprigs sage leaves

To roast turkey

2 whole macintosh apples

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 cinnamon sticks

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons fine grey sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

To baste

8 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature

¼ cup maple syrup


Prepare brine by combining apple cider, water, sea salt, maple syrup, brown sugar, onions, sage, apples , cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, star anise and peppercorns. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Clean turkey with cold water removing any giblets and or neck. Keep giblets and neck in the refrigerator to use later for gravy base.  Place turkey and brine into a resealable plastic bag or into a large non reactive bowl covered with plastic wrap. The turkey should be covered with the brine, if not add more water. Refrigerate over night.  The next day remove turkey 40 minutes before planning to place into the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels inside and out.  Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.  Fill the cavity  with the apples, onions, sage and cinnamon sticks.  Tie turkey legs together and place into roasting pan. In a small sauce pan melt butter and maple syrup together on a low heat. Use this to baste turkey once before placing into the oven. Roast the turkey at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes then lower the oven to 350 degrees F.   For an 18 lb. turkey cooking time will be approximately 3 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the meat registers 175 degrees F at its thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey about every 30 minutes with the butter and maple syrup mixture. If the turkey browns too quickly tent that part with aluminum foil. When ready, remove from the oven. Take turkey from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board to rest before carving, at least 20 minutes. If you are serving later then 20 minutes from removing from oven tent turkey with aluminum foil until ready to serve.


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