Maple and Cider Brined Turkey

By Marge Perry & David Bonom
This is the perfect treatment for heritage birds, which can be tougher but more flavorful than mass produced frozen turkeys. The brine tenderizes the meat while the robust flavors of the maple cider glaze stands up to the stronger tasting meat. But the recipe is not just for heritage birds: standard turkeys are also made tender and flavorful.
  • Cuisine: American
  • Course: Entrée


  • apple cider
  • apple jack liqueur or apple brandy
  • Bay leaves
  • Brine:
  • coarsely chopped celery
  • coarsely chopped onion
  • coarsely chopped unpeeled ginger
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Cold Water
  • dark brown ginger
  • fresh or thawed frozen turkey
  • fresh orange zest
  • garlic cloves
  • Glaze
  • kosher salt
  • Maple Syrup
  • unsalted butter


  1. To make the brine: combine the cider, maple syrup, apple jack, salt, garlic, ginger, sugar, bay leaves, orange zest, and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve, remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. Clean the turkey, removing all giblets and, if there is one, the pop-up timer. Line a large stockpot with a heavy turkey roasting bag
  3. Make the glaze: combine the cider and maple syrup in a 2-quart saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in butter until melted.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the turkey from the bag and discard the brine. Dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels. Add one-third of the chopped onion to the body cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the turkey’s back and tie the drumsticks together with butcher’s twine. Brush the butter over the entire surface of the turkey. Spread the remaining onion and celery in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place turkey breast side up on top of the vegetables
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Roast, basting every 30 minutes for 1 hour 20 to 1 hour 30 minutes longer or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh registers 180°F. Brush on glaze in 2-3 additions during the last hour of cooking. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let stand 30 minutes before slicing.
  6. If desired, strain solids from pan juices and discard any fat that rises to the surface. Spoon pan jus over sliced meat just before serving.