Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs

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How-To | Step-by-Step Tutorial & Tips:
Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices

Never (ever) worry again about serving a dried-out and tasteless turkey for the holidays. Experienced home cooks as well as professional chefs rely on old-fashioned brining techniques to assure a moist, succulent, flavorful roasted turkey. Brining is easy once you nail down the basics. And we, here at Wicked Good Kitchen, believe our recipe stands at the very top amongst other turkey brine recipes.

For more helpful information, please visit my repost of this recipe, Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices, with an article that includes plenty of brining tips!

What makes our recipe for turkey brine wicked good?

Well, to begin with, the kitchen aromatics alone will make you feel as though you are soon to be dining with royalty at The King’s Table! However, it is the fact that our recipe combines the best of both worlds in the way of taste sensations by combining both apple cider and citrus juices—to include the essential oils from the rinds—making our recipe a true standout.

In addition, our brine is seasoned to perfection with the finest in fresh herbs and fragrant spices to include garlic, rosemary, sage and thyme as well as whole star anise, cinnamon and allspice and juniper berries. Furthermore, our brine consists of equal parts apple cider (not just a few cups like most recipes) and water assuring a deep, flavorful roasted turkey.

Finally, we call for just enough salt to ensure a juicy turkey—without giving it an overly salty taste—by drawing moisture into the meat keeping it tender and juicy as it roasts. Your family and friends will give rave reviews and pronounce you a rock star chef!

Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial

To learn more about brining your holiday turkey, please see our Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial below the recipe—complete with step-by-step photos and instructions.

More Fabulous Thanksgiving Recipes

Meanwhile, below are links to all of my Thanksgiving recipes to date here on the blog (to include component recipes) for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey.

Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey
Includes article and links to all of my Thanksgiving recipes here on the blog as well as including the recipe for Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy. In addition, a list of roasting times based on the weight of the bird, and whether you will be roasting your turkey stuffed or unstuffed, is included.

Also, you will find oodles of Tips for each component recipe listed below that can be found all in one handy place—in the Notes section of the recipe for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey .

  • Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter
  • Roasting Pan Juices
  • Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics
  • Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze
  • Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy

Each recipe contributes phenomenal depth of flavor for an exceptional roasted holiday turkey.

Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs & Spices
Includes the article, General Brining Tips for a Tender & Juicy Bird.

Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock
Includes the article 10 Tips for Making Turkey Giblet Stock and a recipe for Day-After Turkey Stock. This is one special turkey stock you will not want to miss. It’s a favorite at our house and it just isn’t Thanksgiving without it!

5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
Includes the article 10 Tips for Making Stuffing (or Dressing) for Thanksgiving. This original recipe of mine was submitted to Allrecipes.com back in 1998. (Actually, back then, it was submitted to ThanksgivingRecipes.com before being moved to their main recipe site.) The recipe was also published in Allrecipes cookbooks. Soon after submission, the recipe went viral as newspaper food editors, grocery store chains and turkey farms were sharing the recipe with their readers. Since then, it has become a favorite recipe for Thanksgiving Stuffing around the country.

Best wishes for a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday with your families!

Bon appétit!

xo,

stacysig

 

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs

Yield: Makes enough brine for a 16 to 20-pound fresh turkey.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 to 20-pound) fresh turkey, rinsed & patted dry, with neck & giblets reserved for stock
  • For the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion
  • ¾ to 1 gallon (12 to 16 cups) apple cider
  • 1¼ cups kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 whole star anise pods
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 or 2 4-inch cinnamon sticks
  • ¾ to 1 gallon (12 to 16 cups) chilled water, preferably distilled
  • For the Citrus & Onion Aromatics
  • 3 medium to large oranges, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 large lemons, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges with skin intact
  • Special Equipment
  • 1 12-quart stockpot, with lid
  • 1 large oval enamel roasting pan, without lid
  • 1 large brining bag, such as Williams-Sonoma® brand
  • 1 heavy duty clip (we used Firm Grip® clip from Home Depot) or strong cotton butcher’s twine

Preparation

Prepare the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion: In a large 12-quart stock pot, bring ¾ gallon (12 cups) apple cider, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Add ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water to cool liquid slightly. Meanwhile, reserve ¼ gallon (4 cups) apple cider and ¼ gallon (4 cups) chilled water in refrigerator should it be necessary to cover turkey completely with additional brine in brining bag later. This, of course, depends on the size of your turkey.

Prepare the Brine with Citrus & Onion Aromatics: After the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion has cooled somewhat (no longer very hot, but still very warm), squeeze citrus wedges into the liquid adding each rind after expelling juices. Next, add onion wedges and stir. Cover stockpot and allow the brine to steep. Cool to room temperature. If preparing brine the day before brining turkey, chill brine in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the Turkey & Brine into Brining Bag: Open zip-top brining bag wide and insert into enamel roasting pan with high sides. Using a large liquid measure (I use my 2-cup glass measure), scoop some of the brine and place it into bottom of large brining bag. Insert the turkey over the brine breast side up. Using a slotted spoon, place some citrus and onion wedges into the cavity of the bird and continue to add the remaining brining liquid over the turkey in the brining bag. Carefully close zip-top and expel as much air as possible. (It helps to have two sets of hands at this point.) Gather top of brining bag and twist. Secure brining bag at the top so that brine covers entire turkey. (We used a Firm Grip clip, but you can use butcher’s twine to tie the bag closed.) If the brine needs more liquid to cover entire turkey, add enough of the remaining ¼ gallon (4 cups) each of the chilled cider and water in equal parts to brining bag before securing closed. (We start by adding 2 cups of each the cider and water and go from there.) Transfer roasting pan, with turkey and brine in brining bag, to refrigerator. Soak turkey for at least 18 hours or up to 2 to 3 days.

Prepare the Turkey for Roasting the Night Before: The night before you plan to roast your turkey, remove it from brining solution; discard brine and brining bag. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water, if desired, and pat the bird thoroughly with paper towels to dry completely inside and out.

Note: Now that your turkey has been successfully brined, we recommend that you follow our recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey or your favorite recipe. At this point, our Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey recipe will guide you to butter and season your turkey with either butter or Herbed Compound Butter and refrigerate it overnight uncovered in the roasting pan. After refrigerating overnight, and resting for 1 hour at room temperature the next morning, the turkey will be ready to go directly into preheated oven to roast.

Notes

To learn more about brining your holiday turkey, please see our Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial, below, complete with step-by-step photos and instructions.

Recipe Inspiration: Williams-Sonoma's Apple & Spices Turkey Brine Mix.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/apple-cider-citrus-turkey-brine-with-herbs/

Step-by-Step: Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial

Mise en Place: Everything in place. Apple cider, kosher salt, minced garlic, bay leaves, fresh rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs, whole star anise pods, whole black peppercorns, whole allspice and juniper berries, cinnamon stick, and wedges of onion, lemon and orange.

In a large 12-quart stock pot, bring ¾ gallon (that’s 12 cups!) apple cider, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. As you can see, we have already added to the pot the apple cider, salt and minced garlic. Next, we will be adding the herbs and spices. Here, I am adding the whole black peppercorns. You can never have enough black peppercorns, right?

Ahh. Lovely whole black peppercorns bursting with flavor. I am a confessed black peppercorn fiend.

Here I am adding the whole juniper berries which provide a distinct, sharp flavor with citrus notes. Yum! Just perfect for turkey brine.

Next, I am adding whole allspice berries to create a spectacular autumn and winter flavor for our turkey brine.

Here, I am adding the whole star anise pods. Oh, whole star anise pods…how I adore thee. Guys, these babies are essential for an outstanding turkey brine. Trust me. It is just not the same without. You’ll see…I promise!

Next in, bay leaves.

And, cinnamon stick. Just 1 or 2 will do.

Look at our lovely Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices. She’s looking mighty stunning, eh? So far, totally gorg!

Following the spices, we need to add our fresh herb sprigs. Here, I am adding the fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs. Be generous as the herbs will infuse our brine with plenty of flavor.

Next up, fresh sage sprigs. Oh, how I adore the savory flavor of sage–especially when it comes to enjoying roasted turkey and stuffing. The color is pretty, too.

Just simply marvelous! Our Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices is on her way! Um…on her way to Tom Turkey, that is.

Now it is time to give our gorgeous turkey brine a little stir.

I’m telling you, just gorgeous! But, we’re not done yet.

Now we need to allow the brine to come to a boil. See the little bubbles forming already? We need the heat to boiling level so that the herbs and spices will infuse flavor during the steep. Just like when you steep your favorite tea.

Here we are! She’s come to a full boil now.

Next, we need to remove the pot from the heat (I have placed a wire cooling rack under the pot) and add ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water. The chilled water will speed up the cooling process and will prepare the brine for the addition of the citrus and onion aromatics. Alternatively, if you are in a hurry, you could use an equivalent amount of ice water with ice cubes. Chef Emeril Lagasse does that. This way, your brine will reach a cooler temperature faster so that you can begin to brine your turkey right away. The brine must be at least room temperature or cooler before brining your turkey. Cooler is best. If you are preparing your turkey brine the day before, which is what I like to do, just chill it in the fridge.

Here, I am adding the ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water from a large glass pitcher.

Since all of the water didn’t fit into my large glass pitcher, I am adding the remaining chilled water here from a glass measuring cup.

Next, we move onto the citrus and onion aromatics which will infuse our gorgeous turkey brine even further with flavor.

Before adding each wedge of lemon or orange to the pot, be sure to give it a good squeeze. Release those tasty juices and the essential oils from those rinds, people! It is that important. These steps are why our turkey brine recipe is so exceptional and fit for brined roasted turkeys on “The King’s Table”.

Keep going…keep squeezing and adding those citrus wedges. It will all be worth it. Trust me.

Next, add the onion wedges. As you can see, I have done that here.

Seriously. I wish there was smell-o-vision. Your house is going to smell heavenly from these kitchen aromatics!

Just stunningly beautiful! Sexy brine.

Now, time for the cooling and steeping process. Place the lid atop your stock pot and allow the brine to cool and steep. Just think of all that flavor infusion going on!

You are going to need these: Bringing Bags. For our 18-pound Tom Turkey, we will be using the largest bag. These quality Brining Bags are from Williams-Sonoma. We have received no compensation from W-S. We just dig their heavy duty brining bags.

You will also need a large roasting pan. We find that our inexpensive oval enamelware roasting pan is ideal for the turkey brining process. It has nice, high sides (to keep our turkey covered and saturated in brine), handy handles and it easily slides onto a shelf in the fridge. Don’t forget to clear some space! If you need to, remove one of your drawers–like the deli meats drawer. This way, your roasting pan with turkey inside will have adequate clearance. Now, we are ready to prepare our brining bag. Assemble the Turkey & Brine into Brining Bag: Open zip-top brining bag wide and insert into enamel roasting pan with high sides. Done. Check.

In addition to brining bags and a large oval enamel roasting pan, you will need a large slotted spoon and liquid measuring cup. Since most kitchens are equipped with these implements, we did not add them to our recipe ingredients list under special equipment.

Now we are ready to prepare our brining bag for Tom Turkey. Continuing… Assemble the Turkey & Brine into Brining Bag: Using a large liquid measure (I use my 2-cup glass measure), scoop some of the brine and place it into bottom of large brining bag. Once again, I like to use my large slotted spoon to scoop up the citrus and onion wedges. As you can see, I placed some into the bottom of the brining bag. Now the brining bag is ready for Tom Turkey.

As you can see, we have added Tom Turkey to the brining bag. Next, using a slotted spoon, scoop up the aromatic solids (the citrus and onion wedges as well as some of the herbs and spices) and place over and around the turkey.

Don’t forget to place some of the aromatic solids into the large cavity of your turkey. This is essential.

Next, continue to add the remaining brining liquid over the turkey in the brining bag.

Tom looks divine surrounded by all that brining goodness.

Now, step back and marvel at your cheffy self. Look at what you have accomplished. And, it was so easy. But, just wait until you smell this phenomenally brined roasted turkey as it is roasting! Your holiday dinner guests will think you are a rock star chef. Yeah.

Next, it is time to enclose Tom Turkey and get him in the fridge. First, we have to expel as much air as possible whilst closing the zip-top brining bag. This is where two (2) sets of hands come in especially handy. Gather and twist tightly the top of the bag. Important: If the brine needs more liquid to cover entire turkey, add enough of the remaining ¼ gallon (4 cups) each of the chilled cider and water in equal parts to brining bag before securing closed.

Once you have gathered and twisted the top of the brining bag, it is time to tightly clip it closed. This is important so that the brining liquid surrounds the turkey entirely. We do not use the small bag clips that come with the brining bags. Instead, we use a heavy duty clip. As mentioned in the recipe under special equipment, we like to use a Firm Grip® clip from Home Depot. But, you could use a strong cotton butcher’s twine as well.

Voila! You have now successfully brined your turkey for the upcoming holiday. Pat yourself on the back. Swell job!

 

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I had never brined a turkey before and I found this recipe and it was fantastic, it kept the meat tender and just a hint of all those lovely flavours really came into their own when serving the cold leftovers – YUM. I will definitely do this again. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jules! I’m so glad you enjoyed using our turkey brine and that your turkey turned out tender, juicy and tasty. I appreciate that you took the time to drop by providing positive feedback for me and my readers. Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Holiday Season and New Year!

  2. perla jaurez says:

    I really want to try this brine this year in the paragraph there is mentioned of Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey to try with the brine. do you have the recipe that i can print. I have been looking all over the internet with no luck. thanks

    • Hi there, Perla! The recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey is one that I am currently finishing work on. I have been out sick for the past several months but hope to return to blogging soon. (Right now, I am aiming for next week. Hopefully, the Monday before Thanksgiving.) I wish the recipe could have been posted sooner for you! If you would like, I can send you an email with a link to the recipe when the post goes live. Once again, thank you for writing. Meanwhile, I wish you and yours a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day!

      • Stacy…this sounds divine! I am going to try it, could you send me the glaze too. I would appreciate it very much, and thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

        danamsmith57@suddenlink.net

        • Hi there, Dana! Thank you for writing and for the compliments. My pleasure in sharing this fabulous Thanksgiving recipe with you. You’re gonna love it!

          OK, here is my recipe for Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze (enough for a 16- to 18-pound turkey): 1 cup tangerine marmalade (I like to use Stonewall Kitchen brand), 1 cup Grand Marnier® (orange brandy) or your favorite brandy or Cognac, 5 tablespoons fresh apple cider, 2 tablespoons raw organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg® brand, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (if you use regular table salt only use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon or it will be too salty) and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.

          In a small saucepan, combine marmalade, brandy, apple cider, cider vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until thickened to syrup consistency and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside to cool completely before using.

          To use the glaze when roasting turkey, simply brush half of the glaze (3/4 cup) over the uncovered turkey (remove any foil first) just before the last hour to hour and a half of roasting time (by weight of your turkey). Once your turkey has finished roasting, and the juices run clear, remove from oven. Immediately, brush the remaining glaze (3/4 cup) over turkey. Allow the turkey to rest before carving and serving.

          Here is a look at the ingredients and this is what your Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze will look like. Here is a sneak peek of what my Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey looks like.

          Meanwhile, I hope to get this recipe published here on the blog sometime on Monday. At least you now have the recipe and know what ingredients to shop for. Enjoy!

          Once again, thank you for writing. And, thank you kindly for the warm Thanksgiving wishes. Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day celebration! 🙂

          • Hello Stacy,

            Can you please email me with the recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-glazed roasted turkey? I used your brine recipe before and I got many happy family members. I would love to try your recipe.

            jonesmassagehealth@yahoo.com

          • Hi there, Tawana! Yes…as soon as I finish the final touches and proofing of the recipe (it is comprehensive with several recipe components and options), I will be only happy to email it to you and others who have requested it. I am currently working on it now, but worlds are colliding with my own holiday preparations and my return to blogging after being ill over the past several months. Thank you for your interest as well as your patience and understanding! 🙂

          • Looking forward to the glaze recipe!

          • Hi there, Jenette! Here is my recipe for Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze (enough for a 16- to 20-pound turkey): 1 cup tangerine marmalade (I like to use Stonewall Kitchen brand), 1 cup Grand Marnier® (orange brandy) or your favorite brandy or Cognac, 5 tablespoons fresh apple cider, 2 tablespoons raw organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg® brand, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (if you use regular table salt only use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon or it will be too salty) and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.

            In a small saucepan, combine marmalade, brandy, apple cider, cider vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until thickened to syrup consistency and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside to cool completely before using.

            To use the glaze when roasting turkey, simply brush half of the glaze (3/4 cup) over the uncovered turkey (remove any foil, first) just before the last hour to hour and a half of roasting time (by weight of your turkey). Once your turkey has finished roasting, and the juices run clear, remove from oven. Immediately, brush the remaining glaze (3/4 cup) over turkey. Allow the turkey to rest before carving and serving.

            Here is a look at the ingredients and this is what your Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze will look like. Here is a sneak peek of what my Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey looks like.

            Meanwhile, I hope to get the full turkey recipe published here on the blog next week (for Christmas) but will be emailing it to those who requested it. (Worlds are colliding with my own holiday preparations as well as returning to blogging after my illness the past several months.) At least you now have the recipe and know what ingredients to shop for. 🙂

            Once again, thank you for writing. Best wishes to you and your family for a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving!

  3. Does it matter what recipe you use to cook turkey after brining it? Would the flavors interfere?

    • Hi there, Danielle! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, the flavors in this brine are pretty universal and will complement most roasted turkey recipes. Thanks again for stopping by and…Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  4. Hello, I can’t find your recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey. Do you have it posted? I would love to use it this year. Thanks!

    • Hi there, Tammy! The recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey is one that I am currently finishing work on. I have been out sick for the past several months but hope to return to blogging soon. (Right now, I am aiming for next week. Hopefully, the Monday before Thanksgiving.) I wish the recipe could have been posted sooner for you! If you would like, I can send you an email with a link to the recipe when the post goes live. Once again, thank you for writing. Meanwhile, I wish you and yours a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day! 🙂

  5. I’d love to try this, however, I’m not making a bird near this big this near. We are doing a very small Thanksgiving meal this year. I will only be making a 7 pound turkey breast (bone in/rib meat), but would still like to try this. How can I do this?

    • Hi there, Kristin! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, the best thing would be to cut our brine recipe exactly in half. The reason why you shouldn’t cut the recipe down further is because you definitely want to make sure you have enough brine to cover the entire turkey breast. If you have any leftover brine, you can simply discard it. If you fall just a tad short, just add a little more cold water or chilled apple cider to cover the turkey breast. It is always best to be safe than sorry. 🙂 I did a quick search for you and the fine folks at Weber have shared a recipe for brining turkey breast here for a 5- to 6-pound turkey breast which is very close to your turkey breast’s weight. You will notice (just as I readily did) that their 2/3 cup of kosher salt called for in their recipe is pretty close to half the amount of 1 1/4 cups kosher salt called for in our brine recipe which would be just under 2/3 cup. You will also notice that much of the water liquid called for in the Weber recipe is made up of ice cubes (which will melt) versus water and cider in our recipe. I am confident your turkey breast will turn out lovely — juicy, tender and flavorful! Thanks again for writing, Kristin. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, best wishes to you and your family for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day and holiday weekend!

  6. I love the recipe and I am trying it today. However I am curious why you add the onions, after the brine is removed from the heat.

    • Hi there, Tamar! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, most turkey brine recipes do not cook the onion in the brine. Doing so could make it too overpowering for the turkey. I prefer letting the onion flavor gently steep in. If I am not stuffing the turkey, I like to include sliced onion wedges inside the body cavity of the turkey along with sliced apple wedges and/or lemon, orange or tangerine wedges, a cinnamon stick and fresh herbs as aromatics along with a splash of apple cider. The scent is divine during roasting. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy the recipe. It is a family favorite. Happy brining and…best wishes for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

  7. Hello, We have just used your recipe today to start brining our bird. The smell is fantastic! I can not wait! Quick question, do you rinse the bird after the brining process? I know you need to in a salt brine, but this one? Thank you so much, I can not wait to eat this turkey!!!

    • Hi there, Tricia! Thanks for writing with such a great question. In my repost of this recipe, Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices, which includes several turkey brining tips in the article, I state the following, “If desired, to prevent an overly salty turkey, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water after removing from the brining solution. Then, pat dry with paper towels inside and out. At this point, the turkey can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. We like to prepare our turkey the night before roasting by buttering and seasoning it, placing it in the roasting pan and then leaving it uncovered for crispy, darker skin. Then, the next morning, we remove the turkey and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature before stuffing and roasting.” So, it is a personal preference thing whether to rinse after brining. 🙂 Thanks again for writing, Tricia. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Your Thanksgiving turkey will be fabulous! Meanwhile, best wishes to you and your family for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

  8. wow !!! what a fantastic recipe this sounds !! I can imagine the smells already and cannot wait to try out this recipe. Just one small question. Can the brine be used after the turkey is taken out for soups or gravy or anything similar ?
    Have a happy holiday !!

    • Hi there, Helen! Thank you for writing with your very important question. The answer is…NO. NOT EVER! Never ever re-use the brine after brining a turkey or any other poultry or meat. It must be discarded as mentioned in the recipe for food safety reasons. Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, best wishes to you and yours for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

  9. I am brining as we speak. Very excited, smells great. Can I get the herbed butter compound recipe from you? Also do you baste your turkey during baking process and if so what do you choose to use?
    Thank you!!
    Tracie

    • Hi there, Tracie! Thank you for writing. Absolutely. I will send you the special advance copy of my recipe for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey which includes several component recipes to include the recipe for Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter, Apple Cider, Brandy and Tangerine Glaze and Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy. To answer your question…I do baste my turkey during roasting. For the first 25 to 30 minutes, the turkey is roasted at a high temp. Then, after 1 hour of roasting at the lowered temp, I begin basting every 30 minutes. The directions for basting are included in the 14-page PDF document that I will email you. 🙂 Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Best wishes for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving!

  10. Confused Beginner says:

    This is my first time EVER roasting a turkey and this looks delicious but I am really confused. What temp do I roast it at and for how long? Thanks for your answers.

    • Hi there, Confused Beginner! 😉 Thank you for writing and reaching out for help. Don’t worry…your Thanksgiving turkey will be fabulous…moist, tender and juicy! I am going to email you the special advance copy of my recipe for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey. It will have roasting directions in it for turkeys weighing 16 to 20 pounds and there are plenty of tips included, too. If your turkey weighs less, and you are not sure as to how long to roast it, let me know and I will point you in the right direction. I hope you have an instant read thermometer because it really is the best way to gauge doneness. Everything you need to know such as oven temperature, how long to roast, how often to baste and how to test for doneness will be in the recipe PDF document. So, check your email inbox. 🙂 Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have addressed all of your concerns. Meanwhile, best wishes to you and yours for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

      • Hi there! I am also another Confused Beginner! 🙁 I just got married in July and we are having Thanksgiving at our home for both families. It’s barely October and I’m under a lot of pressure. I came across you on Pinterest and would love for you to share your wonderful recipe in PDF format with me! Please help! Blessings 🙂

        • Hi there, Sandra! Best wishes to you and your husband with your new life together. Cooking together in the kitchen is one excellent way to stay close and enhance the bond you already share with your spouse. 🙂 (Trust me, from experience!) Of course. I will gladly send you the recipes in PDF format to your email address. Good luck to you in preparing your first Thanksgiving feast! My best advise is to do some “test runs” with the recipes you wish to prepare for the holiday—well in advance—and make notes. Also, note the time you place your turkey in the brine as well as when you start roasting and basting it. This way, on the holiday when everyone congregates in the kitchen and if timers get accidentally messed up, you can always recover. I am here for any questions you may have. Wishing you a wonderful and stress-free first Thanksgiving Day holiday as the Head Chef for your family! 🙂

  11. I’m just finishing brining my turkey. I would like to make the brandy & tangerine glazed turkey receipt.

    • Hi there, Larisa! Thank you for writing. Sure thing. I will send you the special advance copy of my recipe for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey which includes several component recipes to include the recipe for Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter, Apple Cider, Brandy and Tangerine Glaze and Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy. Once again, thank you for writing. Best wishes for a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving!

  12. Please send me the tangerine and brandy recipe

    • Hi Joann! Thank you for writing. Absolutely. I will send you the special advance copy of my recipe for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey. Once again, thank you for writing. Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Amazing! Best turkey ever! I. Was a little unsure at first as it didn’t smell the best, but the. Turkey had an amazing taste, and very moist! Thank you!

  14. Stacy,
    We absolutely love the brine in the glaze thank you so much for sharing.
    ~Jenette

  15. Hi Stacy, I just found your post while perusing for what my husband and I are going to whip up for Thanksgiving. I did my first brine last year, and this year I’m desiring to take my brine up a notch. This recipe looks amazing! I have most of these spices, but just the thought of shopping for these ingredients already puts me in the Thanksgiving spirit. I will let you know how it goes– I’m thrilled to see the outcome.

    Love from New Jersey,
    Michele Romero xoxo

    • Thank you, Michele! This brine recipe, Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs, is truly divine and I hope you and yours will love it! It’s so much fun to make as well, especially with your husband. It takes marital bonding in the kitchen to a whole new level. 🙂 Meanwhile, here is a link to the same recipe (a re-post) but with extra helpful tips in my article, “General Brining Tips for a Tender & Juicy Bird“: Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices. Definitely let me know how it goes. Wishing you and yours a wicked fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day and holiday weekend! Love from Indy, Stacy xoxo

  16. what is next, how do we cook it? thank you!

    • Hi there, Simona!

      Thank you for writing with such an excellent and important question. I will definitely update this page with ALL of Wicked Good Kitchen’s Thanksgiving recipes found in our Thanksgiving Recipe Collection since several have been recently added.

      To answer your question, after brining, rinsing and patting your turkey dry with paper toweling, you just simply follow directions in your favorite turkey roasting recipe according to the turkey’s weight.

      If you would like to make our recipe, for Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey, just follow the link for the recipe. The recipe for the glaze is divine! So easy, too.

      Also, here is the updated article, recipe and tutorial post for Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices for the brining recipe where I provide plenty of extra tips within the article called “General Brining Tips for a Tender & Juicy Bird.” This just expands upon the recipe post, here, with added helpful information.

      The Brandy and Tangerine Glazed Roasted Turkey recipe includes several component recipes for an especially flavorful and juicy holiday turkey as well as includes the brining process and picks up where that recipe leaves off.

      Here is a list of the component recipes:

      Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter
      Roasting Pan Juices
      Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics
      Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze
      Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy

      Here are some links to the latest and phenomenal Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday recipes added to the blog that I hope you will try:

      Brandied Apple and Orange Cranberry Sauce
      Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque
      Cider, Brandy and Tangerine Glaze
      Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream

      The BEST part of the Brandy and Tangerine Glazed Roasted Turkey recipe is that the turkey is all prepped the night before to minimize kitchen stress the day of the holiday. Simply remove the turkey in its pre-prepped roasting pan from the fridge on Thanksgiving morning and set it out at room temperature 1 hour before roasting. All the hard work is done a couple days in advance… starting with the brining and then prepping the turkey and roasting pan the night before. Isn’t that fabulous?

      Simona, I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Also, I hope that you will try my Brandy and Tangerine Glazed Roasted Turkey recipe this Thanksgiving for your holiday feast. Everyone will love it!

      Thanks again for writing and I hope your Thanksgiving holiday will be stress-free in the kitchen. 🙂

      Wishing you and yours a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

      ~Stacy

  17. Destine Nelson says:

    This sounds great, can you tell me, if the apple cider leaves any kind of taste on the turkey? Also, my hubby and son hate onions, would leaving them out make a huge difference in the taste. Thank you.

    • Hi there, Destine! Thank you for writing with such great questions. The apple cider, as well as the onions, provide mild flavors to the turkey being slightly sweet and savory. The most pronounced flavor, at least from what our family can taste, comes from the citrus and spices. As for the salt, it provides for tenderness and the turkey does not taste too salty, like ham tastes. In fact, if a brine calls for too much salt, roasted turkeys that were brined in such solutions can taste too “hammy”. That’s actually a word professional chef’s use to describe an overly salted brine for poultry. Our brine uses just enough salt, and not too much. I hope that I have answered your questions thoroughly and completely. I just know that your husband and son will enjoy this recipe, for tenderness and juiciness, for your family’s holiday roasted turkey! Thanks again for writing and warmest wishes to you and your family for a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day holiday! 🙂 ~Stacy

  18. Could I do this without salt? I realize that’s not a brine, but I am mostly interested in flavor. My mom needs as little sodium as possible. Our turkey is pastured, from a local farm, so I’m wondering if it would be tender enough without the salt.

    • Hi there, Audrey! Thank you for writing with such a good question and I hope that I can answer it well for you. What I think you are looking for is a marinade versus a brine. Marinades classically are made with an oil and acidic ingredients to tenderize such as fresh squeezed lemon juice and a variety of vinegars or soy sauce. Often, water is added. To these ingredients, minced fresh garlic and onions may be added (or dry) as well as fresh chopped herbs and spices. Honestly, I do not see why you couldn’t use this brine recipe as a base for your marinade. Depending on the size and weight of your turkey, you will need anywhere between 2 to 4 cups of marinade and the duration for marinading a turkey can range between 8 to 24 hours. Therefore, if you do use this recipe as a base for your marinade, simply cut it down for your needs and then be sure to add some good extra virgin olive oil to it. Do some research online to find some recipes you like and go from there as to how much to make and how long to soak the turkey in the marinade. Thanks for writing, Audrey. Good luck with your turkey marinade and have a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day holiday!

  19. Can you stuff the turkey after brining? Do you have a stuffing recipe you recommend? Can’t wait to try brining this year! 🙂

    • Hi there, Katherine! Thank you for writing with such a great question. Yes, you may stuff the turkey after brining, rinsing and patting the turkey dry. This is how we do it at our house. 🙂 Meanwhile, here is a link to the same recipe (a re-post) but with extra helpful tips in my article, “General Brining Tips for a Tender & Juicy Bird“: Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices. Yes, I do have a stuffing recipe for you! It is a very popular one here on the blog as well as over at Allrecipes.com. Here’s the link: Five-Star Apple Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing. The article, 10 Tips for Making Stuffing or Dressing for Thanksgiving, is included in this post. Have fun and good luck with brining, stuffing and roasting your turkey. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day holiday!

  20. Hi there. Question- recipe calls for Apple Cider- Walmart only had Apple Cider Vinegar. Just want to make sure I’m using the right one. Please help. This is my 1st time brining a turkey.

    • Hi there, Diana! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, apple cider is called for in this recipe for a reason and I cannot recommend any substitute ingredients. DO NOT substitute with apple cider vinegar as vinegars are very sour. Most grocery stores are stocked with fresh pressed apple cider, chilled in the produce section, this time of year. Nationwide grocery store chains, such as Kroger, should have it in stock. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this turkey brine recipe. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day holiday!

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I am glad I asked. I will be going to Kroger TODAY! 🙂 I also forgot to mention that I had no choice but to purchase a frozen turkey. Do I need to modify the recipe since frozen turkeys are injected with sodium. Thank you.

        • Hi again, Diana!

          My pleasure. I am glad you have a Kroger near you for the apple cider. 🙂 Thank you for writing with such a good question concerning your frozen pre-injected turkey and I hope that I can answer it well for you.

          Honestly, I do not recommend brining for a pre-injected turkey. As I recommended to Melissa (above, in the comments section), what I think would work for you in this case is a marinade versus a brine which is something you may not have considered. Those who recommend not brining, in this case, know what they are talking about because the turkey will taste “hammy” with all that added salt. (Yes, “hammy” is a word that chefs often use to describe turkeys that are too salty!)

          What I recommend for you in this case, especially if you are a confident cook, is a marinade versus a brine where you can control the salt but concentrate on flavors. Marinades classically are made with an oil and acidic ingredients to tenderize such as fresh squeezed lemon juice and a variety of vinegars or soy sauce. Often, water is added. To these ingredients, minced fresh garlic and onions may be added (or dry) as well as fresh chopped herbs and spices for flavor.

          As I shared with Melissa, I do not see why you couldn’t use this brine recipe as a base for your marinade if you like all the flavors. Depending on the size and weight of your turkey, you will need anywhere between 2 to 4 cups of marinade and the duration for marinading a turkey can range between 8 to 24 hours. Therefore, if you do use this recipe as a base for your marinade, simply cut it down for your needs and then be sure to add some good extra virgin olive oil to it. Do some research online to find some recipes you like and go from there as to how much to make and how long to soak the turkey in the marinade based on the weight of your bird.

          Here is a great place to start at About.com with the article, Top 12 Turkey Marinade Recipes.

          Thanks for writing again, Diana. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. 🙂

          Good luck with your turkey marinade and roasting. I just know your turkey will turn out fabulous! Just remember to thaw your frozen turkey in the fridge as directed for its weight. You just might need to start TODAY, again based on the weight, so it will thaw safely and in time for the holiday.

          Once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

          ~Stacy

  21. I can’t find the juniper berries. I live in a small town and Kroger’s is the only store. I don’t have the opportunity to go into the city to look. I have everything else. Any ideas?

    • Hi there, Marjorie! Thank you for writing with such a great question. I am so sorry you cannot find juniper berries in your area. They can be hard to come by. Major grocery stores should really carry them at least as a seasonal offering. Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do. You can add more fresh rosemary by mincing it first to release the flavor. Also, a splash of inexpensive gin will work. Here is a link to an eHow article with suggestions for substituting juniper berries: Cooking Substitute for Juniper Berry. Cardamom pods are an excellent choice, but you would probably have a hard time finding them as well. I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks again for dropping by and good luck with your brine. Wishing you and yours a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day! P.S. There is always Amazon.com: Whole Juniper Berries. Check their shipping times and rates for expedited delivery. If you need to order other items, it may be worth it as this item is an “add on” item without extra shipping costs. Once again, good luck! 🙂

  22. Hi. Trying your brine recipe. Unlike others, it does not mention rinsing the brine from the turkey before roasting. Is this correct?

    • Hi there! Thank you for writing with such a great question and for bringing this oversight of mine to my attention. I reposted this recipe to include an article with plenty of helpful brining tips here: Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices. In this article, I state, “If desired, to prevent an overly salty turkey, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water after removing from the brining solution. Then, pat dry with paper towels inside and out.” It’s a personal preference thing. However, I forgot to go back to the original post and make the change there in the recipe. Once again, thank you for bringing this to my attention. 🙂 Meanwhile, I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. Hi there!
    My brine is done…smells so great!
    However, my turkey is taking longer than expected to thaw. Can I brine a partially thawed turkey?

    • Hi there, Erica!

      Thank you for writing with such a good question and I apologize for not answering sooner. My blog was down for maintenance with my hosting company to fix a problem.

      To answer your question, a thawed or fresh turkey is best for brining because you want the brine solution to be drawn in through a process called osmosis. This is where the salt and acidic liquids, like the apple cider and fresh citrus juices, tenderize and the added flavorings, like herbs and spices, in addition to those liquids, are drawn in and flavor the meat. Of course, the opposite happens when the turkey is thawing. There is some debate on the issue of brining a partially frozen turkey and opinions vary. I would say that a mostly thawed turkey is OK in a pinch because the brine would assist with the thawing and once equilibrium is reached, temperature-wise, the brining process via osmosis would begin. Keep in mind that a safe temperature of below 40 degrees F. should be maintained at all times during the entire brining process.

      Fortunately, there is a quick-thaw method for turkeys that is flawless and, most importantly, safe. I highly recommend Chef Anne Burrell’s method: Speedy Turkey Defrosting. This method is tried and true and works every time. Do this method before brining overnight. However, make sure that you change out the cold water every 20 to 30 minutes (20 is best) to be safe. Remember, a turkey needs to be kept under 40 degrees F. to be safely thawed and brined. If you can only brine for 18 hours versus 24, you are still doing just fine and your brined, roasted turkey will turn out fabulous and juicy.

      Thanks again for writing Erica. You sent in such a great question! 🙂 I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely.

      Wishing you and yours a fun and meaningful Thanksgiving Day holiday!

      ~Stacy

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me. One more question…. Do I have to take the turkey out of the brine the night before or can I do it the day of? We are not eating until late afternoon.

        • Hi again, Erica! Yes, of course. You can remove the turkey from the brine the day of. There are directions included in this recipe for preparing the turkey night before as a time-saving measure. It is just an option. Also, it is personal preference if you wish to rinse the turkey inside and out, after brining, and patting it dry. Generally, rinsing helps prevent an overly salty turkey. However, our recipe for Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs only uses enough salt to ensure a juicy turkey and has much less than other recipes. Since your turkey was brined, keep in mind that your turkey drippings will be a little more salty than otherwise. So go easy on the salt and do it by tasting to make sure your gravy isn’t too salty. I hope this information is helpful! 🙂 Once again… Happy Thanksgiving!

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