The perfect citrus-glazed roasted holiday turkey for Christmas! Starting with our popular recipe for Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices, a flavorful, tender and juicy bird is all but ensured. Everyone who has tried this recipe, with the phenomenal flavor profile due to the unique brandy-infused tangerine glaze, proclaims it the very best they have had. Do yourself a favor and try our recipe this holiday season. You will receive rave reviews and it will become a new family Christmas tradition!
A New Holiday Classic:
Christmas Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Turkey
To brine, or not to brine? To stuff, or not to stuff? These are important holiday entertaining questions to ponder—especially when considering many roasted turkey recipes to prepare in hopes of one becoming a new family favorite. But, do not worry your head over such matters. Our recipe is flexible enough to accommodate the most discerning of turkey purists.
Whether you enjoy going all-out “gourmet” by rubbing your bird down with a flavorful homemade compound butter, or prefer to keep things simple with plain ol’ butter, this recipe is for you.
Prefer to prep as much as possible in advance? Our make-ahead tips and handy roasting times will guide you along the way for a stress-free holiday in the kitchen and successful Christmas feast. In fact, after brining, preparing for roasting begins the night before—thus, making roasting day a snap.
Looking for ways to infuse incredible depths of flavor into your holiday feast? Search no more. Wicked Good Kitchen has you covered!
Searching for an amazing homemade brine recipe from scratch or will a highly recommended fine-quality prepared brine mix help in a time crunch? Planning on making your own giblet stock to make gravy from scratch or will prepared stock do? Need to double the gravy recipe to make enough to serve a crowd? Need to make said gravy gluten-free? In need of a wicked gluten-free stuffing recipe as well? No worries!
Longing for the “crowning touch” of a gorgeous and luscious citrus finishing glaze along with striking garnishing ideas to make your roasted bird the sparkling gem on your holiday table? No matter your preferences, you will love our Christmas Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Turkey recipe to serve on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving.
A new classic has arrived and the recipe is entirely customizable. What’s not to love?
What makes our Christmas Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Turkey wicked good?
Our Christmas Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Turkey recipe provides plenty of options for roasting a 16- to 20-pound fresh turkey making it incredibly flexible and sure to please family and friends. We recommend our exceptional Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs & Spices to brine your fresh turkey. Along with our brine, for an especially flavorful and juicy turkey, our Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter provides a major flavor boost while ensuring moisture during roasting.
We also recommend our marvelous Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock recipe to make your own stock from scratch as well as our Golden Pan Gravy to make impressive pan gravy from scratch. And, of course, we recommend our extraordinary 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing for the most sublime stuffing ever!
Your Christmas holiday dinner guests will rave and be asking for seconds. Now that’s wicked good, indeed.
Best wishes to you, your family and friends for a meaningful and joyous Christmas season!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
A new classic. Our tried and true recipe, along with our popular Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs & Spices and 5-Star Sausage Apple & Cranberry Stuffing, creates the most flavorful, tender and juicy turkey with the most sublime citrus glaze made in a snap. Complete with tips, quick & easy customizable options, gluten-free options and detailed photos. The bird is prepped the night before to make roasting day a cinch. Ideal for beginners as well as experienced cooks. It’s the perfect roast turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!
- For the Turkey
- 1 (16- to 20-pound) fresh turkey, with neck & giblets reserved for stock
- For the Brine
- Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs & Spices, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen™
- (Apple & Spices Turkey Brine by Williams-Sonoma can be substituted. Refer to product label for required additional ingredients and directions for preparation.)
- For the Stock
- Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen™
- (4 cups homemade or prepared turkey or chicken stock can be substituted.)
- For the Stuffing
- 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen™
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for turkey body and neck cavities
- (See Notes section below recipe for gluten free option. Omit the stuffing if roasting the turkey with the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics.)
- For the Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh tangerine juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh tangerine zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- (For simple preparation before roasting, you can use 1½ cups unsalted butter with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in lieu of the Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter.)
- For the Roasting Pan Juices
- 4 large carrots, peeled
- 3 large celery stalks with leafy tops
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cup white wine
- For the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics
- 2 tangerines, quartered with rind intact
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges with skin intact
- 1 3” to 4” cinnamon stick
- 1 cup apple cider
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 to 6 sprigs fresh sage
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for turkey body and neck cavities
- (Omit the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics if roasting the turkey with 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing.)
- For the Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze
- 1 cup tangerine marmalade, such as Stonewall Kitchen
- 1 cup Grand Marnier® (orange brandy), brandy or Cognac
- 5 tablespoons apple cider
- 2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg®
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ to ¾ teaspoon regular table salt)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- (Orange marmalade can be substituted for tangerine marmalade.)
- For the Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy
- Reserved roasting pan juices (turkey drippings)
- Reserved 3 cups (720 ml) Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen™, or your favorite homemade or prepared turkey or chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons (30 grams) all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®
- 1 tablespoon (18 grams) Chicken Demi-Glace by Williams-Sonoma
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- (1 teaspoon browning and seasoning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet®, can be substituted for the Chicken Demi-Glace by Williams-Sonoma. See Notes section below recipe for gluten-free option.)
- Optional Garnishes for Turkey Platter
- Navel oranges, sliced
- Pomegranate, split
- Fresh whole cranberries
- Fresh sprigs of rosemary
- Fresh sprigs of thyme
- Fresh sage leaves
- Special Equipment & Supplies
- Large shallow roasting pan with rack, helpful
- 100% cotton butcher’s twine for trussing turkey
- Turkey baster
- Instant read meat thermometer
- Fat separating cup, helpful
- Fine mesh sieve, optional
- Gravy boat with ladle
- (See each individual component recipe for additional supplies needed.)
- Prepare the Brine: If brining your turkey, follow recipe for Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs & Spices 3 to 4 days prior to roasting turkey. The turkey should be brined for at least 18 hours and up to 2 days.
- Prepare the Stock: If making homemade stock, follow recipe for Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock and prepare it while the turkey is brining. Alternatively, 4 cups of your favorite prepared or homemade turkey or chicken stock may be used. Reserve 3 cups stock for deglazing roasting pan and preparing gravy. Reserve ¾ to 1 cup for stuffing recipe.
- Prepare the Stuffing: If stuffing your turkey, follow recipe for 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing. The croutons can be prepared the night before and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. The vegetable and meat sauté can be prepared the day before as well. Cook vegetables until tender and meat until thoroughly cooked (because the inside of a turkey does not get hot enough to cook them). Cool mixture to room temperature then refrigerate overnight in an airtight container.
- Remove vegetable and meat sauté from fridge 1 hour before mixing with croutons, herbs, fruits and liquids just prior to stuffing turkey. If not roasting the turkey with stuffing inside, fill the body cavity with Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics after preparing the bird for roasting with the Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter or butter, salt and pepper for a simple preparation.
- 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 with cold water and pat the bird thoroughly with paper towels to dry completely inside and out.
- Prepare the Herbed Tangerine Compound Butter: In a medium bowl, combine butter and olive oil. Add herbs, tangerine juice and zest. With a fork or wooden spoon, mash and fold butter and flavorings until combined. Season with salt and pepper; mix until smooth and well blended. Alternatively, 1½ cups unsalted butter, salt and pepper can be used for a simpler preparation before roasting.
- Working with hands, use fingers to carefully loosen the skin of the turkey breasts and legs. Work the compound butter or unsalted butter under the skin and then all over the top of the skin of the bird. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- If not filling the cavity with either the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics or stuffing the next morning, go ahead and truss the turkey with butcher’s twine and then fashion an attractive bow at center front. Trussing keeps the turkey compact for even roasting.
- If filling the cavity with either the aromatics or stuffing the next morning, tuck the wings under and provide a simple tie of butcher’s twine to keep the drumsticks in place overnight. Be sure that the tie can easily be cut or untied in the morning to gain access to the cavity for filling before trussing and roasting. Transfer turkey to rack and place inside roasting pan.
- If you do not have a rack, you can place the turkey on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan as described in preparing Roasting Pan Juices (below). Do not fill the roasting pan with cider and wine until the next morning before roasting.
- Refrigerate the Turkey Overnight: Leave turkey uncovered and refrigerate overnight. (Yes, no need to cover the turkey. This will slightly dry out the skin which will create a nicely browned crisp skin during roasting.) Make sure there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator for food safety reasons.
- Prepare the Turkey for Roasting: The next morning, remove turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature in roasting pan for 1 hour. If you prepared the stuffing components the day before, also remove the vegetable and meat sauté from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before combining with croutons, herbs, fruits and liquids. Important: The turkey and stuffing should be at the same temperature before stuffing the turkey just prior to roasting.
- Arrange oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, prepare the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics.
- Prepare the Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics: In a medium heatproof bowl, combine tangerines, onion and cinnamon stick. Pour apple cider over the top. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly and steep, about 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s body cavity; tuck in the fresh herb sprigs and leaves.
- If not filling the body cavity with Cider, Citrus & Herb Aromatics but with stuffing, pack the body cavity loosely with 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing as well as neck cavity after seasoning the cavities with salt and pepper. Fold neck skin under the body and fasten it with a small skewer—whether filling it with stuffing or not.
- After filling the cavity, truss the turkey with butcher’s twine and then fashion an attractive bow at center front. Trussing keeps the turkey compact for even roasting. If desired, just before roasting, wrap the tips of the wings with small pieces of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning or leave them tucked under. Transfer remaining stuffing to a buttered baking dish with lid; cover and refrigerate stuffing until ready to bake later after the turkey roasts.
- Prepare the Roasting Pan Juices: If you haven’t already done so, place the carrots, celery and onions into roasting pan and arrange turkey on top in rack. (Skip this step if you placed your turkey on top of the vegetables to use as a rack before refrigerating it overnight.) Using a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine the apple cider and wine. Pour into roasting pan with the vegetables.
- Roast the Turkey: Roast the turkey in preheated 425°F. oven until beautifully browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. and baste turkey with pan juices. Continue to roast turkey for 1 hour before basting every 30 minutes and carefully rotating roasting pan for even cooking for the remaining roasting time. See Notes section below the recipe for helpful guidelines and tips for turkey roasting times.
- While the turkey is roasting, prepare the Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze.
- Prepare the Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze: 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, stirring occasionally, until thickened to syrup consistency and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until well blended. Set aside to cool completely.
- To use the glaze when roasting turkey, simply brush half of the glaze (¾ 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, remove from oven. Immediately, brush the remaining glaze (¾ cup) over turkey. Allow the turkey to rest before carving and serving.
- After Turkey has Roasted: Discard the trussing (butcher’s twine) and, if used, the aromatics from body cavity. Transfer turkey to a heated platter or carving board reserving the pan juices in the roasting pan for gravy. Let turkey rest for 25 to 30 minutes before carving. If turkey was stuffed, spoon out stuffing into a serving dish. Meanwhile, bake the reserved stuffing uncovered in the 325°F. oven, basting it twice with some of the reserved pan juices until heated through, crisp and golden, about 15 to 30 minutes depending on reserved amount and size of turkey stuffed.
- Prepare the Golden Thanksgiving Pan Gravy: Discard the vegetables from roasting pan. Skim the fat from the roasting pan juices (turkey drippings) and reserve ¼ cup. (I like to use a fat separating cup for this.) Add 1 cup of the stock to the pan juices and deglaze the roasting pan over high heat, scraping up the brown bits and allowing the juices to come to a boil. Carefully transfer to a large glass heatproof measuring cup. (I like to use my 2- or 4-cup Pyrex® measuring cup for this.) Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add the ¼ cup reserved fat and heat until it starts to ripple. Whisk in the flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly until smooth and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups stock, deglazing liquid and Chicken Demi-Glace (or browning and seasoning sauce). Continue to whisk; season with salt and pepper. Simmer gravy for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, strain through a fine mesh sieve. Transfer to a warm gravy boat and serve immediately. Makes about 2 ½ cups gravy, about 10 ¼-cup servings. See Notes section below to double recipe to serve up to 20 servings and flour substitution to make gluten-free version.
For the Turkey
If brining your turkey, be sure to buy a “fresh turkey. Look for labels using the following terms: “all-natural”, “no additives”, “minimally processed”, etc. Turkeys that have been treated with a salt solution will have labels that read, “basted”, “self-basting”, “enhanced”, “injected”, or “kosher”. Pre-brined or kosher turkeys are not recommended for brining. The reason is because the turkeys have already been treated with salt. And, you certainly do NOT want an overly salty turkey!
If your turkey was not purchased fresh but was frozen, make sure it is fully thawed before stuffing. Thawing will require 3 to 5 days, depending on the size of your bird, so plan ahead. (The general rule is that it takes 1 day per every 4 pounds to thaw.) Safely thaw in the refrigerator breast side up in unopened package on a large tray. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
Be sure to take note of your turkey’s weight before discarding the packaging. This will help you determine roasting time. Although knowing the turkey’s weight and using roasting charts as a guide for roasting times, an instant read meat thermometer is an indispensible kitchen tool and the best way to gauge doneness.
A good rule of thumb for roasting times for turkey is about 12 minutes per pound for unstuffed and 15 minutes per pound for stuffed in a 325°F. oven. Don’t forget to subtract about ½ hour from the total roasting time to account for the initial 25 to 30 minutes roasted at 425°F.
For your convenience, here are some guidelines for roasting times:
For 16- to 18-pound unstuffed turkey (only with aromatics in body cavity), roast in 325°F. oven until meat thermometer reaches 165°F., about 3½ to 4 hours additional following initial roasting time of 25 to 30 minutes at 425°F.
For 18- to 20-pound unstuffed turkey (only with aromatics in body cavity), roast in 325°F. oven until meat thermometer reaches 165°F., about 4 to 4½ hours additional following initial roasting time of 25 to 30 minutes at 425°F.
For 16- to 18-pound stuffed turkey, roast in 325°F. oven until meat thermometer reaches 165°F., about 4 hours additional following initial roasting time of 25 to 30 minutes at 425°F.
For 18- to 20-pound stuffed turkey, roast in 325°F. oven until meat thermometer reaches 165°F., about 4½ to 5 hours additional following initial roasting time of 25 to 30 minutes at 425°F.
To prevent overcooking, when the turkey is about two-thirds done, loosely cover or “tent” breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of foil. Turkey is done when temperature with a meat thermometer registers 170°F. in the thigh (without touching bone) and 165°F. in the breast or stuffing.
Never leave a roasted turkey with stuffing stand at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Always wrap leftovers securely and refrigerate. Turkey (if removed from the bone) and stuffing leftovers will keep refrigerated up to 2 to 3 days.
For the Brine
The brine can be prepared 1 day in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to submerge turkey.
Important: Prep, cook and total time do not include the idle steeping (resting and cooling) time for the brine. Allow a couple hours more to make the brine. The brining or soaking time for the turkey is at least 18 hours and up to 2 days. However, the general rule is to brine 1 hour per pound under 40 degrees F.
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.
For the Stock
The stock may be made 2 days in advance. Cool completely, uncovered. Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
To learn more about making homemade turkey giblet stock, please see our Turkey Giblet Stock 101 tutorial, below the recipe, complete with step-by-step photos and instructions as well as our accompanying article for 10 Tips for Making Turkey Giblet Stock & Recipe for Day-After Turkey Stock.
For the Stuffing
Always stuff your turkey just before roasting it to prevent bacterial contamination. For this important food safety reason, never stuff your turkey several hours in advance. Always stuff the body and neck cavities of your turkey loosely with stuffing. Never firmly pack or overstuff it as the stuffing will expand as it bakes and while the turkey roasts. Also, if the stuffing is packed too tightly, it will not cook through properly.
Important: If baking stuffing inside the turkey, after roasting be sure that the temperature of the stuffing reaches at least 165ºF.
For Gluten Free Option: Consider the homemade gluten free bread recipe options with links below our recipe for 5-Star Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing to make gluten free croutons for stuffing. The options include Brioche or Challah Batter Bread, Golden Flax Seed Bread with Rosemary Sage & Thyme, Light & Airy Millet Sandwich Bread and White Cheddar & Herb Beer Bread.
To learn more about making turkey stuffing or dressing, please see our Turkey Stuffing 101 tutorial, below the recipe, complete with step-by-step photos and instructions as well as our accompanying article for 10 Tips for Making Stuffing or Dressing for Thanksgiving.
For the Glaze
The Apple Cider, Brandy & Tangerine Glaze can be prepared 1 day in advance. Cool completely, uncovered. Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
For the Gravy
Substitution: If desired, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) browning and seasoning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet®, can be substituted for the Chicken Demi-Glace by Williams-Sonoma.
Easy Double Recipe for Gravy: To easily double recipe, simply reserve ½ cup skimmed fat instead of ¼ cup from roasting pan juices (turkey drippings). If you don’t have enough fat for ½ cup, add enough melted butter to reach ½ cup of total fat. Use pan juices and the first cup of stock as directed in the first paragraph of the recipe. Increase flour from 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) to ½ cup and use as directed in the second paragraph of the recipe to make the roux. When adding stock to the roux, add 4 cups stock instead of 2 cups (for a total of 5 cups stock in the recipe) and 2 tablespoons of Chicken Demi-Glace instead of 1 tablespoon (or 2 teaspoons browning and seasoning sauce instead of 1 teaspoon). Use two (2) gravy boats for serving placing one at each end of the table. Makes about 5 cups; about 20 ¼-cup servings.
For Gluten Free Option: To make gluten-free gravy substitute 2 tablespoons (16 grams) arrowroot starch/flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill®, for the flour. Simply make a slurry by whisking the arrowroot with ¼ cup of the stock being added to the saucepan and skip the step of making the roux. Whisk the slurry into the saucepan with the stock and pan juices. Cook until gravy reaches a boil, whisking constantly, and thickens.
Recipe Adaptation: Method for preparing turkey for roasting with compound butter, or plain butter, the night before roasting from Chef Anne Burrell of FoodNetwork.com.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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