Brine Recipe for Juicy Roast Turkey

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Apple Cider Citrus Turkey Brine Recipe cooking in a pot on the stove

This Brine Recipe has become our favourite way to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other reason we can think of. We hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do!


  • 6 litres of water
  • 1 large orange or 2 smaller (quartered)
  • 1 cup Himalayan sea salt (or ½ cup table salt)
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons white mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 onions (unpeeled and quartered)
  • 1 x 6 centimetres piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled and cut into 6 slices)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons runny honey
  • stalks from 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 x 5½ kilograms (or 12lb) turkey


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Brine & Turkey Instructions

  1. Roast Turkey closeup with cranberry sauce in the background; cooked using a brine recipePut the water into your largest cooking pot or a bucket or plastic bin. An orange home depot bucket has always worked well for us. Squeeze the juice from the orange quarters into the water before you chuck the husks in, then add all the other ingredients, stirring to combine the salt, sugar, syrup and runny honey.
  2. Remove any trussing (string) from the turkey, shake it free, remove the giblets (reserve for making the stock for the gravy), then add the bird to the liquid, topping up with more water if it is not completely submerged.
  3. Keep covered in a cold place, even outside overnight or for 24 hours before you cook it, remembering to take it out of its liquid (and wipe it dry with kitchen paper) 1-2 hours before it has to go into the oven. If keeping your bird-in-brine outside, cover well and protect with a piece of wood (to protect from any backyard night animals from getting into it!)
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF.
  5. Melt butter and maple syrup together slowly over a low heat. Paint the turkey with the glaze before roasting in the oven, and baste periodically throughout the cooking time.
  6. Roast for 2½ hours. When you think it’s ready, pierce the turkey with the point of a sharp knife where the body meets the leg, and if the juices run clear, it’s cooked; if still pink, cook it for longer until they run clear, or use a meat thermometer.
  7. Then take the turkey out of the oven, and let it sit, tented with foil, for 20 minutes or even longer if you like.

Important Notes

Cooking times may seem short if you are used to the “standard” turkeys. The listed here are for a free-range turkey – these tend to have more fat than a lean mass-produced bird and the marbling of fat in the free-range turkey tends to conduct the heat faster meaning that it cooks more quickly. It also assumes that the turkey has been allowed to come up to room temperature before cooking (take the turkey out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you want to cook it) and that the turkey has no stuffing and is not trussed.

If you are stuffing your turkey, then you must weigh the already-stuffed bird, and cook according to the table below.

Brining your turkey will keep the bird moist even after longer cooking times. If you are using this brine recipe, do cook your stuffing separately. Turkeys are recommended to be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF.
 Turkey cooking times – oven fully preheated to 200ºC/180°C Fan/400ºF


Weight of Bird : Cooking Time

3.5kg/8lb : 1 ¾ hours 4.5kg/10lb : 2 hours 5.5kg/12lb : 2 ½ hours 6.75kg/15lb : 2 ¾ hours 7.5kg/17lb : 3 hours 9kg/20lb : 3 ½ hours 11.5kg/25lb : 4 ½ hours


Looking for more delicious recipes to use for the holidays? Try out our Healthy Pumpkin Muffins.

Brine recipe adopted from

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