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Apple Cider Brined Turkey

Apple Cider Brined Turkey

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes + 36 hours inactive time
  • Total Time: 30 minutes + 36 hours inactive time
  • Yield: 1 18 to 20 pound brined turkey 1x


Apple Cider Brined Turkey will have subtle sweet apple flavor, robust herbs and hints of garlic laced in each juicy bite!


  • 18 to 20 pound turkey (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ gallon fresh apple cider
  • 3 quarts warm water
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ½ bunch fresh rosemary (about 10 sprigs)
  • ½ bunch sage leaves (about 10 large leaves)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, rough chop
  • 2 ribs celery
  • ½ head of garlic cut through equator or 10 smashed garlic cloves


  1. Remove turkey from packaging and remove the giblets and neck from the cavity.¹²
  2. Pat the skin dry and set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot, add salt, herbs, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Toast over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes just until fragrant.
  4. Carefully add 3 quarts of warm water.  Water may steam and bubble when first added to the hot pan.
  5. Stir continuously until salt dissolves.  Remove from heat immediately to allow to cool.
  6. Add 4 quarts of cold water, apple cider, onion, celery, and garlic.  Let cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Set brining bag in a large roasting pan with top open wide.  Add turkey, breast side down, and cover with the cooled brine.³
  8. Let sit for 24 to 48 hours in the brine.

To prepare for cooking:

Remove turkey from the brine.  Rinse thoroughly and pat completely dry.  For crispy skin, let sit over night unwrapped in the refrigerator.


¹The neck and giblets can be added to the bottom of the roasting pan during the cooking process if desired.  I usually discard them, but they can be used to add flavor and richness to the pan drippings.

²Don’t worry if your turkey isn’t fully thawed in the cavity, it will continue to thaw in the brine.  At least one day of thawing before brining should be sufficient to remove the insides.

³Pour slowly as the brine fills the bag in case the liquid attempts to spill out.  Easiest is to have a second pair of hands to hold the bag open.  If that’s not an option, you can add the brine in batches, repositioning the bag as needed.

  • Category: Dinner
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