Cider Marinated Turkey Recipe
Cider Marinated Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Cider Marinated Turkey Recipe

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Make Thanksgiving dinner memorable by serving this golden-brown turkey from our Test Kitchen. Marinated in apple cider, kosher salt and spices, the turkey can be grilled or roasted.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + marinating Grill: 2 hours
MAKES:12 servings
Healthy Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + marinating Grill: 2 hours
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 8 cups apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 medium navel oranges, quartered
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 turkey (12 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, halved and quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Nutritional Facts

One serving (4 ounces light and dark cooked turkey skin removed calculated without gravy) equals 198 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 86 mg cholesterol, 244 mg sodium, trace carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 33 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat.


  1. In a large stockpot, combine the cider and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt is dissolved. Stir in oranges. Remove from the heat. Add water; cool to room temperature.
  2. Remove giblets from turkey; discard. Place a turkey-size oven roasting bag inside a second roasting bag; add turkey. Place in a roasting pan. Carefully pour cooled marinade into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 12-14 hours; turn several times.
  3. Drain and discard marinade. Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry. Place onion, carrots and sage in cavity. Rub oil over skin. Skewer turkey openings; tie drumsticks together.
  4. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place turkey over drip pan; grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 2 to 3 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180°, tenting turkey with foil after about 1 hour. Cover and let stand 20 minutes before carving.
  5. If desired, thicken pan juices for gravy. Remove and discard skin and vegetables in cavity before carving turkey. Serve with gravy. Yield: 12 servings plus leftovers.
Editor's Note: It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.
Originally published as Cider Marinated Turkey in Light & Tasty October/November 2003, p6

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

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Reviewed Nov. 19, 2011

"I baked this instead of grilling, came out so delicious and made the best gravy!"

Reviewed Nov. 23, 2010

"I am a vegetarian and had never cooked a turkey before Nov '08. I saw this recipe and thought to give it a try. Everyone who tried it raved how flavorful and moist it was. Several family members asked for the recipe. I will be making two turkeys for this year's family Thanksgiving gathering. Hopefully the turkey will have as good reviews as last time. This recipe is more complicated than just putting the turkey in the oven to roast. But the outcome is worth the time in grilling it. If you can't grill it the turkey will be fine if cooked in the oven."

Reviewed Nov. 3, 2010

"I make this every year for thanksgiving. It is easy and makes the turkey really moist."

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