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Cider-Brined Turkey Recipe

Cider-Brined Turkey Recipe

My family had been going through some rough times, and when we were finally able to get together for Thanksgiving one year, I made this turkey. It brings back such good memories of joyful family gatherings. —Nicole Keller, Waterford, Pennsylvania
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + marinating Bake: 3-1/2 hours + standing YIELD:18 servings


  • 1 gallon apple cider or juice
  • 1-3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bottles (12 ounces each) dark beer, chilled
  • 6 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, chilled
  • 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 turkey (18 to 20 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 1. In a stockpot, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add cold beer and broth to cool the brine to room temperature.
  • 2. Place one turkey-size oven roasting bag inside the other. Place turkey inside both bags; pour in cooled brine. Seal bags, pressing out as much air as possible; turn to coat turkey. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours, turning occasionally.
  • 3. Remove turkey from brine; rinse and pat dry. Discard brine. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • 4. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Yield: 18 servings.

Recipe Note

Editor’s Note: It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.

Reviews for Cider-Brined Turkey

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rebelwithoutaclue User ID: 4288906 255649
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2016

"The brine is 5 star. The cooking instructions will leave you with a dry bird. 180 degrees internal is WAY to long. 165 degrees internal is the new govt. standard that was revised in 2004. I usually remove my turkey/chicken out at 160 degrees internal and wrap it in bath towels and place it in a cooler for 20 min. The temp will rise to 165 degrees and the bird stays nice and hot and the juices have had time to distribute evenly."

sgronholz User ID: 1473861 195887
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2014

"This recipe is outstanding! Since I was roasting a 6 3/4 pound chicken instead of an 18 pound turkey, I only used 1/3 of the brine recipe. My family enjoys the flavor of herbs, so I did use the full amount that the recipe called for. (I didn't have juniper berries, so I substituted rosemary). The chicken was moist and flavorful and absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making this again."

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