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Citrus-Scented Brined Turkey Recipe

Citrus-Scented Brined Turkey Recipe

Our home economists marinate this turkey to keep it deliciously moist while roasting.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + marinating Bake: 4 hours + standing YIELD:12-14 servings


  • 11 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 turkey (12 to 14 pounds)
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 1. Mince five garlic cloves; halve the remaining garlic cloves and set aside. In a large kettle, combine the apple juice, salt, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, bay leaves and minced garlic. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add cold water to cool the brine to room temperature.
  • 2. Remove giblets from turkey and discard. Place a turkey-size oven roasting bag inside a second roasting bag; add turkey. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bags and turn to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours, turning several times.
  • 3. Drain and discard brine. Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry. Place the lemon, orange, onion, thyme and reserved garlic in both cavities. Rub oil over skin. Skewer turkey openings; tie drumsticks together.
  • 4. Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 4 to 4-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 180° (cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly). Let stand for 15 minutes before removing contents from cavities and carving the turkey. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Recipe Note

Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested with Morton brand kosher salt. It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.

Reviews for Citrus-Scented Brined Turkey

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Reviewed Feb. 27, 2016

"This was a lot of work. It wasn't any better than cooking the turkey the regular way in a roasting pan basting it. I just don't think it was worth all the trouble and extra time it took to prepare."

kitchen designer
Reviewed Nov. 26, 2013

"This is a great recipe. Makes a very moist and tender turkey. Do not use the juices for your gravy tho. It's too salty. I usually simmer the neck and use the juices and meat from that for gravy."

Reviewed Nov. 20, 2013

"I have used this recipe for years since it came out in Taste of Home. I would never make my turkey a different way. It always turns out perfect, so very moist and tastes so good!"

Reviewed Nov. 19, 2012

"I have used this brine recipe since it came out several years ago! My family thinks it bakes the best, most moist turkey ever!"

Reviewed Nov. 23, 2009

"This has to be my favorite turkey ever! We have grilled our holiday turkeys for quite a few years now and last year we did this brine method but still grilled it. It is my favorite. I had to search for this recipe so we could have it again this year."

Reviewed Nov. 14, 2009

"For Thanksgiving 2008 I had the honor of hosting the family gathering at my house for the first time. I wanted a fantastic recipe, and this was worth every hour. The family buzzed about my turkey, and asked for it AGAIN this year. I have never been so proud to serve a recipe. Thank you."

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