Brined Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Jus

This moist, seasonal roast turkey will be the centerpiece of your holiday dinner.

This moist, seasonal roast turkey will be the centerpiece of your holiday dinner.


2 quarts plus 1 cup apple cider
1 cup kosher salt plus more
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
16 whole black peppercorns
8 whole star anise pods plus more for garnish
6 garlic cloves, smashed
6 scallions, white parts only, trimmed, split lengthwise
6 1/4”-thick slices unpeeled ginger
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup chestnut mushrooms
2 3-4-inch cinnamon sticks plus more for garnish
2 sprigs cilantro
1 12–14 lb. turkey
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into sixths
Melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (for basting)


Bring 2 quarts cider, 1 cup salt and the next 11 ingredients to a boil in a very large (16-qt.) pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 1/2 gallons cold water. Add turkey to brine and press down to submerge. (I’ve often put everything into a large
unscented plastic trash bag, tied it up and put the bag in a large bucket). Refrigerate overnight.

Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan. Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the remaining 1 cup of cider and 3 cups water in roasting pan. Scatter apples around. Brush turkey liberally with butter. Flip breast side down. Roast turkey, breast side down, basting occasionally, for 1 hour. Using paper towels, flip turkey over. Roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 1–1 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan, reserving apples. Simmer over medium heat until juices have thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve the cider jus alongside the turkey and apples, and garnish with extra apples, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks.

Where to find local ingredients to make this dish

Apple Cider
Carter Hill Orchard

Kearsarge Gore Farm

Kellie Brooke Farm

Gould Hill Farm

Applewood-Smoked Finish Salt
Salt Cellar

Chestnut Mushrooms
New Hampshire Mushroom Company

Contoocook Creamery

Find more of Sarah Kenney’s recipes and writing about New Hampshire in her food and travel blog, Thyme, at Plus, visit her portfolio for more photos at

Categories: Recipes