Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine #Recipe

Turkey Brine

“Made With Love” indeed! This brine is filled with flavor and will make any turkey OH SO JUICY!! Every year I make it, my family and friends rave about its flavor and disbelief that a turkey could possibly be that juicy. Forget that dry turkey you make every year for Thanksgiving or even Christmas and use my brine recipe. You won’t be disappointed!

Turkey Brine Ingredients


  • LIQUIDS: (1 gal) Apple Cider, (1 gal) Water
  • VEGETABLES & FRUITS: (2) Shallots , (3) Oranges, (2) Lemons, (6) Garlic Cloves
  • SPICES & HERBS: Cloves, (1 Tbsp) Allspice Berries, (1 Tbsp) Juniper Berries, (8) Whole Star Anise Pods, (1-1/4c) Coarse Kosher Salt, (3 Tbsp) Black Peppercorns, (6) Whole Bay Leaves, (4) Sprigs of Fresh Sage, (4) Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary, (2) Cinnamon Sticks and (2c) Brown Sugar

You will also need a large stock pot, the turkey of course (16-20lbs), a bunch of ice and a 5 gallon bucket with top. Make sure the bucket is very clean and has never been used for anything other than food. I use the same bucket every year ONLY for my turkey brining.


  1. Add the salt, brown sugar, apple cider and water (refill the cider gallon container) to stockpot.
    **If you have a turkey bigger than 20 lbs, add more cider and water, just make sure it’s equal parts.
  2. Cut the shallots, oranges and lemons into wedges. Squeeze the fruit and add it all to mix.
    **I added some extra orange rinds cause I got hungry while prepping, haha.
  3. Smash the garlic and add to mix.
  4. Add all the spices and herbs to the mix.
    **I usually grind them up a little, just enough to release the flavors of the spices & herbs.
  5. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring the brine to a boil. Once it boils, take it off the burner and cover the pot with a top while it cools down to room temperature.
    **This will likely take a couple of hours so plan on doing this late afternoon/early evening or you’ll be up all night. If you make the brine a day in advance, keep in the fridge until you’re ready for the brining process. Your house will smell divine while it brews!!
  6. Once the brine has cooled down, get the 5 gallon bucket, some ice and your thawed and cleaned out turkey.
    **Make sure the brine has really cooled down, you don’t want to start cooking your turkey before you’re ready to cook it.
  7. Place the turkey into the bucket and add your brine brew.
    **The brine should completely cover the turkey. If it doesn’t add more apple cider/water (equal parts). Also, if your fridge is packed full or not big enough to hold the heavy filled bucket you can add lots of ice to keep the turkey cold and place it where it won’t get warm. In the late fall and winter I can usually get away with keeping it in the garage where it’s much cooler than inside the house. 
  8. Put the top back onto the bucket and let it sit overnight until you’re ready to prep the turkey for baking (or grilling).

Brining Turkey

When you’re ready for baking (or grilling), take the turkey out of the brine and rinse it well. Put it in your roasting pot and add your normal stuff to it.

I personally butter mine under the skin and then make a bacon vest to go over the turkey. For a 12-15lb turkey, I usually bake it at 500 degrees for the first 30 minutes then 350 degrees for the remaining 1.5hrs (every 30 minutes, baste the turkey and rotate the pan). Make sure you use a food thermometer when checking for readiness. You don’t want to eat an undercooked turkey.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply