Citrus-Rubbed Turkey with Cider Gravy

A citrus-salt rub the night before results in a succulent turkey; a sprinkle of paprika adds extra flavor and a deep, dark color.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
Citrus-Rubbed Turkey with Cider Gravy

Source: Everyday Food, November 2012


  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds), thawed if frozen, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup juice (from 4 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus 1 cup juice (from 2 oranges)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 2 carrots, cut into thirds
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 4 1/2 cups unbaked Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing
  • 1/4 cup paprika, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips underneath body and place on a roasting rack in a heavy-bottomed metal roasting pan. Combine thyme, lemon and orange zests, 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper; beginning with underside, sprinkle on turkey, including in large cavity. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours (or overnight).

  2. Let turkey sit at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove rack and turkey from pan, discard accumulated liquid, and add celery, carrots, onion, and 2 cups water to pan. Return rack and turkey to pan. Wipe any remaining rub from inside with a paper towel and loosely fill large and neck cavities with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and evenly sprinkle turkey with 2 tablespoons paprika.

  3. Place pan in oven, reduce temperature to 375 degrees, and roast 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring orange and lemon juices, cider, butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons paprika to a simmer over medium.

  4. Baste turkey with cider mixture; keep remaining warm over low. Continue roasting, basting turkey with cider mixture every 25 minutes (tent turkey with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning), 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) and center of stuffing reads 165 degrees.

  5. Transfer turkey to a platter or cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes before scooping out stuffing and carving turkey. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Skim fat and return juices to pan. Set pan across two burners, add 1 cup broth, and bring to a simmer over medium, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk together flour and remaining cup broth; add to pan, whisking constantly, until gravy is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with carved turkey and stuffing.

Cook's Notes

A citrus-salt rub the night before results in a succulent turkey; a sprinkle of paprika adds extra flavor and a deep, dark color.


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