Cider-Brined Turkey


This delicious cider-brined turkey recipe from Emeril is sure to be a Thanksgiving hit. Try it with his Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Mustard Greens.


  • 4 cups Wood's Cider Mill Boiled Cider

  • 4 cups hard cider

  • 8 cups fresh apple cider

  • 2 cups coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

  • ½ cup dark-brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice

  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano

  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 gallon ice water

  • 1 whole (10-to-12-pound) turkey, fresh or frozen (defrosted)

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 apples, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped

  • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 to 3 cups low-sodium store-bought chicken stock or broth, for basting


  1. In a large stockpot, combine boiled cider, hard cider, fresh cider, 2 cups salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt dissolve, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. Let steep for 5 minutes. Add ice water, stir, and let brine cool to room temperature.

  2. Rinse turkey inside and out under cool running water. Remove giblets and neck; set aside for gravy or stuffing, if desired. Place turkey in a pot large enough to hold the turkey and the brine or a large, food-safe plastic bag, set in a pot or roasting pan. Cover turkey with brine, make sure both cavities of turkey are filled. Cover or tightly close bag and refrigerate 10 to 12 hours. If using a bag, rotate turkey occasionally to make sure it is evenly brined.

  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  4. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Place turkey, breast-side up, in a large, heavy-bottomed roasting pan fitted with a rack. Rub all sides with butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff turkey with apples, celery, and onion. Loosely tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Transfer to oven and roast until skin is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

  5. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Cover turkey loosely with a double layer of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Continue roasting, basting once every half hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup stock, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the largest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) registers 161 degrees, about 1 hour more.

  6. Remove from oven and transfer turkey to a serving platter. Let turkey stand, tented with foil, about 20 minutes before carving.

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