Go Back

Apple and Herb Turkey Brine

Servings 12 to 14 servings (1lb in weight per person because you discard the carcus)



  • 1 5-gallon bucket and lid (like a brand-new paint bucket and lid, washed well)
  • A reliable oven-safe meat thermometer
  • 1 Oven Bag - Turkey Size
  • Heavy-duty roasting pan


  • 1 turkey (up to 12 or 14 lbs, anything bigger than that tastes gamey; if you need more meat, opt for an additional turkey breast or second turkey)
  • 1 gallon chicken broth
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves,smashed
  • ICE, consider buying a 10lb bag or two

Ingredients for Roasting:

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 apple, cut in chunks or thick slices
  • 1 onion, cut in chunks or thick slices


  • About a week before you begin brining your turkey, place it in the refrigerator to defrost.
  • The day before you roast your turkey, combine all the brining ingredients except for the ice in a very large stockpot. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. (It takes a while to cool, maybe 1 to 2 hours.)
  • Thoroughly clean your bucket or pot that you will be submerging the turkey in. Rinse your turkey and remove and discard the neck and gizzards.
  • Place the turkey inside the bucket. Cover completely with ice (you may need to buy a 10lb bag or two depending on where you are storing your turkey for the night.) Then pour your cooled brine into the bucket. Your turkey should be completely submerged. If not, add a little more water or broth.
  • If possible, create a spot for your turkey in the refrigerator, and let it soak for 12 to 24 hours before baking time.
  • If your fridge is stuffed with pies and other Thanksgiving ingredients, you may keep your bucket outside, if it’s cold, with a tight fitting lid.
  • You may also store it inside the coldest room of your house (the basement is great – if you have one) where it won’t be disturbed by little children and periodically add ice to it throughout the night/day to keep it cold.
  • When you are ready to start roasting, remove the turkey from the brine and set it in a clean sink. You may discard the brine at this point.
  • Thoroughly rinse the turkey and then pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Rub the outside of the turkey with a light coating of olive oil and then some fresh chopped herbs, in this case, thyme and rosemary.
  • Place the turkey in an oven bag (which has been shaken with flour, if stated in the directions on the box) and place the bagged turkey inside of a heavy duty roasting pan. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with aromatics, such as onions and apples. (Celery is good too, if you have it.)
  • Close up the bag, cut ½-inch air pockets if instructed to do so from the oven bag box, and insert your thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast. Set your thermometer to beep at you once it hits 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the thermometer beeps. Our 9½ lb turkey took just under 2 hours to hit 165 degrees.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, cut off the bag, save the juices for gravy, and let the turkey REST FOR 15 MINUTES before slicing. This way the juices will stay inside the meat instead of running over your cutting board. Enjoy your juicy turkey!


© DESSERT NOW DINNER LATER All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-create the recipe, snap YOUR OWN PHOTO and re-write the recipe in YOUR OWN WORDS, or link back to this post for the recipe.