Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr, Jan Gautro, Leigh Ann Ross
12 servings (serving size: about 6 ounces turkey and about 1/4 cup sauce)

You can use a double layer of turkey brining bags, then keep the bagged turkey in a stockpot in the refrigerator to guard against punctures. Garnish the turkey with fresh herbs and apples, if desired.

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook until salt is dissolved. Remove pan from heat; cool completely.

Step 2

Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey, or reserve for another use. Trim excess fat. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Add turkey to pan, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the turkey occasionally.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 450°.

Step 4

Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Place turkey, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Pour 1 cup broth into pan. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes.

Step 5

Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove turkey from oven). Bake turkey at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 30 minutes. Remove and discard skin.

Step 6

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a measuring cup, stopping before the fat layer reaches the opening (reserve 1 tablespoon fat). Combine drippings, remaining broth, and cider in a small bowl. Place broiler pan on stovetop over medium heat, scraping to loosen browned bits. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and reserved fat to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Slowly add broth mixture, stirring with a whisk; cook 4 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

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Ratings & Reviews

SEROMEO's Review

November 25, 2010
My husband said that this turkey was "love in his mouth". He is a hard person to cook for since his mother is so wonderful at it. So for our first Thanksgiving as a married couple I think I did well with this recipe! I did spread a little butter on the skin before baking but other than that I followed the recipe to a T.

RIBeth2's Review

November 20, 2010
We made this recipe in 2008 and 2009 and will make it again this year. The brine smells wonderful, and the bird is delicious! It has become my favorite recipe for turkey. We served it with chutney (from Roast Turkey with Onion and Cranberry Chutney) and the Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola, Pistachios, and Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette from the same November 2008 issue of Cooking Light.

Rigatoni's Review

November 14, 2009
We loved this last year, and I am planning to make again this year! I keep coming back to this recipe year after year. It is so easy, so moist and tasty. It gets rave reviews!

Puyiii's Review

November 10, 2008
This is great. I'd never brined anything before so I adapted the amounts in the recipe and did it on a 4 pound chicken and it came out delicious. The flavors really penetrated the chicken and the gravy was yummy. Everyone loved the trial run and are excited about Thanksgiving.