Roasted Turkey in Light Orange and Apple Brine

I know, I know, you’re probably all “turkeyed” out and the last thing you need right about now is YET another turkey recipe.

In fact, chances are you’re still stuck with a whole bunch of turkey leftovers and you don’t QUITE know what to do with them…

I know… I’m in that same boat. I need to come up with a recipe tomorrow…

Ideas anyone? 😉

Anyway, I’m sorry if this comes a tad late… but I just can’t not share this recipe.

After all, I gave you my entire Christmas menu, I couldn’t just stop without giving you the “Pièce de résistance”: the Christmas Bird.

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

For the longest time, it has been tradition here to brine the turkey before to roast it.

Well, in fact, it used to be smoked instead of roasted, but you see, that was the man’s department and to be honest, I don’t have the patience to go through all the trouble that smoking a bird in the middle of winter requires.

So in the oven it goes, now.

As for the brine, well, I’d also given it the boot for I considered it to be way too high in salt and sugar.

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

That was until I thought of a way to give it a “lightification” treatment. This year’s brine contains almost no salt at all (well, for a brine, that is) and no refined sugar whatsoever.

I used mainly unsweetened apple juice, to which I added a decent amount of apple cider vinegar, a little bit of honey, a little bit of kosher salt and a whole bunch of spices.

I have to say that I was quite pleased with the result, as were all the members of my family, apparently.

I got nothing but compliments from each and every one of them.

They even voted that I be the one taking care of the turkey for the next 20 years!

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

Now don’t be put off by how dark the skin looks. Brines do tend to do that, apparently. It’s not a bad thing, trust me. It only helps make the skin that much easier to resist! To be honest, I didn’t even taste it, so I can’t tell whether it was good or not.

What I can tell you, though, is that the flesh was really nice and super tender and so very moist and juicy and oh so tasty!

I was afraid that the apples and orange would be too strong in flavor and would steal the show, but they were very well behaved and politely stayed in the shadow, leaving all the fame and glory to the bird while giving it a very light lift from afar.

This was a definite winner, and I can guarantee that it will be my new go-to Brined & Roasted Turkey Recipe.

Now for the leftovers… I’ll have to sleep on that one! 😉

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange and Apple Brine

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange and Apple Brine


  • 6 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp liquid honey
  • 2 navel oranges, quartered
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 8-10 whole dried juniper berries
  • 8-10 whole dried allspice
  • 8-10 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • About ½ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4-5 slices fresh ginger
  • A 10-15 pound whole turkey
  • (plan on more apples, oranges and fresh sage to stuff in cavity)


  1. In a large stockpot, add all the ingredients (except turkey, of course) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Place turkey in brine (use a large plastic, stainless steel or other non reactive container, or extra large resealable plastic bags) and refrigerate for about 1 hour per pound.
  4. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cold water; pat dry
  5. Add quartered apples and oranges as well as a few sprigs of fresh sage in the cavity. Feel free to also throw in a few sticks of cinnamon and a whole cloves. Tie legs together.
  6. Place turkey (breast side up!) on the rack of a roasting pan. Tent loosely with foil and roast in a 325F oven for about 20 minutes per pound or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 180F
  7. Remove the foil for the last hour of roasting.
  8. When turkey is done, take it out of the oven, place tent back over the bird and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.

 Stuff the bird with quartered oranges and apples and fresh sage leaves.

Feel free to also throw in a few sticks of cinnamon and one or two wholes cloves… 

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

Tie the bird up nice and good, especially the legs!

Gotta keep all that flavor and moisture locked up! 

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

Take turkey out of the oven and take a few minutes to admire it

(or to let it cool some…)

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh sage leaves, a handful of fresh cranberries, a few clementines, oranges and or / apples. 

Trust me, with this baby on the table, you will not be needing a centerpiece! 

Roasted Turkey in Light Orange Apple Brine by Sonia|! The Healthy Foodie

Now if you will excuse me, I think I need to get right back to what I’ve been doing those past few days:

Spend a little more time quality time with the loves of my life…

Christmas Stockings Love

Shamba on Christmas Morning

Maisha on Christmas Morning


  1. says

    Wow, your turkey turned out so wonderfully! It’s so colorful! I too stuffed my turkey with a bunch of random things – apples, onions, fresh spices… then I used those items along with the carcass to make a HUGE batch of turkey + vegetable soup. We’ll be living off the stuff for at least a month. It made SO much!

    • says

      Thanks for inspiring me, Leanne. I threw everything (except the skin) in a large stockpot and made a big batch of orange and apple infused turkey stock which I then proceeded to turn into a nice and thick Cream of Turkey Soup. YUMMY! This one might even find a spot on the blog, all thanks to you.

      Oh, and say, how are you liking all this snow? 😉

      • says

        Oh yay! I’m so happy that I could inspire you to make a bunch. We have turkey soup coming out of our ears now. Ah! The snow… I’ve never seen so much in my life! And the snow removal… amazing. I guess it’s a pain if one has to drive all over the city, but the transit has been great!

  2. says

    Okay, what’s with the deodorant? That is deodorant, right? You gave them deodorant?! Oh, Sonia… 😉

    Can you bring the dogs to BlogHer? :)

    And I can’t believe you have grown children. It’s so odd. I don’t know why. I guess you’re just the first person I’ve known with children over 3.

    Anyway, this turkey is something I’d love! The flavors sound great and I don’t eat skin so I’m fine with the dark spots. Now if I only had someone to eat a turkey with!

    • says

      OMG Erin did I laugh! I so did not expect that! You know, I figured someone might be like “Sonia, what the hell!??!?! What’s with all the candy and chocolates and stuff!??!?!” But deodorant? I SOOOO did not expect that! I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. BUSTED! That IS deodorant. I tend to stuff my kids’ stockings with all sorts of weird things like that. There were also toothbrushes in there… And you know what the funny thing is? Revealing the contents of their stockings has always been my kids’ favorite part of Christmas. That is why at age 22 and 20 they are still getting one. I just can’t end this. Only now, they know there is no such thing as a Christmas Fairy who comes to fill them up after they have gone to bed. 😉

      As for the turkey, you don’t really need someone to eat turkey with to make one. You only need to really like it and be prepared to make lots of recipes that call for turkey leftovers! I eat chicken mostly everyday, so I don’t mind having this whole giant bird to deal with… the only thing is, I don’t normally eat the dark meat, so I need someone to eat that for me.

      Oh, and I don’t think that the people at BlogHer would be all that thrilled if I showed up with my dogs. Mind you, they are so adorable… maybe I could pull it off! 😉

      • says

        I thought about that too but figured it came from someone else. But nobody except a mother would give deodorant. :) And toothbrushes?! Hahaha. I bet they were so excited! 😀 But no. I know what you mean. Stuffing it with weird stuff. It must be fun to get that. :) But my mother, she’d fill it with stuff like that and be like, “I thought you would like that.” *serious face*

        The thing with turkey is that I only like it when it’s first made. Reheated or cold turkey is just… bla. So I need help! :)

        • says

          Too funny! At least, I didn’t give them deodorant back when they were little kids. Although I should have. It would’ve been funny. But I used to give them all sorts of “school” supplies, like pencils and erasers and scotch tape and scissors… I love stuffing stockings just as much as they like un-stuffing them. I always buy way too much and end up having to pile a bunch of stuff on the side. 😉

          And how ’bout soup? Don’t tell me you don’t like chicken noodle soup?


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