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Prep the cider-spiked brine ahead of time to get a leg up on Thanksgiving.

Try it with the rest of Rach’s make-ahead Thanksgiving menu:

Celery Apple Onion Butternut Squash Stuffing

French Onion Mashed Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts Salad

5-Ingredient, No-Fail Gravy

Cranberry Sauce


For the Hard Cider Brine
  • 2 cans hard cider
  • ½ quart apple cider
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¼ cups Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
For the turkey
  • One 10- to 12-pound turkey, backbone removed and saved for stock for gravy (if making your own)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and pepper


Serves: 8 to 10


For the hard cider brine, in a large brining bag or in a large stock pot, add hard cider, cider, kosher salt, bay leaves, onion, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and parsley. Add the turkey to brine and cover with water. Refrigerate overnight.  

Preheat oven to 450°F and align a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper and place into the oven. Check on the turkey after 40 minutes and tent with foil if getting too dark. Roast until the turkey reaches 160˚F, about an hour and a half. Set aside to rest.