Gluten-Free Herbal Turkey Brine Recipe

turkey brine recipe
Benko Photographics
Prep time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook time: 4 hrs 20 mins
Calories: 132

Brining delivers a turkey that is juicy and tender. This gluten-free turkey brine recipe includes apple cider, imbuing the meat with a wonderful flavor. Similar to marinating, brining is an overnight process. Be sure your turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the brine. Before roasting, remove turkey from the brine and bring to room temperature. For juicier breast meat, roast your turkey unstuffed. Serve with Bourbon Gravy.

Yields 15 servings


  • 1 (16-20 pound) turkey, rinsed, patted dry
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed light peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative, softened
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour of choice
  • 2 cups gluten-free turkey or chicken broth, more as needed


1Remove giblets, neck, heart and kidneys from the turkey. Trim excess fat at neck area. Rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out and pat dry. Place turkey inside a double-lined oven bag (1 oven bag placed inside another to prevent leaking) and put bagged turkey in a large stockpot or roasting pan.

2To make the brine, place all brine ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring mixture to a light boil, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Add brine to the turkey bag and tie it securely with twist ties to prevent leaking. Refrigerate the turkey 12 to 24 hours.

3Remove turkey from brining liquid and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry. Season the inside cavities of the bird with salt and pepper. Set aside, letting turkey return to room temperature.

4Preheat oven to 425°F.

5In a food processor or bowl, mix together butter, apple cider, lemon zest, pepper and thyme to make a coarse paste. Slide your hand between the skin and meat of the turkey breast and lift gently. Spread several tablespoons of herb paste under the skin. Spread remaining paste over the outside of the thighs, drumsticks and back of the bird. Sprinkle gluten-free flour over the entire bird. (This helps brown the skin.) Tuck wings under.

6Place turkey, breast side down, on the rack of a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups turkey broth or chicken broth. Place in preheated oven and cook uncovered 45 minutes. (This sears the outside of the turkey, keeping juices in the breast meat.)

7Remove bird from the oven. Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Turn turkey breast side up on the roasting rack. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and tent the bird loosely with foil. Return to preheated oven, basting every ½ hour. Add more broth, if necessary.

8Remove turkey from oven when its temperature registers 165°F to 170°F. Transfer the bird to a platter and tent with foil. Let it rest 30 minutes before carving.

3 oz. contains 132 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg cholesterol, 54mg sodium, 0g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 24g protein.