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Maple-Sage Brined Turkey

When the leaves start turning, it’s turkey time at our house. We use maple-sage brine to help brown the bird and make the meat incredibly juicy. —Kim Forni, Laconia, New Hampshire
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + brining Bake: 2-1/2 hours + standing
  • Makes
    20 servings


  • 4 quarts water
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 24 fresh sage leaves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons yellow prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 quarts ice water
  • 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional


  • In a large stockpot, combine first 10 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 quarts ice water to cool the brine to room temperature.
  • Put 1 turkey-size oven roasting bag inside the other; place in a large stockpot. Place turkey in inner bag; pour in cooled brine. Seal bags, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate 18-24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Remove turkey from brine; rinse and pat dry. Discard brine. Place turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Rub oil over outside of turkey; sprinkle with pepper and, if desired, salt.
  • Roast, uncovered, until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170°-175°, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.)
  • Remove turkey from oven; tent with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.
Nutrition Facts
7 ounces cooked turkey with skin: 384 calories, 18g fat (5g saturated fat), 172mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 51g protein.

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  • Janet
    Dec 30, 2020

    I have never made such an amazing turkey as I just did with this brine. I usually tolerate the turkey and this time I ate it for dinner and then devoured leftovers in the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. The only brine I will use from now on. Flavourful and easy. I have bought another turkey to roast in early January. I can’t wait.

  • Lori
    Nov 19, 2018

    I see this is for a 14-16 lbs turkey. What would be the ingredient measurements for an 18-20 lbs turkey? This sounds really good.

  • sgronholz
    Dec 11, 2016

    What an awesome recipe...definitely a new favorite! I cut the recipe in half and used it with a 7# chicken. As a Volunteer Field Editor for TOH, I highly recommend it!

  • chaosmommy
    Nov 29, 2016

    This was the moistest, most flavorful turkey we've ever had! Will use this recipe again and again.