Roast Turkey - Alton Brown/Giada De Laurentiis

"A fusion of recipes from Alton Brown and Giada DeLaurentiis. Like Alton, I believe that Stuffing Is Evil - bake it separately for food safety!"
photo by ericjoonhokim photo by ericjoonhokim
photo by ericjoonhokim
Ready In:
7hrs 15mins




  • Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  • Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket or 20-quart stock pot. (If you make the brine the same day you need to use it, just use a 7 lb bag of ice and 2 cups of cold water to chill it down fast.).
  • Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining. If not refrigerated, add a couple pounds more ice halfway through to keep it good and cold.
  • A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  • Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
  • Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary, sage, oregano, lemon and orange. Tuck wings under breasts and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.
  • Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, pour in 3 cups of broth and scrape up any fond (browned bits) on the bottom of the pan. Cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. After 45 minutes, add 1 more cup of broth. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15-30 minutes before carving.
  • For the gravy, strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Questions & Replies

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  1. oilpatchjo
    DrGaellon, This was our frist try at this recipe the other day and the turkey came out a little too salty for our taste. My DH and I agreed we left the turkey too long for 24 hours otherwise the turkey was very tender and moist we will try this again but only for 6 hours. The only thing we did different from the recipe which might have influenced the salty taste my DH made his stuffing instead of the infusion of the aromatics and I did not use low sodium chicken broth. Otherwise I will make this again but to the specifications in the recipe. Many thanks for posting.
  2. Lan T.
    This is the only turkey recipe I've try every year. My entire family was amazed how the turkey came out. We're not a turkey eater, but this recipe made it tastes so well.
  3. ClarkeCC
    I have tried a lot of different ways to prepare turkey, and this is the best I have ever tried. This is destined to become a tradition in my house. The only change that I made was that since I couldn't find candied ginger, I used fresh ginger instead.
  4. Givmealaf
    I also tried the Alton Brown method 3 years ago and have never gone back! The trick is the brine; it makes your turkey very tender and juicy in the end. This has become a NEW traditional recipe for our family and we plan to enjoy it year after year! Thank you for posting!
  5. Snoopy Chef
    I tried the Alton Brown method this year, and wow!!!!!! This is the ONLY way to make a turkey. Do not be scared, just do it. It deserves 10 stars. Thanks!!


I'm a 48 y/o gay Jewish man in the suburbs immediately north of New York City. I'm a general internist, practicing and teaching at a medical college north of NYC. I also earned a Masters in Public Health degree in 2013. After a Walt Disney World trip in Dec 2006 where I had to rent an electric scooter because I couldn't manage the walking, I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, which was done Feb 28, 2007. I lost 160 lbs (though I've gained back about 60 of that since). I can't eat as much as I used to, so I want every bite to be extra good!
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