Perfectly moist and with a delicious blend of sweet and savory, this paleo maple apple brined turkey recipe will blow your socks off! It’s so good, you’ll want it for dinner even when it’s not Thanksgiving…
A first time for everything.
I know, I know, with my very own food blog, and a logo of a woman holding a turkey, you’d think I’d have had a turkey recipe on here before now. But I don’t. In fact, for the majority of my cooking life, I’d never cooked a turkey, let alone come up with my own recipe for one. And even now, years after finally learning how to fix a delicious turkey, this recipe has been sitting in my drafts for at least 7 years before I finally remembered to post it.
So finally, after years of forgetting about it, I decided it was high time I shared my absolute favorite maple apple brined turkey recipe with you. And bonus (!): even though I wasn’t eating paleo way back when I came up with this, it’s 100% paleo and can even be modified for the full GAPS diet! #win
Paleo maple apple brined turkey.
This delicious recipe actually came via inspiration from a friend of mine. I was relating to her how nervous I was about making my family’s Thanksgiving turkey, and she assured me that the best way to get a juicy turkey was to brine it. Of course, being a newb to turkeys I had no idea how to brine one. So she learned me and even brought her bird over for Thanksgiving so that I could see how delicious it was! And it was delicious.
In fact, my hubby was so excited after tasting it, that I promised myself I would bake my next turkey the same way next Thanksgiving. Of course, I had to add some things to the brine. Namely apples, honey, maple syrup… And thus my paleo maple apple brined turkey recipe was born.
Though this recipe is 100% paleo as is, there are some options, like always. I like to use maple syrup in my brine, it adds a super comforting flavor to the turkey. But I know that good quality maple syrup is pretty pricey, and once you’ve spent an arm and a leg on it, you don’t really want to pour half the bottle into a turkey brine. So feel free to cut the syrup amount in half and sub out some honey.
For the apples, I usually use gala, since they’re pretty cheap. But if you can find and afford them, pink lady are super delicious in this recipe! I would also encourage you get organic apples, if you can. You don’t want the salty brine pulling pesticides out of the apples and adding them into your turkey…
If you’re looking for more delicious holiday dishes, here are some that go perfectly with this delicious paleo maple apple brined turkey!
- Easy Paleo Creamed Greens
- Cider & Elderberry Cranberry Sauce
- Fluffy Buttermilk Cornbread
- Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Cranberries
- Grain-Free Scalloped Potatoes
- Lacto-Fermented Cranberry Walnut Chutney
- Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Sweet Potato Oven Fries
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes in the Instant Pot
- Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
- Honey-Orange Pumpkin Pie in the IP
- Gluten-Free Honey Apple Pie
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
Paleo Maple Apple Brined Turkey
Free of grain, gluten, eggs, dairy, and refined sugar.
- 2 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 3 gallons water
- 4 organic gala or pink lady apples, quartered
- 1 cup honey or maple syrup (or a mixture of both)
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 12-18 pound organic turkey, completely thawed
Place everything but the turkey in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1 hour. Remove apples and cool to room temperature.
Place thawed and cleaned turkey in empty food grade 5-gallon bucket and pour brine over all, making sure the turkey is completely covered. (Make sure all the innards have been removed…)
Refrigerate turkey in the brine overnight, or for 24 hours. (If you can’t fit it in your fridge, and it’s below 40 degrees outside, just stick it outside, making sure it’s covered well.)
The next day, preheat oven to 500. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and stuff with desired stuffing.
Baste with brine and bake for 30 minutes. Remove turkey and cover tightly with foil, then replace in the oven.
Turn oven to 350 and bake for 3-4 more hours, depending on size of bird, or until desired done-ness. It will take longer if your bird is stuffed.
Remove from oven; carve, and enjoy!
When the internal temperature of your turkey registers a steady 165°F in the thigh, your bird is done.
I always brine my turkey, and this sweet and savory brine sounds just perfecct!
Never tried brining turkey with apples and it’s brilliant! The flavors complement so well and makes such a flavorful and moist meat.
Thanks, Jean! 🙂
So delicious! Apples and maple are brilliant – the flavors are in every yummy bite!
Thanks so much, Kelly! I’m glad you agree. 🙂
Haha. I’ve never even made a whole turkey. This looks like a great recipe to start with! I love honey + apples.
Haha! I hope you get to try this one! I know a whole turkey can sound a little intimidating, but it’s not really hard at all… 😉
Lol, okay now I need to move somewhere cold where I can brine it outside overnight . . . ! Seriously though my back fridge shelves come out , so I’m good! This looks amazing and I’m going to try it since Mom passed the cooking to me this year.
I hope you love it as much as we do, Jennifer! Since moving to the south I have to take the shelves out of my fridge (like in the photos). It works just great!
Brining is definitely the way to go and I love apple and maple with turkey! This sounds great!