Kristine Kidd

Cabin Life, Cooking, Improving Lives

Close this search box.

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Cider Gravy

It is time to plan our Thanksgiving feast. I have been looking through cookbooks and my recipe files, choosing favorite preparations. The turkey was the first decision, and the choice was easy: The Cider-Glazed Turkey with Cider Gravy, found in Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home. I developed this recipe for the Thanksgiving cookbook I wrote years ago, and it was reprinted in this big, new collection of recipes.
The kitchen will fill with tantalizing aromas while this turkey roasts, and the bird will emerge from the oven burnished with an apple cider glaze. Cider also flavors the gravy, adding a hint of fruit, which is balanced by caramelized shallots and fragrant thyme- a marvelous sauce to spoon over sliced turkey and mashed potatoes.

Here are a few simple tips I learned during the testing of countless turkeys at Bon Appetit magazine:

  • Choose the right turkey: A fresh, never frozen, turkey is a must, because frozen turkeys dry out when roasted. Organic, free-range birds have better flavor than conventional turkeys. And heritage varieties taste the best of all, but are very expensive. A few growers are offering crossbreed turkeys, which are a cross between 2 heritage breeds or a heritage breed and the standard broad breasted turkey. Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, located nearby in the foothills of the Sierras, offers a fresh, organic, crossbreed turkey they call an American Heirloom Collection Turkey, and that is the turkey I will be purchasing. They are available at Gelson’s markets, for $4.99 per pound. Order your bird this week.
  • Don’t stuff the turkey, but cook the stuffing separately. A stuffed bird takes longer to roast, and the breast dries out during the extended cooking time.
  • Baste only occasionally. You want to keep the oven hot, and it cools down each time it is opened for basting.
  • Cook the turkey until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers160°F. Many recipes call for 180°F, but the white meat will be dry if the bird is roasted that long.
  • Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes after removing from the oven. The meat will be much moister because the juices will be reabsorbed. And, that resting period gives the cook time to finish up the gravy and other dishes.

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Cider Gravy

Kristine Kidd
Makes 8–10 servings
Course Sunday Suppers
Servings 8


  • 3 cups apple cider
  • ¾ cup 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 14 –16 pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved for Quick Turkey Stock (below)
  • Salt and ground pepper


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 medium shallots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 41/2 tablespoons rice flour
  • About 4½ cups Quick Turkey Stock, below or low sodium chicken broth, preferably organic
  • 3 tablespoons applejack, Calvados, or brandy
  • Salt and ground pepper


  • In a saucepan over high heat, bring the cider to a boil. Cook until it is reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Set aside ½ cup of the reduced cider for the gravy. Mix the butter and thyme into the remaining reduced cider and refrigerate until cold.
  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Pat the turkey dry and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Spread the cider butter inside and over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Roast for 45 minutes. Baste the turkey with the pan juices. Continue roasting, basting every hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone registers165°F, about 2¼ hours longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. Pour the pan juices into a large measuring cup; skim off and discard the fat.
  • For the gravy: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and thyme and sauté until the shallots are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add enough stock to the pan juices to measure 5 cups. Gradually whisk the stock mixture into the flour mixture, then bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Mix in the reserved ½ cup reduced cider and boil until thickened, about 10 minutes. Mix in the applejack and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Quick Turkey Stock

Kristine Kidd
Makes about 6 cups
Course Sunday Suppers
Servings 6 cups


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Turkey neck and giblets from the turkey, excluding the liver
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth, preferably organic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 5 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves


  • In a large saucepan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the turkey neck and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook until brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and giblets and bring to a simmer, skimming the foam from the surface. Add the peppercorns, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock. (The stock can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then refrigerate. Discard the solid fat from the surface before using.)
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter


3 thoughts on “Cider-Glazed Turkey with Cider Gravy”

  1. Do you really not put anything in the cavity but the herb butter? I’ve never tried that–guess I thought the bird would collapse in on itself.
    I am really enjoying your blog, especially as I too usually cook for two people.

  2. Turkey does not need to be stuffed to hold its shape, and it cooks faster without the stuffing. Sometimes I put onion wedges and a few herb sprigs in the cavity, and in this case, some apple wedges would be good too. This is for flavor, not to hold the shape.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating