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Apple Cider Glazed Turkey by Jessica Merchant

Apple Cider Glazed Turkey by Jessica Merchant

When we released our new porcelain tabletop collection Pheasant Run this year, we knew it called for some special recipes to show it off at Thanksgiving and the holidays. We partnered with Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats and were so excited with her recipes, table setting, and overall entertaining enthusiasm for the upcoming holiday season. Below is her blog post, table setting, and delicious Apple Cider Glazed Turkey recipe (with video) originally seen on her blog.

Thanksgiving with MacKenzie-Childs! Cider Glazed Turkey with Perfect Gravy

Oooh do I have a treat for you! I’m bringing the holidays in early to share something SO special.

Today we’re talking dry brined turkey and I know. I KNOW.

It may be a little early to chat about Thanksgiving yet, but I have my major planning pants on this year and I even have an entire holiday planner for myself ready to go. I don’t even know me anymore. P.S. I really want to share my planner too.

And I’m sharing this spread with you now so you can get your hands on this gorgeous decor before it is gone for the holidays.

I am SO ridiculously excited to share this Thanksgiving spread with you! I’ve teamed up with MacKenzie-Childs this year to talk all things Thanksgiving (something delish is coming next week too!) and share some delish dishes.

You may remember my Thanksgiving spread last year – I was all about the jewel tones. I’ve been obsessed with these colors for years.

And last year, I decided to bite the bullet and just start styling my Thanksgiving around the colors I love so much. Sure, I like to incorporate the traditional reds and oranges and yellows and maybe even browns of Thanksgiving. But I love the entire theme to also have shades of purple and wine and blue and navy and gold and green.

It feels super special to me!

Enter this Pheasant Run line which I am OBSESSED with. It basically contains all of the colors I want on my Thanksgiving table in an actual place setting.

You know that I already use my Courtly Check Chargers for every holiday – I pretty much consider them neutral under any dishes I may use. On top I have the Pheasant Run Dinner Plates and Dessert Plates. The purple kills me!

And these wine glasses! Adorable right? I have a super fun cocktail coming with these colors later too.

I love MacKenzie-Childs stuff so much because it’s essentially functional décor in your kitchen. On Thanksgiving, I always feel like a bomb went off in my kitchen and there is stuff everywhere. But if I have my roasting pan out while stirring the gravy like a crazy person for 30 minutes, it’s all good since it’s SO pretty.

But enough about that though – let’s talk turkey!

This apple cider glazed turkey is SO good. I did a dry brine – in the last year I’ve fallen in love with dry brined turkey because of its ease and simplicity. And because two years ago I dropped multiple gallons of brine all over my kitchen floor the morning of. That was the end of THAT. Uh huh.

This dry brined turkey is easy though – and there isn’t a ton of prep when it comes to roasting too! I like to roast it at a high temperature and then drop it down. All while glazing and basting with an apple cider mixture every half hour or so. The flavor is divine.

I love to finish it off with my favorite perfect gravy too. You’ll recognize this recipe! My mom makes killer gravy and I’m so excited that I finally feel like I have it down pat.

This table just has me SO pumped for the coming season. The colors! The flavors! I can’t get enough and I hope you love it.


This dry brined turkey is a super easy recipe and foolproof for the perfect Thanksgiving! It’s roasted with an apple cider glaze and served with the perfect gravy. You’ll never make another gravy recipe again! Try this dry brined turkey for your best Thanksgiving ever!


cider glazed turkey

  • 1 (15-pound) whole turkey
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 apples, cut in half
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 large bunch of fresh sage
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup

perfect gravy

  • the drippings in the pan from your turkey
  • 16 ounces cold water
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper!!!


cider glazed turkey

Make sure your turkey is thawed! It can take a few days to thaw a turkey (usually 1 day per 5 pounds!) so plan accordingly. You want to dry brine your turkey at least overnight, so plan for that too! I also like to make sure my fridge has space for a day or two of brining.

In a bowl, stir together the kosher salt and sugar.

A day or two before making your turkey, pat it completely dry with paper towels. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. You can place paper towels on the sheet to absorb any liquid that drips. Place the turkey on the wire rack and use the dry brine – separate the skin from the meat and rub the brine directly on the turkey breast and legs. Sprinkle some inside the cavity. Rub it all over the skin. Place the turkey uncovered (yes, uncovered!) in the fridge – make sure it’s not touching anything. Doing this will result in deliciously crispy and golden skin! This can be done for 24 to 48 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the turkey out at least 30 to 60 minutes before. You can pat it dry with paper towels if needed, but do not rinse it. Truss the legs together (great tips here!). Add the apples, onions and sage to the cavity of the turkey. Take 3 to 4 tablespoons of the softened butter and rub it under the skin, directly on the breast and thighs. You can also use any pepper here on the turkey if you wish, but no need to use any more salt!

Roast for 30 minutes.

While the turkey is roasting for the first 30 minutes, combine the remaining butter, apple cider and sugar or maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it reduce a bit.

After that first 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Roast the turkey for 2 and 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the apple cider glaze or the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan – or both! Set a timer so you remember to baste!

At this point, you want to continue roasting just until the temperature taken in the thigh reaches 180 degrees F.

Once the turkey is finished, let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes before slicing and serving. If you want to make it look extra pretty, you can garnish the outsides with extra sage, apples or whole pomegranates. That adds color and fun!

perfect gravy

Strain the drippings from the roasting pan into a large pot or saucepan and set it over medium heat. You can also strain the mixture out of the roasting pan and add the drippings back into the same pan to make the gravy! Add the cold water to a shaker bottle (or water bottle/mason jar) and add the flour on top. Shake the heck out of it for 30 to 60 seconds, until the flour seems completely incorporated and creates a slurry. With a whisk or fork in one hand, pour the slurry into the drippings, sitting constantly with the other hand. Continue to stir to avoid any lumps and stir until the gravy has thickened, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan.

Taste the gravy and season it with salt and pepper to your liking.

This recipe combined a few of my favorite recipes and methods! My white wine butter drenched turkey, and this NYT dry brine recipe!

All images and text ©How Sweet Eats.

Don’t you just want to jump in to that table? It’s so warm and cozy.

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