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Orange and Clove Brined Roast Turkey

Orange and Clove Brined Roast Turkey. Brining turkey before roasting ensures a juicy, succulent cooked bird with seasoning and infused flavours throughout the meat.

Orange Clove Brined Roast Turkey with roasted potatos and herbs on a white platter

Orange Clove Brined Roast Turkey

With the Thanksgiving weekend approaching in Canada, it’s a good time to feature an alternative roast turkey recipe. I am partial to a flavour infused, brined turkey for maximum taste and juiciness in a roast turkey recipe.

Asian Spice Brined Roast Chicken soaking in the brine mixture

Brining a chicken or turkey, like in this photo of Asian Spiced Roast Chicken.

I’ve use the same idea as in the Brined Asian Spice Roast Chicken shown above, but with different flavours infused into the meat. You can use the same brine in that recipe if you prefer.

This one relies on just a few simple ingredients in the brine mixture to impart subtle hints of citrus and spice to the turkey meat. This is best done overnight but a minimum of 6 – 8 hours in the brine will be required for the turkey so plan well in advance for this recipe.

fresh organic clementines picked with green leaves

Use seasonal citrus like these clementines, when they are in season.

For a little extra citrus boost, I roast the turkey with an orange stuffed into the cavity along with some onions and garlic. This recipe does not overwhelm the natural flavour of the turkey at all but gently compliments it with aromatic scent and flavour.

Raw turkey bulk isolated over white background, stock photo

As with all poultry, a fresh turkey is juicier than a frozen one, but with this recipe you’ll never tell the difference.

Originally published October 2011. Updated Nov 2010.

Need Thanksgiving or Holiday side dish suggestions?

You might also like our collection of Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, which are also great at Christmas or at family dinners year round.

Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes photo collage with title text added for Pinterest 

Like this Orange Clove Brined Roast Turkey recipe?

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Orange Clove Brined Roast Turkey photo of completely cooked turkey with title text added for Pinterest

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Orange Clove Brined Roast Turkey with roasted potatoes and herbs on a white platter
Yield: 15 or more servings.

Orange and Clove Brined Roast Turkey

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Brining time: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes

Orange and Clove Brined Roast Turkey - brining turkey before roasting ensures a juicy, succulent cooked bird with seasoning and infused flavours throughout the meat.


  • 10-15 pound fresh turkey

For the Brine Mixture

  • 6 quarts or liters of water, A little more if needed to cover the turkey completely
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • zest and juice of two large oranges
  • 3 tbsp whole black peppercorns

For the cavity when roasting

  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 whole orange, stabbed with a fork several times


  1. You will need a food grade plastic bucket or large pan, big enough to completely submerge the turkey in the brine for this recipe.

To prepare the Brine Mixture

  1. Stir the water, salt sugar and honey together well to completely dissolve the sugar and salt and then add the cloves, onion, garlic, peppercorns, orange juice & zest.
  2. Wash the turkey well and completely submerge the turkey in the bucket of brine. A plate with a couple of heavy cans of tomatoes or beans placed over the turkey will help keep it submerged. Place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 - 8 hours. I remove one of the shelves in the fridge to fit my bucket in.

To roast the turkey

  1. After brining the turkey, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, truss the turkey with butcher twine (or just tuck the wing tips in under the turkey and tie the legs together to simplify things.) There is no need to add additional salt or pepper, the brine has already seasoned the meat throughout. Rub the surface of the turkey with a couple of tablespoons of butter.
  2. To the cavity add the onions, garlic, and whole orange.
  3. Do not cover the turkey. Open roast the turkey in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 1/2 an hour before reducing the temperature to 350 degrees F. Brush the turkey with melted butter about every 30-45 minutes to get a nicely browned skin.
  4. After reducing the heat, continue roasting for about an additional 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast meat reaches 185 degrees F on a meat thermometer. this could be more or less time depending on the actual size of the turkey you are roasting. Using a meat thermometer is the best way to make sure your turkey is completely and safely cooked. Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  5. NOTE: Although it is traditional in Newfoundland cooking to roast a turkey in a covered roaster, this is a sure way to ensure a dry, overcooked turkey. I NEVER roast a turkey covered, always leaving it to open roast in the oven. This crisps the skin and seals in all the natural juices, creating a turkey that bastes in its own juices. I also ALWAYS use a meat thermometer to test if the turkey is cooked. Open roasting as well as getting the meat to 185 degrees F and properly resting the turkey before carving, is the best way to prepare a juicy succulent turkey. If you don't own a meat thermometer, you should. It is the safest way to ensure poultry is fully cooked and very useful for getting that perfect medium rare prime rib roast beef too; it's a kitchen essential for sure.
  6. After the turkey has rested, I still make gravy from the pan drippings and my own frozen turkey stock that I always have on hand, made from the carcass of my last roast turkey. I ALWAYS use stock and not water to make the best gravy. Low sodium or no-salt-added store bought turkey or chicken stock are also good options if you don't have your own homemade stock available but be sure to make some from the remnants of this turkey and freeze in plastic containers for soup or to make the most delicious turkey gravy next time. I still thicken my gravy the way my grandmother did with a slurry of flour and water. I despise corn starch thickened gravy; you will never find it at my house.


The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Nutrition Information


15 or more including leftovers

Serving Size

1 g

Amount Per Serving Calories 312Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 3gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 154mgSodium 240mgCarbohydrates 2gProtein 46g

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Wednesday 23rd of November 2011

Hi thanks for the tips I always put foil over my turkey and sure thing every year its dry this year I will try it your way , I also have a somewhat picky husband who doesn't like oranges so I'm going to sub orange for pineapple .! I will let you know how it goes LOL thanks again for your recipie

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