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Bourbon-Glazed Turkey Recipe

Go Bold With This Bourbon-Glazed Turkey

There's something lovely about the simplicity of a brine-free, herb-roasted turkey. But after years of enjoying the same turkey and cream gravy, a gal might be wont to try something a little radical with her turkey.

If you feel this way — but you're not ready to bust out, say, the deep fryer quite yet — try our Southern spin on the big Thanksgiving bird. It's rubbed with a chili, garlic, onion, and mustard butter, then basted continually with a bourbon, apple cider, and brown sugar glaze. The results are shockingly flavorful — this is one risk worth taking. See for yourself.

Bourbon-Glazed, Spice-Rubbed Turkey

Bourbon-Glazed, Spice-Rubbed Turkey

Bourbon-Glazed, Spice-Rubbed Turkey


1 12-pound turkey, giblets removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup bourbon
1 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 stick of butter, at room temperature


  1. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Season the outside of the bird and the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper.
  2. In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the bourbon, honey, cider vinegar, and 1 cup brown sugar. Shake vigorously to blend; set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar with the paprika, mustard, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and butter to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the turkey.
  4. Roast the turkey for about 45 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue roasting, brushing with some of the bourbon glaze every 20 minutes, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh should register 160ºF. Remove the turkey from the oven, brush with the remaining glaze, loosely tent, and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Susannah Chen
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Join The Conversation
Mayra-P Mayra-P 2 years
Bourbon on all thanksgiving entrees :)
sourcherries sourcherries 6 years
@ partysugar Thanks! The pix look great and can't wait to try it!
partysugar partysugar 6 years
sourcherries: The key is to check the temperature. I think ours ended up taking about 3 hours last year — if memory serves me right. I suggest checking it with a thermometer after about an hour and 45 minutes. When it says 160°F, the turkey is done.
NurseKimberly NurseKimberly 6 years
sourcherries sourcherries 6 years
Can you explain the cooking times again? To quote: Roast the turkey for about *45 minutes*, until slightly golden brown. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue roasting, brushing with some of the bourbon glaze every 20 minutes, for *about 1 hour, 15 minutes* longer. Does this mean your 18-lb turkey took 2 hours? Wanted to make sure for when I do our 12.5 turkey.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 6 years
:drool: That looks SUPER YUMMY!
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