lemon thyme-brined turkey

  • 1 x 5–6kg turkey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 24 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 4 brown onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 heads garlic, peeled and halved horizontally
  • 1 litre good-quality chicken stock
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (240g) firmly packed brown sugar

lemon thyme brine

  • 1 cup (140g) sea salt flakes
  • 1 cup (240g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  1. Brine the turkey the day before. To make the lemon thyme brine, place the salt, sugar, fennel seeds, lemon thyme and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Place the turkey on a wire rack over a large container or tray and sprinkle evenly with the brine. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. Brush off any excess brine mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). 
  3. Place the turkey in a large greased baking tray and drizzle with the oil. Fill the cavity of the turkey with the orange and half the lemon thyme sprigs. Arrange the onion, garlic and remaining lemon thyme sprigs around the turkey. Pour 1 cup (250ml) of the chicken stock into the tray and cover tightly with aluminium foil.
  4. Roast the turkey, rotating the tray every hour and adding 1 cup (250ml) of the chicken stock each time, for 2 hours 30 minutes–3 hours. 
  5. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth. Brush the glaze all over the turkey.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F) and continue to roast the turkey for 20–30 minutes or until the skin is deeply browned all over. (If the skin is browning too quickly, especially at the breast, cover with foil.) 
  7. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter with the garlic and onion. Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan, add the remaining stock and bring to the boil. Continue to gently boil until the gravy is reduced by half. 
  8. Carve the turkey and serve drizzled with the gravy. Serves 6–8
This recipe is from Donna’s new series donna hay christmas, exclusive to Disney+


Photography: William Meppem

Reader ratings (0)
Lauren Meath

Oh my good goodness!

So I’ve never cooked a roast turkey before, and I decided to do one for my family Christmas this year after finding this recipe on the Disney+ special. But I needed to do a practice one first so that I don’t screw it up on the big day!

JUST made it, together with the potato gratins (also on the Disney+ special). Holy moly! This is sensational! It was cooked PERFECTLY and the flavours were just perfect! Will definitely add this to my special occasion repertoire! Thank you so much!

Libby Douglas

The most fool-proof chicken recipe I have found. Always super moist and full of flavour.

Gail Glendenning

This recipe was delicious, very easy to make and looked fantastic. Thanks Donna





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