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Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey with Gravy


I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was the best turkey ever! I didn't have any bourbon on hand, so used whiskey instead and it came out great! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • 1 (14 pound) turkey, rinsed and patted dry with neck and giblets reserved
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of chile powder
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups Bourbon
  • Butter for foil optional
  • 1/3 cup flour


Servings 12
Preparation time 45mins
Cooking time 195mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat oven 325 F. Tuck wind tips under turkey by bending them back and pushing them under wings. In a small bowl combine, salt, sugar, chili powder. Carefully run your fingers under breast and thigh skin to loosen, then rub meat with about 1/3 of seasoning. Rub remaining seasoning in cavity of turkey and all over skin. Next pierce orange and lime with a fork and stuff citrus in cavity, along with onion, bay leaves and garlic. Using a kitchen string, tie legs together.

In a small skillet, stir maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer; let cook 5 minutes.

Set turkey breast side up in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put turkey neck and giblets in bottom of pan under rack in the pan and add bourbon. Pour all but 1/3 cup of maple-syrup mixture over turkey. Cover pan with lid or buttered aluminum foil. Roast turkey, covered, for 1 hour and thirty minutes.

Uncover pan and brush turkey with reserved maple-syrup mixture. Return turkey to oven and continue to roast, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh meat registers 165 F, 40- 50 minutes Lift turkey from pan, allowing any juices in cavity to drain into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter or cutting board. Tent turkey with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

Discard neck and giblets and pour juices from pan into a gravy separator or large measuring cup. Remove fat, reserving 3 tablespoons of fat. If needed add enough water to pan juices to measure 4 cups.

Place reserved turkey fat in a large saucepan over low heat. Gradually whisk in flour or corn starch and cook, whisking constantly, until flour has browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in pan juices and cook whisking constantly, until gravy is creamy and slightly thickened, about ten minutes.

Cook's note:

For a 17 pound turkey, this wasn't enough seasonings. Double the salt, sugar & chile powder for the rub & maple syrup, molasses & brown sugar for the cooking sauce.

Rule of thumb for defrosting a turkey: Allow 5 hours per pound of turkey to thaw in the fridge. Buying tip: one pound of turkey per person for leftovers.


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