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Tea Brined Turkey with Bourbon and Sweet Tea Glaze

Prep Time:

30 mins.

Cook Time:

120 mins.


14 to 16 servings

Marinating a turkey in sweet tea brine ensures it will be tender, never dry, and bursting with Southern flavor in every bite. Baste it with sweet tea and bourbon to add a crispy layer of flavor on the outside that will keep everyone coming back for more.



  • 4 family-size bags Luzianne® Unsweet Iced Tea
  • 1 gallon water, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 gallon water, ice-cold


  • 1 turkey, 10 to 12 pounds, fresh or defrosted
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, peeled and halved
  • 1 celery stick, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 family-size bags Luzianne®️ Unsweet Iced Tea
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Make Brine: Bring room-temperature water to a boil and remove from heat. Add the tea bags, sugar, salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic and lemons and steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the tea bags from the brine, squeezing out all of the liquid, and discard them. Continue to stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Stir in the ice-water.
  2. In a large container, submerge the turkey in the brine; cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  3. Prepare Turkey: Preheat oven to 425℉. Remove turkey from brine and discard brine. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Season, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, rosemary and sage. Carefully lift the skin from the turkey breast and rub the softened butter under the skin.
  4. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan or large baking sheet with a rack. Place the turkey on the oven’s middle rack and roast for 30 minutes at 425℉.
  5. Make Glaze: While the turkey is roasting, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and a syrup begins to form and thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bourbon, tea bags and lemon juice. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then remove tea bags, squeezing them to remove all liquid, and discard. Add the butter and whisk until melted.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 350℉ and continue roasting, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes, for 1 to 1
    1/2 hours longer or until a thermometer inserted into the leg area reaches 165℉ on a digital thermometer. If the exterior of the turkey begins to get too dark, remove it from the oven, tent it with aluminum foil, and return to the oven.
  7. In the last 20 minutes of roasting, use a turkey baster to baste the turkey with the glaze.
  8. When done, remove the turkey from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes before carving.