We understand that it can be tricky for you home cooks cooking for others on Thanksgiving. And not just because of the obvious stovetop and oven acrobatics. There are guests, God love ’em, who can’t tolerate—for whatever reason—gluten, dairy, processed carbs of any sort, and so on. And for that reason, we’re unspeakably grateful for this simple maple glazed turkey recipe, which is gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, and, as if that’s not enough, easy-to-make. It also tastes magnificent. Be warned, it ditches gravy for a simple yet spectacular pan sauce with a touch of citrus and just the right amount of sweet. Talk about a darn good reason to give thanks.–Renee Schettler Rossi

A woman pouring maple syrup over a maple glazed turkey in a black roasting pan.

Maple Glazed Turkey

5 / 2 votes
This maple glazed turkey is paleo friendly and gluten free and crowd pleasing and easy to make and, as if that’s not enough, magnificent in taste.
David Leite
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories630 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes


  • Large roasting pan; kitchen string; instant-read thermometer


  • One (10- to 12-pound) turkey
  • 1 red apple, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • Zest of 1 orange, preferably organic, removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey and discard. Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Tuck the apple in the turkey’s cavity. Cross the turkey legs and tie together with kitchen string. Rub the turkey all over with the oil, turning to coat all sides. Rub the garlic cloves over the turkey skin, then rub the orange zest over the skin, and then sprinkle the turkey liberally with salt, turning to coat all sides. Place the turkey, breast side up, in the roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the maple syrup, orange juice, and 1 cup chicken stock. Pour 1 cup maple syrup mixture into a measuring cup. Add the remaining stock to the maple syrup mixture in the bowl.
  • After the turkey has been in the oven for 30 minutes, pour the 1 cup maple syrup mixture over the turkey and cover the turkey and pan with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (170°C) and roast the turkey for 2 1/2 hours more.
  • Remove the foil, pour the remaining maple mixture over the turkey, and continue to roast, basting the skin occasionally with the pan juices, until the skin is mahogany brown and crisp and the meat registers 145°F to 150°F (63°C to 66°C) on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, at least 30 minutes more. If the turkey begins to turn a perfect shade of brown before the desired temperature is reached, loosely cover the turkey with foil.
  • Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest, loosely covered with foil, for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pour all the pan juices into a small saucepan. Skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the pan juices. Bring to a boil and then simmer until a glossy glaze forms, 15 to 30 minutes. Strain, if desired.
  • Carve the turkey and transfer it to a platter. If desired, pour some of the maple glaze over the turkey. Pour the remaining glaze from the saucepan into a serving dish and pass alongside the turkey.
The Feast Goes On Cookbook

Adapted From

The Feast Goes On

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 630 kcalCarbohydrates: 21 gProtein: 71 gFat: 28 gSaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 234 mgSodium: 449 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Monday Morning Cooking Club. Photo © 2014 Alan Benson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Thanksgiving, here we come! Orange and maple glazed turkey—a dream come true. And yes, it did come true. Those flavors meld together to give you a smooth, harmonic note that makes this maple glazed turkey much better than usual. There are no hidden tricks here—just plain, everyday kitchen skills that we all possess.

Almost all of the ingredients were already in my kitchen, I just had to go out and round up a turkey! Our turkey was a bit on the heavy side, but stylishly so, weighing in at just a bit over 13 pounds. That made for some time adjustments, but not enough to have anyone throw in the towel.

All in all, a great, moist, citrus-y, maple-y turkey with an after-kick of garlic that was subtle and pleasing.

This maple glazed turkey recipe renders a lovely bird suitable for any holiday table.

Let me start by saying I had to use a much bigger turkey than called for in this recipe as we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year for 18 people. I used 2 apples and 2 oranges and doubled the ingredients for the glaze. Hands-on time to prep the turkey was 30 minutes. I had a 30-pound turkey and rubbed it first with the olive oil and then with the garlic and orange zest. I then gave it a generous sprinkling of salt all over. I put the peeled apples in the cavity and tied it up. We roasted it in a 400°F degree oven for 60 minutes and then poured on the cup of glaze, covered it with foil, and roasted it for 5 hours and 30 minutes until it registered 150°F on a meat thermometer. The last 20 minutes it was uncovered.

The bird was a deep mahogany color with crisp skin, and the juices ran clear. When I poured the pan juices into a saucepan, I did have to skim off the extra fat, but there was no scum. I reduced the remaining glaze and pan juices until syrupy, which took 15 minutes. After the maple glazed turkey rested for 30 minutes, we carved the bird, and the meat was tender and juicy, and the skin was slightly sweet, but there was barely a hint of citrus. We served the extra glaze on the side for those who wanted it. The maple and citrus flavors were a little stronger in the glaze. I would have zested the oranges, minced the garlic, and mixed those together with the salt to rub on the turkey before roasting. I think this would have made the citrus and garlic notes a little more pronounced. While they appreciated the glaze, I was asked repeatedly where the gravy was. I had to quickly make some while the turkey was being passed around.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Thank you ! This is going to be my Thanksgiving recipe and I know the gravy made with the pan juices will be delicious ( and our Vermont Maple Syrup ). For dessert, due to guests who have Gluten issues, I am making the Elizabeth David Chocolate Mousse ( and GF Apple Pie ) Getting hungry now 🙂

    1. Lovely, lovely, lovely, Randi! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it, too. Lucky guests of yours…