Champagne Turkey

Champagne Turkey

While the title of the recipe contains Champagne, since it’s added at the very beginning all the alcohol is cooked out of it, leaving the turkey extra tender, juicy and flavorful. An alternative for the champagne would be sparkling apple cider.


1 whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1/2 to 1 cup butter or margarine, cubed
2 apples, cored and halved
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste (I use lemon pepper in lieu of salt & pepper)
1 (750 ml) bottle champagne (or sparkling cider)
1 Turkey sized Roasting Bag


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Gently loosen turkey breast skin, and insert pieces of butter between the skin and breast1. Place apples inside the turkey’s cavity. Sprinkle with garlic powder (I never measure, just sprinkle until I think it’s had enough) and rub salt and pepper2 all over, inside and out. Place turkey in a roasting bag and pour champagne (or sparkling cider) over the inside and outside of the bird. Close bag, and place turkey in a roasting pan.
  3. Follow the directions on the box for the roasting bag based on the turkey’s size – make sure you add the flour to the bag as it requests, and put slits in the bag per the instructions too (I use one of the slits to put my meat thermometer in). Bake turkey the length of time specified for the weight of your turkey, or until the internal temperature is 180 degrees F (85 degrees C) when measured in the meatiest part of the thigh. Remove turkey from bag, and let stand for 15-20 minutes before carving.

1For a 25 lb bird I’ll use one stick butter per breast – less for a smaller bird. It’s easier to push the butter under the skin with your fingers if the butter is not room temperature – either chilled in the fridge or frozen. I’ll cut it into squares to add if its frozen, leave it whole if it’s just chilled, then massage the breasts to warm up the butter with my hands and spread it evenly under the skin (I always joke around that I’m giving the turkey a boob job when I’m adding the butter or margarine).

2In place of the salt and pepper, I use lemon pepper (or McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Chicken) and rub it inside the cavity before putting the apples in it, as well as all over the turkey before putting it in the roasting bag.

Check the turkey during the roasting time to keep an eye on the thermometer – it tends to cook faster than the directions for the roasting bag, though it could be related to my oven, so your oven performance may vary.

While the turkey is ‘resting’, there will be plenty of juice in the bag you can pull to make an excellent gravy – one of our guests is not a gravy lover, but he couldn’t get enough of this gravy!

As for what kind of champagne to use for this turkey – I’ve always used a Spumante – which is considered a sparkling wine.  I’m not big on real dry wines or champagnes, I have enough things to give me a headache, I don’t want something enjoyable to give me one, too.  If you’re replacing the champagne with sparkling cider, be sure to get the white version, not the red.

In case you’re wondering – even cooking in the roasting bag your turkey will turn out with the most wonderful deep golden brown envied in pictures…I was skeptical at first, but have not been disappointed.

Printable version here:

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  1. Oh my goodness, I think that was one of the best turkeys I’ve made. I did end up using sparkling apple cider, and it was delish! Thank you soo very much for sharing! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

  2. I found this when searching and it was absolutely perfect!!! I used sparkling apple cider and after several turkeys of disappointment…..I finally made a great turkey! Thank you!!!!!

  3. There are a lot of reasonably priced bottles of Prosecco on the market that would be perfect for this recipe. Prosecco isn’t as sweet as Spumante, but among the sparkling wines, it’s definitely on the sweeter side.

    Did I mention reasonably priced? 🙂

  4. Comment: my friend does this recipe and raves about it so I am gonna try it this year.

    Question: if I use sparkling cider instead of champagne, will it make my gravy sweet instead of savory? Not sure i want that…

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  6. that is a nice recipes for turkey, thank you so much for sharing. for addition, you could probably add an carbohidrate food such as a corn or a rice. in my place jakarta, indonesia we had a habit to eat a chicken or turkey meat with a rice because its a delicious. thanks for sharing the recipes once again.

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