Giving thanks with honey

The United States have certainly been in the news a lot lately, for a range of reasons, but particularly because of Covid-19. They way many people’s lives have been turned completely upside down is in quite stark contrast to how we have been able to live our lives here in Aotearoa.

So, I thought a little bit of thanksgiving with honey was in order. I appreciate Thanksgiving is not on our usual calendar of Kiwi festive holidays, but as far as I can see, now is always a good time to give thanks. And who doesn’t actually love pumpkin pie, especially this honey-filled recipe?

We’ve got Thanksgiving recipes with honey to share. The recipes are all a bit of a mix and match of things adapted from here and there over the years and given a bit of a Kiwi twist. I’ll attempt to acknowledge their original provenance where I can remember. I do hope you enjoy. Kia ora!

Thanksgiving recipes with honey

Honey and rosemary kumara

In the States they use sweet potatoes which are sometimes mixed with pineapple. Here, we use kumara. This recipe will serve 4-6 people as a side dish and was adapted from Bite.


  • 5 kgs kumara (about 5 medium to large kumara)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 good sized cloves of garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 25 gm butter
  • 1 tbsp honey


  1. Heat the oven to 200C on fan bake.
  2. Chop the kumara into 2cm hunks and simmer in boiling water for about 10 minutes – until they are almost half cooked.
  3. Roast the kumara with oil, salt, and unpeeled garlic cloves for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Remove the garlic cloves.
  4. Stir through the rosemary, honey and butter.
  5. Season with pepper and salt to finish.

Honey Roasted Carrots


  • 1kg thin or baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam (not absolutely essential)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 gm butter
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Either line an oven tray with baking sheet or baking paper and lightly oil.
  2. If you have lovely baby carrots use whole, otherwise trim and chop carrots into thirds. Try to keep them the same size.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Pour in honey and all remaining ingredients while stirring and cook for 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the carrots and allow the sauce to thicken for a further minute, while tossing the carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place carrots on oven tray in a single layer so they cook evenly. Toss to coat. Bake for about 30 minutes, depending on carrot thickness, until fork tender.
  6. Grill for 2-3 minutes on high heat to crisp/char the edges.
  7. If too much moisture has been released from the carrots while roasting, put them back in your pot and add a cornflour slurry to the sauce (1/2 teaspoon cornflour to 2 teaspoons water), while stirring quickly until thickened.
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley if you’d like.


Thanksgiving honey turkeyWe have had the most success with turkey in our house when we brine it. During brining, the turkey absorbs moisture, so it stays juicy, and as it also absorbs the salt and flavourings, it gets nicely seasoned and tenderised. This recipe is for a large turkey.

For the brine:

  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 litre of chicken stock (use low salt or adjust the salt levels)
  • 1 tbsp of black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Then cool at room temperature and refrigerate until needed. Fully submerge the turkey in the brine, adding water if needed, breast side down. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight.

For the turkey:

  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 50 g butter, at room temperature
  • 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Place the rosemary, garlic cloves and lemon halves inside the body cavity. Spread the butter over the turkey breast and under the skin, then slide the sage leaves under the skin. Transfer to the oven.

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 125 gm butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small pot over medium heat, mix the honey and butter and heat, stirring until melted. Stir in the grated garlic and sage, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook your turkey according to the directions on the packet and weight. After 1 hour of roasting, begin brushing the turkey with the glaze, and doing so every 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 75°C and 80°C in the thigh.

Pumpkin Pie

The base for this pie comes from an Annabel Langbein recipe, and it is good! As for the filling, I think it may have originally come from an American friend of my Mum’s who adapted it for NZ conditions (no canned pumpkin).

Ginger Crust

  • 250g (1 packet) wine biscuits, finely crumbed
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 140g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease the sides of a 25cm pie tin and line the base with baking paper.

Combine biscuit crumbs with ginger and mix in butter until evenly combined. Press the crumbs evenly over the base of the prepared tin and 4cm up the sides. Chill until needed.

Pie filling

  • 2 cups roasted, mashed pumpkin
  • 6 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 eggs

Mix ingredients together in a bowl, either by hand or with a blender and pour into the pie tin. Bake at 190 degrees for around 50 minutes or until firm.

Serve with whipped cream into which you have added 1 tbsp honey and ½ tsp cinnamon.

Thanksgiving recipes with honey that can’t bee bettered.

honey thanksgiving recipes


Manuka Honey 5+ (MG 83+)



New Zealand Kanuka Honey