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Dry Brined Turkey


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  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups liquid, broth or water



Step 1

At least 2 full days and ideally 3 full days before the turkey is to be cooked, toss all dry brine ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until everything is incorporated.

Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt mixture into a bowl for every 4 pounds of turkey (for a 16-pound bird you’d have 4 tablespoons salt mixture).

Using your hands, loosen the skin over the breast and separate it from the meat making sure to break through the membrane but to keep the skin itself intact. Do the same for the meaty part of the legs. Sprinkle the cavity of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts under the skin, concentrating the salt in the center where the meat is the thickest. Turn the turkey on its side and do the same to the legs under the skin, concentrating on the thigh. Flip the turkey and do the same on the other side. Sprinkle several more spoonfuls on the outside of the skin all over the turkey.

Place the turkey breast-side up in a large roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered.
At least an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter. This takes the chill off the meat and allows it too cook faster and more evenly. Stuff the bird with aromatics, according to the chart above.

Preheat the oven to 450°F and position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven. Take the room temperature butter and rub it all over the turkey as well as placing some pats of butter in between the loosened skin and meat. When ready to roast, add two cups of liquid to the bottom of the pan. Place the turkey in the oven and turn heat down to 350°F.

Roast the turkey for about 13 minutes per pound or until all spots of the turkey have reached at least 165°F. Baste every 30 minutes with the liquid in the bottom of the pan. If any part of your turkey starts to brown before another, thicker part is fully cooked just wrap it in foil to keep from browning any further.

Let it rest, carve and enjoy!

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