Perfect Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

This Perfect Dry Brined Roasted Turkey recipe will result in a beautifully browned, moist, and delicious turkey every time. Although it takes a few days, it’s easy, inexpensive, and full of flavor. You will never have to worry again if your turkey will be moist, flavorful, or brown.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through a link. Please see the full disclosure for further information.

perfect dry brined roasted turkey

I’ve made Thanksgiving turkey a few times now and although I continue to get better at the process, I still had not found my favorite way to prepare and cook the bird to get the perfect results. Until now. I will always use this Perfect Dry-Brined Roasted Turkey recipe going forward.

Last year, I brined my turkey in a wet brine for a few days. The turkey turned out fine but here is what I did NOT like:

  1. We had to find a vessel big enough to hold a whole turkey and a ton of liquid for 3 days.
  2. I had to find space in my fridge for the said vessel.
  3. Every time I had to turn the turkey in the brine, I had to wrestle the cold heavy turkey a few times.
  4. My turkey turned out just ok after roasting it and did not brown as much as I wanted.

Whew. That was exhausting just typing that. So, this year I decided to come up with a dry brine, and let me tell you, it was so much easier. And tastier. And browner… which is what I wanted. I looked through a bunch of recipes and ended up coming up with my own mix using all of the things I like. That’s the great thing about a dry brine, you can basically put whatever you want in it.

Ingredients Needed to Make the Perfect Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

Dry Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 large lemon, zested

Roasted Turkey

  • 10-12 lb turkey, thawed completely
  • 1 large lemon, quartered
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 handful fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, melted

How to Make a Dry Brined Turkey

Dry Brine- (3 days ahead of serving)

  • Day 1 (Monday before Thanksgiving)- Mix all of the dry brine ingredients in a large bowl. Rinse and dry the turkey. Place your turkey in a roasting pan and rub all over with the brine mix. Wrap the entire pan with a large roasting bag or cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

Day 2 (Tuesday before Thanksgiving)

  • Open the bag or uncover and flip the bird over. Rub any mix that fell off over bird, re-wrap and place back in the refrigerator.

Day 3 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving)

  • Take the bag or wrap off the turkey, flip one more time and allow the turkey to dry out in the fridge uncovered.

Day 4 (Thursday, Thanksgiving day!)

  • Remove the turkey from the fridge and pat dry removing any excess brine. Allow the turkey to warm up at room temp for at least an hour before cooking.
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and move rack all the way to the bottom of the oven. Pat turkey dry one more time and place lemon pieces, onion pieces and fresh herbs inside the cavity. Tie legs together with twine and place on roasting rack breast side up. Make sure legs are all tightly snug next to the turkey. Brush the turkey with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place roasting pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 425°F. This is how you get crispy skin!
  • Lower oven temp to 325°F and continue to cook for 2-2 1/2 more hours. Check internal temp at the thickest part of the thigh, it’s ready at 165°F.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and place the rack on a baking sheet (you can use drippings from the roasting pan for gravy). Cover the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. This is the perfect amount of time to make the delicious gravy!

Tools Needed For Roasting a Turkey

Roasting pan with rack

Meat thermometer

Large brining plastic bag

Cooking twine

Notes and Tips for Making a Turkey with a Dry Brine

  • I strongly suggest using FRESH herbs and kosher salt.
  • This mix was enough for a 10 lb. turkey but could probably cover up to about 14 lbs.
  • Remember this is a recipe for a few days of brining and drying so plan ahead! For Thanksgiving, I started with a thawed-out turkey on Monday morning and everything was ready to go by Thursday morning.
perfect dry brined roasted turkey
Click on the image above to PIN for later!

Don’t forget about the leftovers!

After you make this delicious Dry Brined Turkey, you will most likely have leftovers. Some people even think the leftovers from Thanksgiving or a turkey dinner are even better than the meal itself! The last thing you will want to do is think about what to do with your leftovers after cooking such a large meal, but you are in luck…I’ve done the planning for you! Check out my post for Easy Turkey Leftover Recipes where I walk you through planning for leftovers and give you 3 recipe ideas for what to make with the leftovers so you aren’t having the same meal over and over again,

More Thanksgiving Recipes

perfect dry brined roasted turkey

Perfect Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

This Dry Brine Recipe for Roasted Turkey will result in a beautifully browned, moist, and delicious turkey every time.
5 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 559kcal
Author: EmilyFabulous

Equipment

  • roasting pan with rack
  • meat thermometer
  • large brining plastic bag
  • cooking twine

Ingredients

Dry Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 large lemon, zested

Roasted Turkey

  • 10-12 pound turkey, thawed completely
  • 1 large lemon, quartered
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 handful fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Dry Brine- 3 days ahead of serving

    Day 1 (Monday before Thanksgiving)

    • Place all dry brine ingredients in a large bowl and combine together.
      dry brine herbs and salt
    • Rinse and dry the turkey. Make sure you remove any giblets inside and get any leftover feathers that were missed. I use paper towels to dry the bird. Place your turkey in a roasting pan (you don't need the rack yet), and rub all over with brine mix. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies and the inside too! Wrap the entire pan with a large roasting bag or cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. I found a roasting bag at the dollar store and it worked perfectly!
      dry brine mixture for roasted turkey

    Day 2 (Tuesday before Thanksgiving)

    • Open the bag or uncover and flip the bird over. Rub any mix that fell off over bird, re-wrap and place back in the refrigerator.

    Day 3 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving)

    • Take the bag or wrap off the turkey, flip one more time and allow the turkey to dry out in the fridge uncovered.

    Day 4 (Thanksgiving day!)

    • Remove the turkey from the fridge and pat dry removing any excess brine. Place on counter and allow it to warm up for at least an hour before cooking.

    Roasting the Turkey

    • Preheat your oven to 425°F and move rack all the way to the bottom of the oven. Pat turkey dry one more time and place lemon pieces, onion pieces and fresh herbs inside the cavity. Tie legs together with twine and place on roasting rack breast side up. Make sure legs are all tightly snug next to the turkey. Brush the turkey with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
      perfect dry brined turkey before roasting
    • Place roasting pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 425°F. This is how you get crispy skin!
    • Lower oven temp to 325°F and continue to cook for 2-21/2 more hours. Check internal temp at the thickest part of the thigh, it's ready at 165°. My 10 lb. turkey took just 2 more hours to cook.
    • Remove the turkey from the oven and place the rack on a baking sheet (you are going to use drippings from roasting pan for gravy). Cover with foil and allow it to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. This is the perfect amount of time to make the delicious gravy!
      perfect dry brined roasted turkey

    Notes

    • I strongly suggest using FRESH herbs and kosher salt.
    • This mix was enough for a 10 lb. turkey but could probably cover up to about 14 lbs.
    • Remember this is a recipe for a few days of brining and drying so plan ahead! For Thanksgiving, I started with a thawed-out turkey on Monday morning and everything was ready to go by Thursday morning.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1lb | Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.8g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 28.1g | Saturated Fat: 9.8g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 11514mg | Potassium: 750mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 2.6g | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 5mg

    Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

    perfect dry brined roasted turkey
    Click on the image above to PIN for later!

    After you eat all that glorious turkey, you might need a warm drink to end the day. Try my Boozy Hot Apple Cider or my Pumpkin Spice Martini. And for a non-alcoholic drink, try a Pumpkin Spice Whipped Coffee. These are the perfect drinks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any night of the week!

    Did you Make this Dry Brined Roasted Turkey Recipe?

    If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell me how it turned out. You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook and show me your turkey!

    If you want more recipes, follow me on Pinterest and sign up for my email list so you never miss a recipe!


    30 thoughts on “Perfect Dry Brined Roasted Turkey”

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating