Dry-Brined Turkey

Dry-Brined Turkey is a simple and delicious turkey recipe for creating the most delectable, juicy turkey meat with buttery, crispy turkey skin.

The holiday turkey is the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone wants a well-seasoned bird with soft, succulent flesh and extra crispy skin. We have a range of cooking methods for a great turkey, from slow basted Roast Turkey to Dry Brined Turkey. We even have a way for cooking frozen turkey to juicy perfection in case you forgot to defrost it!

 Dry-Brined Turkey

 Dry-Brined Turkey

It requires a little more preparation and planning ahead of time, but Dry Brined Turkey is by far one of the simplest methods to obtain beautiful, perfectly cooked turkey! The dry brining method produces deliciously juicy breast and thigh meat with a rich taste and the crispiest skin. After brining, the turkey is coated in herbs and basted with its own delectable fluids, resulting in juicy, savory, tender turkey perfection.

What is Dry Brined Turkey?

Dry brining is a process in which the turkey is prepared with a dry salt rub and then refrigerated for a few days to tenderize the flesh. While the turkey is in the fridge, the salt draws out bird fluids, creating a natural brine for the flesh. The dry brining process helps the turkey to absorb the salty brine and gradually tenderize itself. It plumps up the meat like a wet brine, but without adding any more liquid, resulting in a far richer taste!

 Dry-Brined Turkey

 Dry-Brined Turkey Ingredients

  • Turkey: Begin with a 12-14 pound entire turkey, either fresh or frozen. If it is a fresh bird, remove all giblets and clean it well. A 12-14 pound turkey can feed around 8-10 people with plenty of leftovers. That big turkey will take 3-4 days to fully defrost in the fridge, but you may begin brining it after around 1-2 days of thawing.
  • Salt: Salt is an essential element in both wet and dry brines. You can use kosher salt or sea salt; however, fine table salt will not brine effectively. The bigger crystals of kosher salt break down the meat, drawing out fluids and taste gradually without making it salty.
  • Aromatics: The yellow onion, carrots, and celery are roasted beneath the bird in the pan juices and broth, producing a delightful aromatic steam that permeates the flesh. It enhances the meat’s taste and juiciness.
  • Broth: While you could use water, we like the added savory flavor of chicken broth, especially in the gravy we prepare with the drippings.
  • Butter Herb Rub: The turkey is coated with herbs and butter to seal in all of the delectable fluids while also giving the skin an incredible taste. Butter also helps it get a nice golden brown.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Brining Bag: A brining bag is ideal since it is less prone to spill and less cumbersome than a big container. However, if you don’t have the specific bag, simply use a container large enough to accommodate the turkey and can be sealed.
  • Roasting Pan: You’ll need a large roasting pan that can accommodate the bird and 3 cups of broth without overflowing, as well as a roasting rack to lift the turkey above the vegetables.
  • Turkey Baster: If you don’t have a turkey baster, you may use a long-handled spoon or ladle; just be careful not to burn yourself.

How to Make Dry-Brined Turkey

Time needed: 2 days and 3 hours.

Prepare the Turkey.
Remove any giblets from the turkey, then pat it dry on the inside and exterior. Season the chicken with salt. It’s also necessary to apply the salt rub both inside and outside.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Brine for two days.
set the salted turkey in a large brining bag and set on a baking dish in the refrigerator, breast side down. Chill overnight, then flip the turkey over and refrigerate for another day.

Prepare for Cooking.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees on the day you intend to roast. Use a roasting pan with a rack. Pour the chicken stock over the top of the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the pan.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Season the turkey.
Combine the butter, pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Before roasting, rub the herb combination all over the bird. It is critical that you do not rinse the turkey before seasoning.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Roast the turkey.
Cook for thirty minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and baste with the cooking liquid beneath it. Place the roasting pan back in the oven at 350 degrees. Continue cooking for two more hours. Every 30 minutes while cooking, remove the bird and baste it again. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure that it reaches 160 degrees before the cooking time is over.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Rest Time
Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before cutting it.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Optional Gravy Recipe
If you want to make gravy out of the cooking liquid, mix 2 cups with 2 tablespoons flour in a skillet on the heat. Use a wooden or silicone spoon to mix in the flour. Take the veggies out of the mixture as you go. Cook until the soup thickens, then season to taste.

 Dry-Brined Turkey

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes, you will need at least two days to brine your turkey, but you may brine a completely thawed bird up to four days in advance.

Dry-Brined Turkey Tips & Tricks

Brine for at least two days.

To properly prepare a dry-brined turkey, it should be rubbed with salt a few days in advance. The salt progressively sucks out the fluids, so attempting to decrease the cooking time will result in a less plump, juicy, and tasty bird.

Rest the turkey before carving.

Allow your newly cooked turkey to rest before carving so that it maintains all of the delicious fluids it absorbed while roasting in the oven. It should rest for at least 20 minutes after coming out of the oven, loosely covered with foil.

How to Store Dry-Brined Turkey

  • Store: Once the turkey has cooled, wrap it securely in tin foil or plastic wrap and store it in another airtight container. It will be excellent for around 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: To extend the life of the turkey, store it in the freezer for 2-3 months. Make sure the roast turkey has thawed in the fridge before reheating it.


How long should I  Dry-Brined Turkey? 

It’s recommended to dry brine your turkey for at least two days so that the salt can draw out the fluids, which are then absorbed with the taste. Make sure to rotate the turkey halfway through to ensure even tenderness.

Do I rinse the turkey after dry brine?

No, you shouldn’t rinse the turkey once it’s been dry-brined! The salt will sink into the skin, making it crispier and trapping in the juices.

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Recipe Card

Dry-Brined Turkey

Dry-Brined Turkey

Dry-brined turkey results in a delicious bird with wonderfully crispy, golden skin. It's a less messy brining method, and you don't have to keep the turkey in water.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 18


  • 12-14 pound whole turkey
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 carrots cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme removed from stem
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary removed from stem and minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage minced


  • Remove the giblets from the turkey and pat dry both inside and out.
  • Season the turkey with kosher salt on both the interior and the outside.
  • Place in a large brining bag or covered container.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Turn the turkey over and refrigerate for another day.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a large roasting pan with a rack, place the onions, carrots, and celery on the bottom.
  • Add in the chicken broth.
  • Place the turkey (not rinsed) on the roasting rack.
  • Rub the turkey with a mixture of butter, black pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary, both inside and out.
  • Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then baste with the liquid from the roasting pan.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Cook the turkey for 2 hours (or until it reaches 160 degrees) and baste every 30 minutes.
  • Let rest for 20 minutes, tented loosely with foil, before cutting.

To make gravy (optional):

  • Add 2 cups of chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of flour to the pan and deglaze over medium heat with a wooden or silicone spoon (to avoid damaging the pan).
  • Remove and discard the veggies.
  • Cook until the mixture thickens, seasoning with salt and pepper as required.
Keyword Dry-Brined Turkey

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