My favorite (less-hassle) way of making turkeys every year! With dry brine, there’s no huge pot of liquids or mess in the fridge and just a few minutes to prep the turkey. It’s the perfect way to get a juicy bird without all of the work.
Best Dry Brine Turkey Recipe
I love making dry brined turkey sooooo much, it’s my FAVORITE way to cook a good turkey!
The dry brine is an easy salt and seasoning rub that smothers the inside and outside of a turkey. Then it gets set in the fridge for a day or two…or three… and baked.
Super simple, no bags of sloshing liquid or giant pots big enough to submerge a turkey in. Just a few pantry staples, a roasting pan, and a few minutes of your time.
Dry brine turkey ingredients
- Kosher salt- this is the big grain salts, not table salt. I repeat, do not use table salt!
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black Pepper
- Dried Basil
- Fresh or dried Rosemary
- Thawed Turkey
What you’ll need to make this recipe
BeeyondCereal is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
- Paper towels
- Measuring spoons
- Turkey roasting pan
- Carving set
Tips for salting a turkey
Making a dry brined turkey is super easy, which is why it’s my favorite method for prepping these large birds. Just a little salt and seasonings and some rubbing is all you need to do.
Loosening the skin on a turkey to put the seasoning underneath not only helps to get a crispier skin but also helps the flavors to penetrate the meat. The salt will help to break down some of the tougher fibers in the turkey meat and give you a juicier bird as a result as well.
You can stuff the bird with onions, apples, carrots, celery, or some other aromatic option before roasting if you want to. I chose to cook my bird without anything inside this time.
If done right, the turkey drippings won’t be overwhelmingly salty and will still be good enough for a turkey dripping gravy later!
FAQ’s about dry brined turkeys
No, this is a big NO! Table salt has wayyyy more salty flavor packed into those tiny grains and will make your turkey taste like a salt-lick and not like a fresh herb turkey.
After applying salt to your turkey, you can leave it in the fridge uncovered for up to 3 days. I usually just do 24 hours as I enjoy keeping my fridge open to space during the holidays, but letting it brine longer is noticeable in the difference in tenderness.
A wet brine is usually done by placing a turkey in a large pot or bag full of liquids and then storing it in the fridge. Dry brine is just rubbing the heck out of it with salt and calling it a day. No leaks, no fuss, the way Thanksgiving was meant to be.
This is another big no. The salt is pulling out moisture and locking it in at the same time like magic (well, science). To add water by rinsing off the salt, you will completely undermine your efforts and it will be like you wasted the past few hours of your life. Leave the salt, you’ll thank me later.
How to Make Juicy Oven Roasted Dry Brined Turkey
Mix the seasonings together in a small container and then set aside.
Remove all necks, giblets, bags, etc from inside the turkey and then pat it dry with paper towels.
Loosen the skin around the turkey by placing your hand between the skin and the meat and working your way all over the breasts and thighs as best as you can. The skin is pretty elastic so don’t worry about popping holes in it unless you have long/sharp nails.
Smother the bird with the seasonings salt, get inside the cavity, on the skin, underneath, and directly on the meat layer under the skin too.
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan and then place it uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours or up to 3 days.
When ready to cook, place the turkey on the counter to rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
Cook at 350 degrees F for roughly 2-3 hours (15 minutes per pound) until the thigh reaches 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Note if you don’t want the turkey breasts to darken further, cover them with a foil tent at any point during the baking process.
More recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Pumpkin Pancakes with Butter Pecan Syrup
- Easy Zucchini Corn Chowder
- DIY Hot Chocolate Bombs
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn
- Smoked Salmon and Spinach Quiche
- Roasted Whole Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
Juicy Oven Roasted Dry Brined Turkey
- 3 Tbsp Kosher salt (not table salt!)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 2 Tbsp Freshly chopped Rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)
- 1 whole 12-15lb Turkey
- In a mixing bowl or jar, combine the seasonings and set them aside.
- Remove all necks, giblets, bags, or unedible contents from the turkey.
- Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel. This will help the seasonings to stick much better.
- Loosen the skin on the turkey by carefully working your hand in between the thick skin and meat. Loosen it as best as you can over the entire breast and some of the thigh area. The more you can get -the better.
- Smother the inside and out of the bird with the salt mixture. Make sure to rub under the loose skin and directly on the meat as well.
- Place the turkey in a large pan and stick it in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours or up to 3 days.
- When ready to cook, allow the turkey to rest at room temperature as you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook for roughly 2-3 hours (about 15 minutes per pound). Make sure to check on it every hours as it can come to temperature faster than expected. The thigh needs to reach 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
- If you don't want the turkey breast to get any darker after it's been roasting for a while, place a triangular shaped piece of foil over the breasts as a shield and continue to cook.
- After it's finished cooking, allow your turkey to rest for a good 30 minutes before carving. This helps to keep the juices in place and allows it to finish the last few minutes of cooking.