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The Best Brined Whole Turkey & Tips for a Juicy Bird

Recipe for The Best Brined Whole Turkey and Great Tips on How to Prepare a Juicy Bird without Fuss. It'll be the best roasted turkey ever!
Course:Main Course
Keywords:brined turkey, brining, carvedturkey, carving, cooking tips, roasted turkey, roasting, turkey, whole turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 11 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories112 kcal


  • roasting pan


  • 1 (12 pounds) fresh whole turkey, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar (skip if on a keto/low carb diet)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, and sage if desired)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Aromatics (e.g. 1 quartered lemon, 2 sprigs fresh herbs, and 1/2 sliced white onion)
  • 1-3 cups chicken broth and/or white wine


  • Remove giblets and neck from the cavity of the turkey. If desired, reserve for making gravy.
  • For the Brine: Combine coarse salt and sugar in a large clean stockpot and mix with enough cold water to submerge the turkey. Let the mixture of salt and sugar dissolve completely before placing the turkey into the pot. 
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight ( for 8-12 hours). Remove the turkey from the brine, and rinse inside and out under cold running water to remove all traces of salt.
  • Then, pat dry with paper towel. For a quick brine instead (if you are in a rush), brine the turkey for only 5 hours, but this time using double the amount of salt and sugar. Follow the same process describe above.
  • Roasting: In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with half of the amount of salt and pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of the chopped herbs. Place turkey breast-side-up on the rack of a roasting pan. 
  • Gently rub the butter mixture under the breast skin. Then, mix the oil with the remaining salt, pepper, and chopped herbs in a different bowl. Brush the oil mixture all over the turkey, except under the skin. 
  • Place aromatics in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Pour the 1-3 cups of broth and/or wine into the pan bottom to prevent drippings from burning. 
  • Amount of liquid will depend on the height of the rack, but don't let liquid touch the turkey.
  • Roast turkey in the oven middle rack at 475 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until breast skin turns golden brown, baste with the liquid from the bottom of the pan, and then rotate the roasting pan.  
  • Cover just the breast with a piece of aluminum foil, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and continue roasting for additional 125-130 minutes or until turkey is fully cooked (a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
  • Turkey must be basted every 45 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

  • If desired, brush turkey with a mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup honey 30 minutes before removing from the oven.  It will make the turkey even more flavorful. I did this with mine!
  • NOTE: For a brined, stuffed whole turkey, the roasting time is 15 minutes per pound; for a brined, unstuffed whole turkey it is 13 minutes per pound. Remove the brined whole turkey from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Take care of turkey leftovers easily! Make our Tex-Mex Chili Bean Turkey Pot Pie


Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 9699mg | Potassium: 36mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 6.3mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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