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Roasted Brined Turkey

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  • Makes: 12 servings
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Marinate: 8 hrs
  • Roast: 2 hrs 45 mins 325°F

Roasted Brined Turkey



  1. Rinse the turkey body cavity; pat dry with paper towels. Reserve neck and gizzard for gravy or discard. Prepare Desired Brine.
  2. Add turkey to cold brine in pot. Press and weigh down turkey with a clean plate or two. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Drain turkey; pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Skewer the neck skin to the back. Tuck drumstick ends under the band of skin across tail, if available, or into wire or nylon leg clamp. If there is no band of skin or clamp, tie drumsticks securely to tail with clean 100-percent-cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under the back.
  5. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with oil. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle.** The thermometer should not touch bone.
  6. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 2-3/4 to 3 hours or until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees F, cutting the band of skin or string holding drumsticks halfway through roasting. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, tent turkey breast with foil during last 30 minutes of roasting. (The juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.)
  7. Remove turkey from oven. Cover loosely with foil; let stand for 20 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with parsley, cranberries, and kumquats. Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Carve turkey.

From the Test Kitchen


Be sure turkey is not self-basted or enhanced with a salt solution. If the turkey is enhanced, do not brine or the meat will taste too salty.


If you don't have an oven-going meat thermometer, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of an inside thigh muscle to test the final temperature (Step 6).

To Tie Turkey:

Using 100-percent-cotton kitchen string or twine, place string under the turkey with the breast side up. Bring the two ends over the wings; twist and bring ends under the drumsticks. Tie ends over the ends of the drumsticks.

Turkey and Wild Rice Pilaf:

Stir chopped cooked turkey into prepared long grain and wild rice mix along with chopped apples and dried tart cherries. Sprinkle with snipped fresh parsley.

Basic Brine



  1. In a 10-quart pot combine hot water, salt, sugar, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns; stir to combine. Add ice; let stand until ice melts.

From the Test Kitchen

Maple Brine:

Prepare Basic Brine as directed, except substitute 1 cup pure maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar in the brine.

Beer Brine:

Prepare Basic Brine as directed, except use only 2 quarts ice and add three 12-ounce cans cold beer with the ice; stir to combine.

Herb-Garlic Brine:

Prepare Basic Brine as directed, except add 4 cloves garlic, sliced, and 4 sprigs fresh rosemary. After patting dry, rub turkey with a mixture of 2 teaspoons paprika; 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed; 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder; and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Nutrition Facts (Roasted Brined Turkey)

    Per serving:
  • 184 kcal cal.,
  • 5 g fat
  • (2 g sat. fat,
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 2 g monounsatured fat),
  • 110 mg chol.,
  • 652 mg sodium,
  • 1 g carb.,
  • 1 g sugar,
  • 30 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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