Roasted Brined Turkey

Prep Time:
45 mins
Marinate Time:
8 hrs
Roast Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
Stand Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 8 pound turkey (not self-basting type)*

  • 1 recipe Desired Brine

  • Vegetable oil

  • Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (optional)

  • Fresh cranberries (optional)

  • Fresh kumquats, coarsely chopped (optional)

Basic Brine

  • 5 quart hot water

  • 1 ½ cup kosher salt or 3/4 cup table salt

  • 1 ½ cup sugar

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme (about 1 ounce)

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 45 black peppercorns

  • 3 quart ice


  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°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°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.

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.


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.

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 (per serving)

184 Calories
5g Fat
1g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 184
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 652mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 30g
Calcium 20.2mg 2%
Iron 1.8mg 10%
Potassium 248mg 5%
Folate, total 8.1mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.4mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.4mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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