Brined and Roasted Whole Turkey


Learn how to cook a brined turkey that's full of moist, tender, juicy meat with this recipe. No dish has more riding on its success than the holiday turkey. Brining locks in a turkey's natural juices, so it won't dry out during the roasting process, ensuring the perfect centerpiece for a flavorful feast.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
11 hrs 10 mins


  • 2 gallons cool water

  • 1 cup Morton® Coarse Kosher Salt

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 (12 pound) fresh, whole, bone-in skin-on turkey, rinsed and patted dry

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup dry white wine


  1. Stir cool water, salt, and sugar together in a large, clean stockpot until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Submerge turkey in brine; cover and refrigerate for 8 to 14 hours.

  2. Remove turkey from brine; rinse inside and out under cool running water for several minutes to remove all traces of salt. Pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine.

  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan.

  4. Mix softened butter and pepper together in a small bowl; rub mixture under turkey skin. Brush melted butter onto turkey skin and pour wine into the pan.

  5. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Baste turkey and rotate the pan. Continue roasting until skin turns golden brown, about 25 minutes; baste again and rotate the pan.

  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and continue roasting, basting, and rotating the pan once more about halfway through the cooking time, until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

  7. Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.


Do not brine your turkey if it includes basting liquids that contain salt. If your turkey came with a pop-up timer, leave it in place but ignore it. If removed, the timer will leave a gaping hole for juices to escape.

You can use chicken broth or water instead of white wine.

Quicker Brining Method (4 to 5 hours):

To brine your turkey in less time, use 2 cups kosher salt and 2 cups sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.

Editor's Notes:

Always brine foods in a food-grade, nonreactive container such as a stainless steel or enameled stockpot, a brining bag, or a food-grade plastic bucket.

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of brine ingredients. The actual amount of brine consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

985 Calories
47g Fat
21g Carbs
109g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 985
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 47g 60%
Saturated Fat 17g 84%
Cholesterol 342mg 114%
Sodium 9504mg 413%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 109g
Calcium 129mg 10%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 1113mg 24%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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