Dry brining is the easiest way to get a moist and flavorful turkey on the table for your Thanksgiving dinner. Plan ahead, you'll need a few days to get the most flavor. I found that salt and pepper was enough for me, but feel free to season with other aromatics before roasting.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
2 hrs 30 mins
additional:
3 days
total:
3 days
Servings:
15
Yield:
1 15-pound turkey
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Ingredients

15
Original recipe yields 15 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of turkey with kosher salt, focusing on the breast and thighs. Place turkey, breast-side up, in the roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate turkey for about 2 days.

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  • Flip turkey breast-side down, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 1 more day.

  • Remove plastic wrap and place turkey on a rack over a baking sheet the night before you plan to roast. Allow turkey to air-dry in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

  • Bring turkey to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours; pat dry with paper towels. Season turkey with black pepper and place onion and celery in the cavity.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place turkey, breast-side down, in a roasting pan.

  • Roast in the preheated oven until skin is golden, about 30 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and flip to breast-side up. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C); continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 2 hours.

  • Transfer turkey to a large platter and loosely tent with aluminum foil; allow turkey to rest about 30 minutes before carving.

Cook's Note:

I found that a dry brined turkey cooks a bit faster than a traditionally brined turkey. Start checking the doneness about 45 minutes earlier than you think.

Editor's Note:

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

Nutrition Facts

684 calories; protein 91.9g; carbohydrates 1g; fat 31.8g; cholesterol 267.6mg; sodium 1382.8mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (15)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/16/2015
This turkey was so moist and flavorful! Not to mention that it's so much easier than traditional wet brining. My turkey was a little bigger so I used 4 tablespoons of kosher salt and added 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and about a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. After the dry brining process was complete ( I did two days instead of three) I let the turkey rest at room temperature for an hour and then rubbed softened butter and bacon grease on and under the skin and inside the cavity. Then I used some mesquite dry rub and followed the recipe directions for roasting. Seriously AMAZING! Thank you for sharing! Read More
(15)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/23/2016
It was OK but I thought it came out too dry. Although I may have over cooked it I used the roasting directions and cooked for about 2 1/2 hours it was 15 lbs. I made up for it by using the "make ahead" turkey gravy on this site all over it. Definitely worth a try but I think I like the wet brining better. Read More
(1)
18 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 16
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
12/15/2015
This turkey was so moist and flavorful! Not to mention that it's so much easier than traditional wet brining. My turkey was a little bigger so I used 4 tablespoons of kosher salt and added 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and about a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. After the dry brining process was complete ( I did two days instead of three) I let the turkey rest at room temperature for an hour and then rubbed softened butter and bacon grease on and under the skin and inside the cavity. Then I used some mesquite dry rub and followed the recipe directions for roasting. Seriously AMAZING! Thank you for sharing! Read More
(15)
Rating: 5 stars
11/25/2015
I just tried this recipe after dry brining it for 2 days. I have to say that this is one of the best turkey's that I've ever roasted. I'm definitely using this recipe again. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
10/11/2018
I didn't do all the steps due to time constraints. I skipped the final stage in the fridge completely. I did roast as directed. Despite not doing entirely as directed I was very pleased with the results. I had a moist tasty bird. I will do this recipe again. Read More
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2017
My turkey turned out excellent. Will do this again. Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2016
No need for rinsing, well worth the wait, even topped with bacon Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
11/22/2016
This method keeps your turkey from tasting watered down because the meat has no extra water to soak up. The brining will happen faster if salt is rubbed under the skin. Other dry brine recipes always say to rinse excess salt before roasting. This really is the best way to brine!:-) Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2018
This worked perfectly. I admit I was a little worried because I have always done Alton Brown's wonderful brined turkey but it's a lot of work and it's messy and not inexpensive. Now that we are empty nesters I thought maybe it's time to give myself a break - this is it! It's easy, cheap and the results are spectacular. I started with a fresh 13.6 lb turkey and followed the directions exactly. The meat was extraordinarily moist and flavorful. I am not a big celery fan and was really hoping it wouldn't be too strong - it wasn't at all; it was just juicy and delicious. Will definitely do again. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2017
This was excellent. I had never brined before or bought a fresh turkey from a farm I will be doing both again next year! We had 13 people here and they all raved about the turkey! Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
11/21/2018
Wonderful in taste Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
11/23/2016
It was OK but I thought it came out too dry. Although I may have over cooked it I used the roasting directions and cooked for about 2 1/2 hours it was 15 lbs. I made up for it by using the "make ahead" turkey gravy on this site all over it. Definitely worth a try but I think I like the wet brining better. Read More
(1)
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