Buttermilk-Brined Turkey


Marinating turkey in a buttermilk brine is the way to go for the most tender and flavorful turkey. Even the leftover white meat stays moist when reheated.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 10 mins
Additional Time:
1 day 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time:
1 day 4 hrs 35 mins
1 12-pound turkey


  • 2 cups water

  • cup kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 large bay leaves

  • 8 cups buttermilk

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Combine water, salt, parsley, coriander, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic powder, and bay leaves in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Boil until salt has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Stir in buttermilk.

  2. Rinse turkey in cold water. Place in a brining bag and pour buttermilk brine over top. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.

  3. Discard the brine and rinse turkey thoroughly in cold water. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and place breast side up in a roasting pan. Rub butter over all of the skin and let turkey sit for 1 hour.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  5. Cook turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, near bone, reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 3 hours.

Editor's Note:

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

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

771 Calories
36g Fat
9g Carbs
98g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 771
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 279mg 93%
Sodium 397mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 98g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 293mg 23%
Iron 7mg 36%
Potassium 1195mg 25%

* 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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