Perfect Turkey


Looking for the best way to cook a turkey? Try this recipe that always results in a perfectly seasoned and juicy turkey. Use your own judgment for vegetable amounts, etc. I usually err on the side of more is better!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs
Additional Time:
12 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
17 hrs
1 (18 pound) turkey


  • 1 (18 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

  • 2 cups kosher salt

  • ½ cup butter, melted, divided

  • 2 large onions, chopped, divided

  • 4 carrots, coarsely chopped, divided

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped, divided

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, divided

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 cup dry white wine


  1. Rub turkey inside and out with kosher salt; place in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Cover and refrigerate to allow turkey to soak in brine solution for 12 hours, or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Thoroughly rinse the turkey; discard the brine mixture.

  3. Brush turkey with 1/2 of the melted butter. Place breast-side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff turkey cavity with 1/2 the onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and bay leaf. Scatter remaining vegetables and thyme in the bottom of the roasting pan; pour white wine over vegetables.

  4. Roast turkey in the preheated oven, uncovered, until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Carefully turn turkey breast-side up about 2/3 through the roasting time, and brush with remaining butter. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

  5. Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

    close up on a whole golden-brown turkey on a platter
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Editor's Notes:

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

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.

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