Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brine Turkey

This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.

This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.
Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brine Turkey

Want an easy turkey recipe that’s moist and flavorful? Try dry brining! Rather than wet brining a turkey, dry brining is so much easier and less messy! This is how I am making my turkey again this year! It takes 4 days to brine, so I am starting on Sunday. You can watch me on my Instagram Stories if you want to follow along in my kitchen!

This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.

Making a turkey in a Wolf oven

It feels like we’ve been remodeling our new home forever, but this week I finally got to cook in my new kitchen and put my new Wolf M series double oven to the test. Needless to say, I am IN LOVE!! I went big for the first time and cooked a whole 16-pound turkey as a test run for Thanksgiving along with a few side dishes. Using this oven was everything I imagined and more!

I am not completely moved in yet, but I promise I will do a final home and kitchen reveal soon. When I was designing my kitchen, Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove appliances were my only must. As a home cook and cookbook author, having a kitchen with professional-grade appliances has always been a dream of mine, so it’s exciting to finally be able to use them first-hand.

The oven has a variety of programmed cooking modes, but for this particular recipe, I tried the Convection Roast mode which cooked the turkey in a fraction of the time! (I tested this recipe both in my old oven on conventional roast and my new Wolf oven on convection roast to see how they compared). What’s more, it’s the most spacious oven I’ve ever had (it’s actually Wolf’s largest capacity oven), so between the two of them I’m able to fit more dishes at the same time than ever before.

But the feature I think I loved best for making a turkey was the temperature probe. It takes the guesswork out of knowing if the turkey is ready and you can even download an app on your phone to monitor the meat’s cooking progress without having to open the oven door! To use the probe, I simply inserted it into the turkey thigh right between the leg and the thigh away from the bone and set the temperature to 170F. Once the turkey hit the correct temperature, it notified me it was ready. No guessing! I let it rest 30 minutes which brought the temp up a little more. The turkey was so moist and juicy, the skin so crisp and flavorful, this is how I will be making my turkey for years to come!

Making a turkey in a Wolf oven.

Choosing the right size Thanksgiving turkey

A good rule of thumb is to estimate at least 1 lb to 1 1/2 lbs per person so you’ll have extra and enough for leftovers.

Fresh or Frozen?

Fresh – One of the pros of using a fresh bird is there’s no need to thaw. A fresh bird will keep for 4 days in the fridge. Some people think it’s more flavorful than a frozen bird.

Frozen – Typically more affordable and can be purchased weeks in advance. It does however require thawing time.

Defrosting a turkey

Fridge – if you have more time, allow the turkey to thaw in the fridge in it’s original packaging. Allow 24 hours of thawing for every 5 lbs of bird.

Cold Water Bath – If you’re short on time, submerge the bird in a cold water bath changing the water every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of bird.

What is a dry brine?

A dry brine is an herb and salt rub applied directly to the turkey. This creates satiny leg meat and juicy, perfectly seasoned breast meat. Air-drying the turkey on the last day of the 4-day process will make the skin crisp when roasted.

How much salt should I use?

This recipe can be adapted to turkeys of all sizes. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 pounds. Diamond Crystal salt is best, Morton’s has more sodium and will be saltier. If using Morton’s, you will have to adjust and use less.

Storing

Leftovers should be put away when you’re done serving. Store leftover meat and the turkey carcass for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.How to dry brine a turkeyThis Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.

This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.
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Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brine Turkey

0
2
0
SP
225 Cals 45.5 Protein Carbs 3.5 Fats
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Brine Time: 4 d
Total Time: 4 d 4 hrs
Yield: 16 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: American
This Herb and Salt-Rubbed Dry Brined Turkey comes out so moist and flavorful, with crispy golden skin and juicy tender meat.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • One thawed or fresh 16-lb turkey, preferably fresh (not kosher or self-basting) if frozen, thaw before
  • 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal, use less with Mortons

Instructions

4-Day Dry Brine:

  • (4) Four days before you plan to roast the turkey, mix the herbs and oil in a small bowl. Loosen the skin around the shoulders of the bird and around the cavity. Carefully slide your hands underneath the skin to loosen it from the breast, thighs, and drumsticks.
  • Rub the herb mixture on the meat, under the skin. Pat the skin back into place.
  • Rub the salt inside the cavity and on the skin. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Put the turkey in a large food-safe plastic bag (such as a turkey-size roasting bag) and tie. Put the bag inside a second bag and tie.
  • Day 1 to 3: Refrigerate the turkey, turning it over every day, for 3 days.
  • Day 4: Remove the turkey from the bags and pat dry. Transfer to a large roasting pan and refrigerate, unwrapped, to let the turkey air-dry overnight (for the fourth day).

Roast the turkey (Day 5):

  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it temper on the counter for about 1 to 3 hours. Place turkey breast side up on a rack (sprayed with oil) in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep.

Convection Roast Mode:

  • Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F in convection roast setting. If using a probe, insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh not touching the bone and set the temp to 170F. Roast until the temp registers 170°F in the thickest part of a thigh, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or longer depending on the size of the turkey. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle.

Conventional Oven:

  • Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Roast the turkey for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 325°F.
  • Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F in the thickest part of a thigh, about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle.

Video

Notes

Nutrition is based on turkey breast no skin.

Nutrition

Serving: 6oz turkey breast no skin, Calories: 225kcal, Protein: 45.5g, Fat: 3.5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 896.5mg
Blue Smart Points: 0
Green Smart Points: 2
Purple Smart Points: 0
Keywords: dry brine turkey, dry brined turkey, herb and salt rubbed turkey, how to dry brine a turkey

Disclosure: This post is created in partnership with Sub-Zero Wolf. All thoughts are my own.

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63 comments

  1. fantastic! this was the BEST turkey we have ever made in 23 years! The dry brine made the turkey soft,  and tasty not hard and tasteless like the previous 23 years! love love it will always use this thank you!

  2. It was just wow! I made this dish and tried with my friends.

  3. Can I use this same recipe in chicken?

  4. This was sooooo soooo good! Even my tough to please brother in law said it was one of the best turkeys he has had! It was so juicy and full of flavor!

  5. Hands down the best turkey recipe I’ve tried! So incredibly moist and flavorful!

  6. This recipe is a keeper! It was my first time making a turkey (normally my mom does but we were separated because of COVID). I was intimidated by the thought of making the turkey myself, but this turkey was very easy flavorful and juicy. A winner for sure! 

  7. Do I cover or place my turkey in a bag when roasting it?
    Thanks

  8. I am going to go for it! I pick up my fresh turkey tomorrow, on Tuesday, before turkey day, so will do this dry brine, cover it up (probably with foil, I don’t have a bag) and let it sit covered in fridge the rest of tomorrow and overnight. Then uncover for Wednesday in fridge – and then Thursday morning I am READY! Can’t wait to try it!! Saying I am nervous is an understatement LOL

  9. Do you mix the salt with the herbs so that the salt goes under the skin? Or does the salt just go on the skin and in the cavity? Thanks! First time making a turkey. 

  10. Will this work on a stuffed turkey?

  11. Would you still do 4 days if you only have a turkey breast?  And, can you make gravy, or is it too salty?

  12. Great recipe. I just used this to make a test Turkey before Thanksgiving (it’s been a while since I’ve had to make the turkey and I have a new oven). I’ll be using this recipe for my actual Thanksgiving Turkey. Thank you

  13. I used this recipe with a 9 lb turkey for 2 nights in the fridge wrapped, then 1 night unwrapped since I didn’t have the full 4 days. It turned out flavourful & crispy! Thanks Gina!!

  14. Very nervous about having a thawed turkey for 4 days, resisting the urge to air dry tonight and roast 1 day early on Christmas eve. That said there isn’t a single comment saying that the turkey wen’t bad… fingers crossed!!

  15. Our turkey turned out absolutely 100% amazing!   Another winner recipe and we will keep this for next year.  We used the drippings for the gravy too!  Thank you as always!

  16. I used your dry brine on a turkey breast, and my son smoked it on Thanksgiving. Amazing!!

  17. This recipe came right on time. My daughter brought home a 20 lb turkey from work. I’ve never made a full turkey in my adult life. I followed this recipe (minus the sage) and it came out PERFECT.  My youngest who said she wasn’t going to eat any had multiple helpings. Definitely found my go to recipe if I ever find myself with another bird. This was so helpful and had perfect tips for different ovens. 

  18. Fabulous recipe!  We used a 12 lb fresh, organic turkey and didn’t adjust the ingredients. Turned out juicy and flavorful. Everyone loved it! 

  19. Made this for Thanksgiving this year…best turkey ever! My husband even ate the white meat, he never does. Under the crispy skin was that beautiful blend of herbs. I used melted butter instead of olive oil. I wish I could post a picture.Thank you for the recipe. 

    • I bought a frozen turkey before I saw this recipe. I would love to try it but am nervous about thawing the turkey for 3 days and then brining it for another 4. Do you feel that this will be safe?  Thanks and Happy  Thanksgiving. 

  20. How much extra time at 325 per extra pound of turkey? Mine is 17.5 lbs.

  21. Which cooking method would I use for my roaster that sits on my counter? Thank you. Have a happy thanksgiving! 

  22. I just read this… my turkey is thawed… is it to late?  I was going to put the brine together this morning so it’s just one 48 – 55 hours before I’ll put it in the oven…
    Thanks 

  23. This looks great, but I do not have enough time. Should I bother with a brine if I only have 2 days?

  24. How long would this need to cook if I spatchcock the turkey?

  25. In the picture it appears that the dry rub is used on the outside as well as under the skin, but the directions do not indicate that. Which is correct?

  26. Hi Gina…… our house absolutely loves all your recipes.  In regards to the salt…… do we use the Diamond Crystal Kosher salt or do they make an iodized table salt we need for this recipe?  Thank you so much and keep the recipes coming😊

  27. I am cooking only a 5lb turkey breast since it’s just the two of us. How would I adjust this recipe for a smaller turkey? 

  28. Oh boy! This is my first time making a turkey and I’m a bit hesitant(ok nervous). I also have a wolf range with two ovens and this article is so timely. Everything you make is so darn good, I know I can’t go wrong.

    Happy Thanksgiving Gina and family!!

  29. Does the turkey have to be thawed to use this process?  I was planning on doing your wet brine recipe so I removed turkey from freezer yesterday.  Definitely still thawing.

  30. Hi,  I really want to try this recipe.  I’ve never dry brined a turkey.  My only question is, can I do this in 3 days instead of 4?  I’m not picking up my turkey until tomorrow.  Thanks for the recipe!

  31. Can you make gravy from the drippings? or will it be too salty?

  32. Can you still stuff the bird or will the salt ruin the stuffing?

  33. Are those refrigerators on either side of the ovens? I can’t wait to see your new kitchen!

  34. Should the turkey be rinsed before roasting? I roasted chickens this way and they were very good but the broth was to salty to make gravy.

  35. On the recipe it says 1/4 cup salt. In another spot you say 1/4 for every 4 pound . I’m confused  . 

    • “Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 pounds.”

      • I have a turkey breast and when I opened it there was no skin. Is air drying going to make it too dry? Or should it kind of create it’s own crispy skin? I’m so nervous!

  36. If I am doing a turkey breast only , I can use the same spices and cook the breast as directed.??? We dont need a whole turkey at my house.

  37. I cook my turkey in a bag (designed for it). Would dry brining still work in this case?

  38. So tasty and description on how to do to make so tasty and nice turkey for thanksgivning is very good. Thanks you so much!