Simple Succulent Dry Brined Roast Turkey

Simple Succulent Dry Brined Roast Turkey - You will never use another method again! Dry brining will give you a phenomenally moist, tender, deep flavor filled turkey.

Simple, succulent dry brined roast turkey is what Thanksgiving dreams are made of. Dry brined roast turkey is my new and forever method of cooking a turkey. Dry brining will give you the most phenomenally moist, tender, deep flavor filled turkey. Flavored all the way through the meat.

I was tired of filling a large bucket with a brining solution, making room in the fridge and making sure that stupid bird stayed submerged.

Simple Succulent Dry Brined Roast Turkey

Last year I started experimenting with this method of dry brining. It’s absolutely BRILLIANT! I will never wet brine again.  I used it here with our Homemade Cajun Turkey Deli Meat. I’m sorry, I know I’ve told you how to wet brine and what a great method it was. Forget what I said, but don’t lose trust. Even better with this method is you can start it while the turkey is still frozen.  It does take some planning but it is well worth the time and effort.

With dry brining, the salt draws moisture from the meat, but then the meat reabsorbs the liquid. So in effect, you’re brining the turkey in its own juices. Pulling the herb flavors deep into the meat. Giving you full turkey flavor! No, it’s not salty at all.

small glass ramekin with salt and herbs blended

DO NOT USE a self-basting turkey, they have already been brined. Use 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. Flavor it with an herb mixture of your choice. We love bay leaves and dried thyme. It just screams Thanksgiving. Use a spice grinder or small food processor to grind the herbs with the salt.

raw turkey rubbed with salt mixture and wrapped in a turkey oven bag

Season the inside of the turkey lightly with the salt mixture. Salt the skin of the breasts with about 1 tablespoon, concentrating the salt where the meat is thickest. Turn it on the side and salt the entire side making sure to put ample amount on the thigh, flip to the other side and repeat. Place the turkey in an oven bag or wrap with several layers of plastic wrap and place it on a baking tray. (It will leak) Refrigerate for up to 3 days. During the refrigeration time give it a rub down every so often.

raw turkey in a foil lined roasting pan

Remove the turkey, let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before cooking. DO NOT RINSE – rinsing will make the skin less crispy. The salt should be completely dissolved. Pat the turkey dry one last time. The recipe I used said for really crispy skin take it out of the bag and refrigerate uncovered overnight. I didn’t do it this particular time and the skin was still extra crispy and golden. It also said place the turkey breast side down during the 30-minute cooking. I have done this before but I didn’t find it necessary, so I skipped that part of the process. It was also really cumbersome to do.

golden brown roasted turkey up close

Place the turkey in a 425º oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325º and cook another 2 1/2 – 2 hrs 45 minutes.  Because Dry brine turkeys tend to cook faster, so check the internal temperature early.

whole roasted golden brown turkey on a white platter garnished with parsley

Remove from the oven when the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165º degrees. Tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

slice of turkey dripping juice

Carve and serve to your hungry guest who smelled this scrumptious bird the minute they walked into your home.

whole roasted golden brown turkey on white platter garnished with parsley

I sacrificed a Sunday in September to bring you this simple succulent dry brined roast turkey, just so you could enjoy it this Thanksgiving, Christmas or both. My husband will tell you it was no sacrifice at all.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Succulent Dry Brined Roast Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simple Succulent Dry Brined Roast Turkey - You will never use another method again! Dry brining will give you a phenomenally moist, tender, deep flavor filled turkey.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 12-14
  • 1 12 to 16-pound turkey (not self-basting) - partially frozen will work
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
  1. Remove the turkey from the packaging, pat dry.
  2. Measure 1 tablespoon of kosher salt in a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd need 3 tablespoons). Grind together the bay leaf and dried thyme with the salt in a spice grinder or small food processor.
  3. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the skin of the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. (Probably about 1 tablespoon) Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. ( a little less than a tablespoon.) Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.
  4. Place the turkey in an oven bag, press out the air and seal tightly or wrap the bird in a few layers of plastic wrap. Place the turkey breast-side up on a baking tray in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days*. Rub the salt around once a day. (Liquid will collect in the bag—this is normal)
  5. For the crispiest skin, the night before, remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour (do not rinse—rinsing will make the skin less crispy). Heat the oven to 425° F.
  7. Pat dry one last time. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325° F, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165° F, about 2¾ hours total roasting. The last 30 minutes of roasting brush the turkey with melted butter, if desired.
  8. Remember dry-brined turkey cooks more quickly than one that hasn't been brined, it's best to check the temperature early with this recipe, it may be done faster than you think.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let rest at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat.
  10. Carve and serve.
*Brine at least 24 hours before cooking up to three days.
Our turkey was almost 15lbs. We used 3 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 large bay leaf.
You can cook stuffing in the turkey. Use a little less salt than normal in the mix.
Simple Succulent Roast Turkey (Dry Brine) - You will never use another method again! Dry brining will give you the most moist, tender, flavor filled turkey you have ever eaten.

More Delicious Recipes for your Thanksgiving and/or Christmas Feast

Easy Creamy Carrot Souffle

baked carrot souffle in a white oval casserole dish

Creamy Herb Potatoes Gratin

baked gratin serving in a spoon over the dish

Southern Cornbread Dressing

serving of dressing held over the baking dish

Shared at Link Parties & Weekend Potluck


  1. Reply

    I’ve never tried a dry brine. It sure sounds less fickle! Will have to give it a try. Your end result looks mighty tasty!

    1. Reply

      You HAVE to try this, Maria. This is no-joke, the way to go. The bird is so moist, the skin is brown and crispy. And the herbs flavor the meat throughout. It really is the last turkey recipe/instructions you will ever need. We’ve been chasing this for a few years now and we finally crushed it. Let us know how it turned out if you give it whirl!

  2. Reply

    This turkey looks amazing. I’ve never brined one before. I have to give this a try!

  3. Reply

    Just hopped over from tip junkie. Looks delicious!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much, Kenyatta! It’s the only way we do turkey anymore. You will be shocked at the flavor and moisture of the meat.

  4. Reply

    This looks amazing! I do a wet brine, and can’t wait to try this dry one. Thanks so much for an amazing recipe and sharing at Mix it up Monday 🙂

  5. Reply

    Can I still stuff my turkey with this method? My family prefers stuffing inside the turkey?

    1. Reply

      Hi, Jessica! Yes, you can stuff a dry-brined turkey. I hope you give it a try and let us know what you think.

  6. Reply

    In the list of ingredients i is optional for butter but in the directions it never mentions why to do with butter. When do u use the melted butter?

    1. Reply

      Hi, Mike! Step 7 states in the last 30 minutes of roasting is when you would brush the bird with the melted butter. I hope you try this method it is absolutely THE BEST!

  7. Reply

    Doesn’t the wet brine help the meat be more moist? Does this dry brine produce meat that is just as moist? Trying to convince my husband to give this a try!

    1. Reply

      Hey, Mary! Convince him! Yes, the wet brine produces a moister meat. But the meat tends to be spongy. The dry brine is super moist, tender, FULL of flavor and not spongy. This is the only method we use now. My turkey is thawing in the fridge as I type and I will be dry brining it tonight. I cannot emphasize enough how much better this method is compared to wet brine. You can’t go wrong!

  8. Reply

    Hi! I read your previous post about brining a turkey breast and saw the update for dry brine. I am planning on cooking a 4.75lb turkey breast in our crock pot. Can I still use this dry brine method, or would a wet brine still be better? Does it also reduce cooking time in a crock pot? Thank you for your help!

    1. Reply

      Hi, Leanna! We have never cooked a turkey breast in a crockpot. But you can certainly still do the dry brine and use a thermometer to test the temp while cooking. Thank you so much for coming by, hope you enjoy the dry brine like we do!

  9. Reply

    Do I baste at all while roasting?

    1. Reply

      Sorry, we got to this so late, but we were eating the turkey as well. 🙂

      No, there is no need for basting the bird.

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