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Finding just the right recipe and cooking time for turkey can be tricky, so I’ve tested a turkey every week for the past month and a half in order to get to the moist juicy bird for this recipe. I was a little concerned that by the time Thanksgiving Day arrived the kids would look at the turkey and say, “again?!”, but so far I haven’t heard any protests from them (they both adore sliced turkey topped with tons of cranberry sauce, but you never know with kids).

Even though my father-in-law declares in his charming New York accent that my Brined Turkey is “the best turkey ever,” I just wasn’t sure if I could deal this year with the over-sized stock pot filled with brine and a 16 pound bird. Last year, I nearly threw out my back lugging the pot around and the year before, 1/2 of the turkey brine poured out ALL over the floor when I tripped over it trying to answer the phone. I thought I would never do a brine again, but alas, it’s so delicious I can’t resist. Oh, the joys of the holidays!

This is the easiest method of brining I’ve ever tried. Just rub the brine all over your bird and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for one to two days to dry out — easy peasy and no rivers of turkey juice running all over. Tender and juicy inside with crispy herbed skin outside, this turkey will be as delicious on Thanksgiving Day as it is in your leftovers all weekend long!


Herb Brined Turkey

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Servings: 8
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 3 hours 50 minutes
Total Time 1000 days 3 hours 50 minutes


  • 1 12-14 pound whole turkey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken stock


  • Remove the giblets from the turkey (to save for the gravy), wash and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Whisk the salt and herbs in a bowl until combined.
  • Rub the salt/herb mixture all over the turkey, inside and out.
  • Place the turkey on a rack on a large plate or baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered, for 24-48 hours.
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Tuck the wings behind the neck to avoid burning and place the turkey on a roasting rack, breast side down, pour 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock into the roasting pan and reduce the cooking temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Cook the turkey for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the turkey breast side up, roast the turkey an additional 2 hours minutes – 2 hours and 15 minutes, basting every 30 minutes and turning the turkey pan halfway through the cooking time (if the breast becomes too dark cover with foil).
  • Place a meat thermometer in the deepest part of thigh, but being careful not to touch the bone, until you have an internal temperature of 165-170 F.
  • Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before slicing (this allows the juices to redistribute, making the turkey super juicy).
  • Serve.


Calories: 630kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 116g | Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 360mg | Sodium: 1620mg | Sugar: 1g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. Yes. Cook the turkey for 1:45 and start checking it to make sure it gets to the correct internal temperature.

  2. I will be using a 8 – 9 lb turkey this year as only two people eat it. I am assuming you can reduce cooking time because of size difference.

  3. I’ve been making turkey brine for three years now, I fill a cooler with ice and water with 2 cups of kosher salt, immerse the turkey in it overnight. When ready to bake i rub butter and herbs all over and it’s the best turkey I ever had. You won’t go back to ho-hum turkey recipes.

  4. Yes, you can use it for a turkey breast! I would brine in for a day, but more time is fine too.

  5. Do you think I could use this recipe for a turkey breast? It is just my husband and two very young kids (one which will probably totally pass on turkey). Do you know how I can alter the recipe?

  6. I like to say 2 1/2 hours for a 12 pound turkey. It’s so hard to gauge b/c everyone’s oven is different. Since the turkey starts at 450 and turns to 350 degrees it’s getting a blast of heat. It may take a few minutes more then 2 1/2 hours total for a 12 pound turkey, so it’s important to use your meat thermometer to check. The temperature will also rise about 5 degrees in the last 30 minutes when the turkey is out of the oven.

  7. So it looks like the total cooking time is only 2 and 1/2 hrs. Seems short, so I just wanted to clarify. I’m going to try it on Thursday! Thx.

  8. Great question! I just rinse mine with cold water, place it on paper towels and blot until dry inside and out.

  9. When a recipe says “wash” the bird (chicken or turkey), then pat dry etc.. what exactly does that mean? Rinse with cold water, wash with soap, wash with salt ? Been looking online and I see many different ideas.

    Thank you!! (love all your recipes!)

  10. Nope. I only cover the breast at the end with a piece of foil if the skin begins to overly darken.

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