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How To Dry Brine and Cook an Herb Butter Turkey

An excellent dry brine that makes for a flavorful and moist turkey! You can brine the turkey from 1-3 days.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword easy dinner recipe, holiday recipe, Thanksgiving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 1 turkey
Author Sun Basket Meal Delivery


For Dry Brine:

  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, if you live sugar free, skip it
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoon peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 dry bay leaves
  • Zest of two lemons
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 fresh turkey

Herbed Butter to Cook Turkey:

  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 3 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste, be generous
  • Additional herbs and 1 onion to place in cavity if desired


Dry Brine:

  1. Place a pan on medium heat. Add peppercorns and coriander and toast until peppercorns start to pop. While waiting for peppercorns to pop, remove thyme and rosemary leaves from stems
  2. When peppercorns begin to pop, remove from heat. Put peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary into a grinder (I use a coffee grinder) and grind until fine
  3. Use a microplane to scrape the zest off both lemons and orange, only scraping until the white appears, then move to a new area
  4. Mix together all herbs, zest, salt, sugar, and baking powder
  5. Pat turkey dry and sprinkle with dry brine, all over that turkey! Then massage the brine into the skin for a few minutes, place in a big plastic bag, seal it tight and place in the fridge for 1-3 days...the longer the better!

To Cook Turkey:

  1. Remove bird from refrigerator, wipe off brine with paper towel and allow turkey to come to room temperature
  2. Finely chop garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and then zest lemon
  3. Add herbs and lemon zest to butter, generously add sea salt and pepper to butter and mix well using a fork
  4. Use your hands to gently separate the skin of the turkey from the meat, then place 2/3 of the herbed butter under the skin, spreading out to cover as much of the turkey as you can. Melt remaining butter and pour over skin.

  5. If desired place additional herbs and one quartered onion into cavity of bird
  6. Then preheat oven to 425 degrees, place the turkey in oven and immediately turn heat down to 350 degrees, cook for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours depending on size. A stuffed turkey requires about 15 minutes per pound while unstuffed turkeys require 12-15 minutes per pound. Internal temperature should be between 150-160 degrees (using a meat thermometer takes the guess work out of it)

  7. Allow bird to rest under foil tent for 20 minutes, carve and enjoy your feast!