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A browned turkey on a platter with fresh herbs and cranberries.
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4.94 from 16 votes

Dry Brine Turkey with Garlic Butter Rub

The process of dry brining creates this incredibly tender, juicy turkey with beautifully browned, crispy skin.  This Dry Brine Turkey with Garlic Butter will make a gorgeous centerpiece for your holiday table.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 to 12
Calories: 744kcal


  • 12 to 16 pound natural turke safely thawed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • kitchen twine, for tying legs together

Dry Brine (per 5 pounds of turkey weight)

  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground kosher salt (per 5 pounds of turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (per 5 pounds of turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage (per 5 pounds of turkey)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (per 5 pounds of turkey)

Garlic Butter Rub:

  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder


  • 1 carrot scrubbed clean and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small unpeeled orange sliced into wedges


Prepare the Turkey:

  • Remove the packaging (in or next to sink) and remove the giblets. Transfer the turkey to a large sheet of heavy duty foil for easy cleanup. Pat the cavity and exterior of the turkey dry with paper towels. 
  • Combine the Dry Brine ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of the dry brine inside the cavity and use your hand to spread it around. Gently lift skin on breast portion and carefully reach inside and coat as much of the breast meat as possible with a couple of teaspoons of the brine. Sprinkle the remaining brine all over the outside of the turkey. 
  • Transfer the seasoned turkey to a rack in your roasting pan (or a rimmed baking sheet). Cover it securely with plastic wrap - I used 5 or 6 sheets to cover my big roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to the refrigerator and forget about it for 24 to 48 hours. 
  • Remove the plastic wrap and let the bird sit uncovered in the refrigerator for an additional 8 to 24 hours.
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before you are ready to roast it. Stand the turkey up to pour out and discard any liquid that might have collected in the cavity and pour off or blot up any juices that have collected in the pan. Place the turkey back on the roasting rack. If you chilled your turkey on a baking sheet, transfer it to a rack in a roasting pan now.

Roast the Turkey

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the butter, olive oil, and granulated garlic in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Stuff the turkey cavity with the carrot, onion, and orange.
  • Scoop up some of the garlic butter mixture with your hand and spread it under the skin of both turkey breasts. Spread the remaining butter mixture over the outside of the turkey, being sure to get into all the nooks and crevices of the wings and legs. Tuck wings securely under the body and use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. Pour about 2 cups of broth into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Transfer the roasting pan to the preheated 325 degree oven. Allow the turkey to roast for about 45 minutes and then baste it once every 20 to 30 minutes or so throughout the remainder of the roasting time, adding additional broth if it begins to evaporate from bottom of pan. Rotate the pan in the oven about halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. Tent with foil once skin is browned to your liking. 
  • Roast until the internal temperature of the meatiest portion of the thigh registers a solid 165 degrees. The roasting time should range from approximately 3 to 4-1/2 hours if your turkey is between 12 to 16 pounds.
  • Remove the turkey from oven, tent it loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before carving.


The amounts listed for the dry brine are per 5 pounds of turkey. For instance, for a 15 pound turkey you would use:
  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Cooking time is approximate and will depend on the size of your turkey. Total time does not include brining time in refrigerator.


Calories: 744kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 107g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 348mg | Sodium: 1455mg | Potassium: 1236mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1544IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 5mg