Dry-Brined Roast Turkey

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Prep Time: 90 minutes
Cook Time: 210 minutes
Servings: 12 to 14

An easy alternative to traditional liquid brines, our dry brine is an efficient way to prepare your most flavorful turkey yet. This recipe calls for a turkey between 18 and 20 lb. (9 and 10 kg). If you are cooking a smaller or larger bird, adjust the amount of brine and the roasting time accordingly.


  • 1 fresh turkey, 18 to 20 lb. (9 to 10 kg), neck and giblets removed
  • 2 cups (9 oz./255 g) dry brine
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted


Set a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet and place the turkey on the rack. Rub 1/2 cup (64 g) dry brine on the back side of the turkey, 1/2 cup (64 g) on the legs and 1 cup (127 g) on the breast. Cover the turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and preferably 24 hours.

Thoroughly rinse the turkey with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C).

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C). Continue roasting, brushing the turkey with the melted butter and any juices that have accumulated in the pan every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165°F (74°C) and into the thigh registers 175°F (80°C), 2 1/2 to 3 hours more. If the turkey begins to brown too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 14.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

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