Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey Recipe
Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey Recipe

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Brining a turkey is all about adding moisture for a tender, juicy bird. We flavor our brine with parsley, rosemary and a touch of thyme. —Felicia Saathoff, Vashon, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. + brining Bake: 2-1/2 hours + standing
MAKES:16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. + brining Bake: 2-1/2 hours + standing
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups salt
  • 10 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 7 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 4-1/2 quarts cold water
  • 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Nutritional Facts

9 ounces cooked turkey with skin: 480 calories, 23g fat (7g saturated fat), 215mg cholesterol, 258mg sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 63g protein.


  1. In a large stockpot, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat. Add cold water to cool the brine to room temperature.
  2. Place one oven roasting bag inside the other. Place turkey inside both bags; pour in cooled brine. Seal bags, pressing out as much air as possible; turn to coat turkey. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Refrigerate 18-24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove turkey from brine; rinse and pat dry. Discard brine. Place turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Rub oil over outside of turkey; sprinkle with pepper and, if desired, salt.
  4. Roast, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170°-175°. (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.)
  5. Remove turkey from oven; tent with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving. Yield: 16 servings.
Editor’s Note: If using a prebasted turkey, omit 1/2 teaspoon salt sprinkled on outside of turkey.
Originally published as Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey in Taste of Home November 2014, p43

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scrambledwithcheese User ID: 1233902 214953
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2014

"Came out great. I used less salt than called for because I had a pre-basted turkey and was worried about it being too salty, and I didn't notice the footnote. Next time I will use the full amount of salt except not sprinkle it on the outside. I will definitely make this again. turkey did not brown as well as the skin seemed soggy but I didn't care."

havingfunwithmyfamily User ID: 7043692 123214
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2014

"This was the first time I've use brine on a turkey. I certainly kept the turkey moist. The herbs and spices looked beautiful. They smelled wonderful."

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