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

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For an impressive main course, look here. The moist, flavorful bird will have guests counting the minutes until carving time. — Scott Rugh, Portland, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + marinating Bake: 3-3/4 hours + standing
MAKES:14 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + marinating Bake: 3-3/4 hours + standing
MAKES: 14 servings


  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 2 large turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

10 ounces cooked turkey: 834 calories, 58g fat (25g saturated fat), 314mg cholesterol, 658mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 73g protein.


  1. In a large kettle, combine the salt, brown sugar, sage, thyme, rosemary and 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add the cold water to cool the brine to room temperature.
  2. Place a turkey-size oven roasting bag inside a second roasting bag; add turkey. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bags and turn to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Drain and discard brine; rinse turkey and pat dry. Tie drumsticks together. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. With fingers, carefully loosen skin from turkey breast; rub half of the butter mixture under skin. Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks. Rub remaining butter mixture over skin.
  4. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°; bake 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours longer or until thermometer reads 180°, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.
  5. Remove turkey to a serving platter; cover and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Yield: 14 servings.
Editor’s Note: It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.
Originally published as Herb-Brined Turkey in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2012, p48

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

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lauramarielawson User ID: 5246360 214460
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2014

"So good! Best turkey I've had."

TJPitt User ID: 6852715 194632
Reviewed Jan. 29, 2014

"This was, by far and away, the best turkey I've ever had - let alone cooked. Be sure to rinse the turkey very well, or your gravy may be a bit salty. I will be serving this recipe for all my Christmases to come."

kyrajo User ID: 3262743 116567
Reviewed Nov. 11, 2013

"Yes, brined turkey is the only way to go. My family loves it."

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