Save on Pinterest

Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey

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


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Remove turkey from oven; tent with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.
Editor’s Note: If using a prebasted turkey, omit 1/2 teaspoon salt sprinkled on outside of turkey.
Nutrition 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.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • MeLisa MD
    Nov 12, 2017

    Sooo good. The turkey and broth made the best dressing ever.

  • scrambledwithcheese
    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
    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.