How to Make Perfect Brined & Roasted Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is how I make perfect turkey – every time.
Recipe type: Holiday Recipes
Serves: 1 turkey
  • For the Brine:
  • 3 c apple juice
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1½ c kosher salt
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 1 Tb whole peppercorns
  • 1 Tb crushed rosemary leaves (1/4 c if using fresh)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 onion
  • For the Turkey:
  • 1 whole turkey (giblets and such removed)
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 apples (cut into wedges)
  • 1 onion (peeled & cut into wedges)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  1. To begin, combine the juice, water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, rosemary and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Cut the peels off of the oranges. Toss the peels into the stock pot. Squeeze the oranges into the stock pot and then toss them in as well. Peel the onion, cut it into wedges and add it to the stock pot.
  2. Bring everything up to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve all of the salt. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. That will take a while, but be patient.
  3. When the brine is cooled, place your turkey, neck end down, into a food safe 5 gallon bucket. Carefully pour the brine into the bucket with the turkey.
  4. Cover the bucket with foil or a lid (if you have one) and place the bucket into a tub of ice to keep everything cold. Allow the turkey to soak in the brine for 24 hours. Monitor your ice tub and add ice if you need to.
  5. Now to roast this lovely bird!
  6. Lower your oven racks to position the turkey in the middle of the oven. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  7. When you are ready to bake your bird, carefully pull it out of the bucket and rinse it under cold water in the sink (inside and out). Set it in the sink over a rack to allow any excess liquid to drain out. Pat it dry with paper towels and then place it in your roasting pan.
  8. In the cavity of the turkey, place the apples, onion, fresh rosemary and thyme.
  9. Slice the stick of cold. unsalted butter into about 8 or 10 slices. Slide your hands under the skin, over the turkey breasts and make a space in there – but be sure not to puncture the skin. Place half of the butter on each side, spread out over the turkey breasts.
  10. Grab some kitchen twine and tie a piece around the turkey, pinning the wings against the sides. This keeps the wings from overcooking and the tips from burning. Rub the extra virgin olive oil all over the outside of the turkey.
  11. Place your turkey in the oven. I highly recommend using an in-oven baking thermometer that you can monitor from outside the oven. The probe should be placed in the thickest part of the turkey breast.
  12. Bake the turkey at the high temperature for 30 minutes. After about 15 – 20 minutes, begin keeping any eye on the turkey. When it is getting near the color you would like it to be, carefully pull the roasting pan out of the oven. Cover the turkey with a tent of foil, and then return it to the oven and continue the baking time.
  13. After the 30 minutes of baking at the high temperature, reduce the heat to 350 degrees. A 15-16 pound turkey will be done in about 2½ hours. Your roasting time will be based upon the size of your turkey. Trust your thermometer.
  14. When your turkey reaches 165 degrees on the thermometer, remove it from the oven. It is done! Now just let it rest – still covered with the foil – for 15-20 minutes.
  15. Then carve and enjoy your perfect turkey.
  16. Happy Thanksgiving!
Recipe by Cosmopolitan Cornbread at