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Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Dry-brining a turkey ensures a moist and seasoned bird that also takes up less space in the refrigerator than a wet-brined one. Don't dry-brine a kosher (previously salted) turkey; the result will be too salty.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Photography: Marcus Nilsson

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2013


  • 1 14-pound turkey, neck and heart reserved for Turkey Stock
  • 1/3 cup coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 cup water
  • Turkey Gravy (optional)


  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Combine salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons salt mixture evenly inside body cavity, then rub remainder all over outside of bird. Tuck wings under turkey and wrap in plastic wrap, or place in an oven bag, pressing out all air. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate 24 hours.

  2. Remove plastic from turkey; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lower third. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Pour water into pan and roast turkey 1 hour.

  3. Remove turkey from oven and check temperature. A thermometer inserted in breast should read 165 degrees. If it doesn't, continue to roast turkey up to 30 minutes more, checking temperature every 10 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and let rest at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving. If making turkey gravy, use only 2 tablespoons of defatted drippings (they're much saltier from a brined bird).


Reviews (5)

  • MaryEBJ 24 Nov, 2014

    When is the 1 cup of water used?

  • ktrose403 27 Nov, 2013

    Made this turkey recipe on Sunday. My 15 lb turkey took 2.5 hours to cook at 425 degrees after resting for an hour at room temp. Give yourself extra time.

  • FierroA 22 Nov, 2013

    It is impossible to roast an WHOLE 14 lb bird in one hour. I realize a moderator commented and confirmed this to be true. But, it takes 2+ hours to roast a full turkey breast, in a calibrated oven at 425 degrees. Either you guys need to fess up and edit this recipe to read one, split turkey breast, or prove it, with a video, because that is the only thing you can brine and roast in one hour at 425 degrees. This recipe may spell disaster for many novel cooks this Thanksgiving.

  • MSLO Moderator 6 Nov, 2013

    The cook time (minimum 1 hour at 425 degrees F) is correct.

    To ensure success on the big day: To determine whether your oven is accurately calibrated, use a mercury oven thermometer (sold at cooking supply stores). A thermometer will indicate how hot or cool your oven runs. Adjust the oven temperature up or down as needed; a service professional can re-calibrate your oven. Doneness should be determined by the result desired in the recipe - not the time. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • GooniesAndy 28 Oct, 2013

    I haven't made this recipe yet, but I am questioning the fact that it says to cook it for one hour? One hour for a fourteen-pound turkey just seems virtually impossible. Even with the "up to 30 minutes" more. When I've cooked a turkey without basting it was ready in about 2.5 hours, which seemed crazy.

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