How to Dry-Brine a Turkey

Dry-brining yields a juicy, seasoned bird—minus the gallons of water and angst over where to put the bird bath. All you need is kosher salt.

1

Pick the Right Turkey

roast-turkey-pan-table
Photo by Penina Meisels/Getty Images

Opt for a natural or heritage turkey with no salt added, because you’ll be seasoning yourself. That means steer clear of kosher turkeys, which are pre-salted. It’s OK if you dry-brine a frozen or thawed turkey.

2

Calculate the Salt Ratio

Measure out 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. For a 12-pound bird, that means a little more than 2 tablespoons.

3

Give the Bird a Rub

Dry off the bird, then rub salt into the cavity, the legs, and the breast. If you’re working with a thawed bird, rub the salt under the skin. If it’s frozen, you can salt just the skin; the salt will seep in as the bird thaws.



4

Let the Turkey Rest

Seal the turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate, breast-side up, for one to two days (two is ideal). After a day, the salt will draw juices out of the turkey. The turkey will then reabsorb the juices, sucking the salt in with it.

5

Roast the Turkey

As you normally would.