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Dry-Rubbed Roast Turkey

Dry-Rubbed Roast Turkey

Our never-fail turkey produces a holiday centerpiece that is excellent in every way that other turkeys often fall short. It’s not bland, thanks to a sugar-and-salt dry rub. It’s juicy as heck, because we nailed the optimal target temperature (might as well write 150° on your hand now). And cooking the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet is great for all-over browning, but be extra careful as you remove it from the oven so that the drippings don’t slosh over the sides.


  • ½ cup Diamond Crystal or ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 12–14-lb. turkey, neck reserved for gravy, giblets discarded, patted dry
  • 12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 2x1" strips orange zest

Recipe Preparation

  • Place salt and brown sugar in a medium bowl and work together with your fingers until incorporated. Place turkey on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. (If you don’t have this setup, place your turkey on a V-shape rack set inside a large roasting pan.) Sprinkle dry brine all over outside and inside of turkey, patting to adhere and nudging some into crevices. You won’t need all of the dry brine, but it’s good to have extra since some of it will end up on the baking sheet as you season the turkey. Chill bird, uncovered, at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.

  • Remove turkey from wire rack and rinse baking sheet and rack if needed (turkey will most likely release some liquid onto pan). Line baking sheet with 3 layers of foil and set rack back inside. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack and tuck wings underneath. Let turkey sit at room temperature 2–3 hours.

  • Place an oven rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. Using your fingers, loosen skin on breast. Work 4 Tbsp. butter under skin, spreading evenly over both breasts. Smear outside of turkey with another 4 Tbsp. butter.

  • Tie legs together with kitchen twine and pour 1 cup water into baking sheet.

  • Roast turkey, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is mostly golden brown all over, about 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cook vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic, orange zest, and remaining 4 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting and keep glaze warm.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 300° and continue to roast turkey, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding more water by ½-cupfuls as needed to maintain some liquid in baking sheet, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast near the neck registers 150° (don’t worry; the temperature will continue to climb while the bird rests), 65–85 minutes longer. Skin should be deep golden brown, shiny, and crisp. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving.

Related Video

Andy Makes Thanksgiving Turkey

Reviews Sectionthis is my second time making this recipe. i used a 20 lb turkey, so i made twice as much glaze. delicious!! even better than the first one.notkingkermitBinger, Oklahoma, USA01/01/20We made this last year for Christmas and we’re making it again this year. Simple yet delicious, just right.AnonymousLeeds, UK12/24/19Had 15 LB turkey. Followed directions except did not bring to room temp before cooking. Cooked to 165 and rested for 1 hour.breast meat was done and very moist. But thighs were not cooked thoroughly. Why did the thighs not cook will make again but want to solve the undercooked thigh issue.JohnJohn123Florida12/15/19I made this for Thanksgiving this year and HOLY COW. The best turkey I have ever had. The skin is delicious. That glaze is perfect. The meat is insanely moist and flavorful. Will always dry brine my turkey. This was the first year where I loved the breast meat more than the dark meat. I got so many compliments on it and I’m making it again tonight with an extra turkey we have. Perfect turkey.ramonadelaineCalifornia12/07/19I used this recipe for Thanksgiving this year. It was absolutely amazing. My family couldn't stop talking about how juicy and flavorful my BIRD was. I wish I could upload a picture of my Turkey so you could see how beautifully it came out. This will definitely be my go to recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing it!Made this turkey and it was a huge success! My family said it was the best turkey they'd ever had! I do have a couple of things I need to say though. I reccomend that you go higher than 150°F. Next time, I'll probably go to 160°F as the dark meat was a little undercooked.notkingkermitBinger, Oklahoma, USA12/01/19I would give this recipe a 4/5 star for flavor, tenderness and crispy skin texture. Although, taking the bird (same size turkey Andy used) out at 150 degrees temped at the breast was incorrect. My turkey was still a little raw at the cavity base of the bird and i had to spatchcock my turkey to get it fully cooked (I honestly wasn't trying to get food poisoning during the holidays) LOL.This was my first turkey and it was a huge success. The video was a help. Andy, you’re a cutie. I did tweak the recipe a bit. I opted NOT to baste every half hour based on other turkey cooking theories. Many chefs say basting often cools down the oven and if you add enough butter the turkey will be perfectly moist. I basted once after an hour and kept adding water to the bottom of the pan. I added sage, rosemary and thyme to the butter. I also, put some onion, herbs and oranges in the cavity. After 1.5 hours I made a foil tent around the turkey to prevent it from burning. I used the remainder of the glaze when I removed the turkey from the oven and as a side sauce!LincolnsmomNew York City11/29/19Made this for Thanksgiving yesterday, and it turned out perfectly. I had a 12 pound turkey and it cooked in 1.5 hours total, and the breast was actually around 160 when I took it out. So definitely check the temperature sooner rather than later!Absolutely delicious! I bought a 20lb turkey and was told (and read) it takes 20mins per pound which is about 6.5 hours but my turkey was actually reading 150F closer to 4.5 hours. To be safe, I left it in for the whole 6.5 hours (also because the party didn’t start till 2 hours later) and everyone still thought it was juicy. Additional, I bought a syringe and inserted it’s juices back into the meat each time I glazed it, which I think helped too.Everyone was asking about this recipe, thanks!!!BanannieNew York 11/27/19Made it today for my first time ever. SO GOOD! IT WAS NOT DRY AT ALL. I feel the glaze and dry Brine HELP ALOOOT. I added more herbs(thyme and rosemary) and i put carrots and herbs in the cavity as well. Roasted at 400 like the recipe says and then finished at 350 instead of 300, for almost 2 or so hours. While basting every 30 mins. I used a meat thermometer to be sure. and I substituted the sherry vinegar with red wine vinegar because that's all i had. Tasted great! Also i didn't have a wire rack so i used cut up celery and carrots on the bottomom of a roast pan. (Use what u have) i put a bit of water in the pan while it roasted and let it sit for an hour before carving! Perfect and easy!CececashCalifornia11/25/19*Correction to review: we baked for 60 minutes after roasting, then temped; not 90 min. (Rating at 4 to not skew the current review average)ninjaminEast-Central Texas11/19/19I made this turkey last year, and I have to say it was so good I will make it this year again, juicy inside crispy outside, I mean PERFECT!AnonymousCooper City, Florida11/19/19We followed this recipe exactly—other than the fact that we didn’t have a baking wire rack large enough so we used a “turkey pan”—with a ~15-20 lb turkey (didn’t have exact weight). We used an oven thermometer and instant read thermometer that were both NSF-rated, so regardless of what the oven “said” it was set to, the actual temperature was correct. Our bird was in the oven for a total of 2 hours (30 min at 450 °F crisping, 90 minutes at 300 °F baking, removing every 30 minutes to baste, as directed). We temped the thickest part of the breast at the end of the 3rd bake cycle. It read about 170°F, with the thigh about 180 and the leg about 185. Next time we will temp at the end of the 2nd bake cycle; we didn’t expect it to be done so soon. We let rest about 30-40 minutes before carving. Even though it was over-cooked, it was still really good, only the leg meat was particularly dry.As with any baking, use a calibrated oven thermometer, as every oven is different and some are REALLY different.10/10 would bake again.ninjaminEast-Central Texas11/19/19I haven't made this yet, but I have a question. Can you stuff this turkey, or do you need to cook the stuffing separately?AnonymousScottsdale, AZ11/16/19Followed the recipe exactly. Turkey very undercooked. Either the cook time or the 300 degree temperature was way off. Please update the recipe so all Bon Appétit subscribers will know the correct cook time and/or oven temperature.Robin E.Long Island03/09/19Absolutely! It was the Best Turkey I’ve ever had!!! Everyone raved about it! I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to eat it any other way!!!! Seriously, the best.Recipe states 65-80 minutes. I'm at 3.5 hours and only at 145 degrees. I believe the 300 temp and the constant opening of the oven every 30 minutes to base is flawed. Not sure how this is going to end up but with a home filled with people this is not the time to experiment.AnonymousNew York 12/25/18Would any know how long to bake the bird if you are spatchcocking the turkey?AnonymousSt Louis12/15/18I made this for Thanksgiving and it came out perfect! Not dry at all. Definitely recommend!I made this turkey ( as did a friend I recommended the recipe to ) and was very disappointed. The breast was at the temperature suggested, but the leg/thigh were not close. We both followed the recipe, let the turkey rest, etc. What went wrong?I made this turkey for my Thanksgiving table this year, and it was delicious! I love that it used a dry brine; it made it so easy and mess-free, and added a really nice crispiness to my turkey. I do think you need to be careful how much of the brine you use, because my turkey was a liiiiiittle on the salty side. I cooked it to 160 instead of 150, and allowed it to rest for an hour, and it was still incredibly moist and juicy all over! Overall, this was a great homage to the classic Thanksgiving turkey. I definitely wouldn't complain though if Andy decided to share a tandoori turkey or pomegranate yogurt turkey recipe next year...isheetaCalifornia11/26/18I made this for my annual Friendsgiving party. I had never roasted a turkey before, but this recipe helped me knock it out of the park! After the first 30 minutes at 450, I turned the oven down to 300. Being a bit paranoid of undercooking, I waited until my meat thermometer hit 160, then let it rest for an hour. It was moist, flavorful, and hands-down the best roasted turkey I've ever eaten. I got tons of compliments from my guests as well. This will be my go-to recipe each year.verticalQLouisville, KY11/25/18Made this for Thanksgiving this year and it was a huge hit! The flavor of the glaze was fantastic, and the process was SO easy compared to other recipes I've used. A note, though, as I've seen in other reviews. My oven is not commercial/industrial grade and so I knew that my turkey wouldn't be done if I were to follow the instructions. In the video with Andy, it says that some people cook it at 350°, so instead of doing either, I did 325°. I didn't take it out at 150° (even if the meat does rise during sit time). I took mine out at 155°thermometer reading, and let it sit for an hour. There were still parts of it that were not done, but it was easy to carve up, set in a pan, and cook at 350° for 20 or so minutes (covered with foil). Any pieces that weren't done were finished and this process DID NOT dry the turkey out. It was still tender and moist, and the skin was still good as well. I gave this recipe a 5-star because the flavor was so good and it was such an easy process. Now that I understand how MY particular oven cooks, next year's turkey will be a breeze! Thank you!!klynnhKernersville, NC11/23/18Holy cow! That was hands down the absolute B-E-S-T turkey I have ever eaten. The family was all over it. For the first time I can ever remember, they were asking for seconds of TURKEY. I didnt even put gravy or my fave, cranberries, on it--so didnt need it. Didnt want to obscure the essence of the glaze. I will be making turkey again and again during the year. Thanks, Andy.JJEncinitasEncinitas CA11/23/18

Watch the video: How to Dry Brine a Turkey. Holiday Tips and Recipe Ideas. Whole Foods Market (October 2020).