Rosemary & Orange Dry-Brined Turkey

Lunch / Dinner

Rosemary & Orange Dry-Brined Turkey

This Thanksgiving turkey is special because it relies on a rosemary & orange dry brine marinade — a method of adding flavor by “immersing” the bird with just herbs, spices, seasoning, and no liquid other than a touch of olive oil. Dry-brining allows the aromatic seasonings to permeate the turkey as it chills. And refrigerating it, uncovered, helps create extra-crispy skin.


12 servings

Total Time

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Turkey Breast Carving, 2 Ways

  1. Turn the cavity towards you and find the breastbone (it’s in the middle). Cut all the way down one side of the bone, staying as close to it as you can. Then make similar cuts for thin slices.

  2. After cutting down the breast bone, above, make a deep cut parallel to the wing all the way to the rib cage. The breast should start to “fall” away from the body — carefully trim it free and repeat on other side (breast). For tenderness, slice the breasts crosswise. A ½-inch slice is impressive.


Combine sage, rosemary, garlic, zest, salt, brown sugar, and pepper; add oil to make a paste.

Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Trim excess fat and skin from turkey. Transfer bird to a baking sheet lined with a rack.

Slide your hand at the cavity end between skin and breast meat and legs, breaking through the thin membrane between skin and meat, leaving skin intact.

Rub paste under skin starting with legs then over the entire breast. Place skin back in position; massage skin to evenly distribute paste. Rub any remaining paste over wings. Loosely tie legs together with string.

Transfer turkey to lowest shelf in refrigerator, uncovered, for 24–36 hours. (If your refrigerator doesn't have space to avoid potential cross contamination, wrap turkey and pan completely with plastic wrap, then chill.)

Preheat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before roasting, unwrapping if applicable.

Roast turkey 1½–2 hours; remove from oven and squeeze juice from reserved oranges over breast and legs. (Check turkey’s temperature with a thermometer to gauge how quickly it’s roasting.)

Add 1 cup of water to baking sheet. Continue roasting turkey, checking temperature every 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165° and into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching bone, registers 170–175°. Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes before serving.


To streamline prep, use a mini food processor to make the dry brine paste (or you can make it by hand).


Use your hands to apply the paste under breast and legs; this enables you to place the paste directly where you want it to go under the skin.


For an additional flavor boost, squeeze the juice from the reserved oranges over top of the turkey, then finish roasting it.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 488

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 21g 32%

Saturated Fat 5g 25%

Cholesterol 232mg 77%

Sodium 1321mg 55%

Carbs 2g 0%

Protein 70g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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