Dry Brine Turkey Recipe. Learn how to dry brine your turkey or chicken using an easy dry brining recipe containing a touch of orange and maple with all the traditional Thanksgiving flavors. I always get asked for this recipe because it makes the most flavorful and crispiest skin turkey and chicken! Perfection!
Dry Brine Turkey
A few years ago I was introduced to dry brining a Thanksgiving turkey and now I won’t make a turkey any other way! It’s a total game changer on Thanksgiving! Dry brining a turkey produces amazing flavor, super moist meat and that skin…oh that skin…irresistible crispy and golden brown to perfection. I’m drooling just thinking about it 🙂
I’ve experimented with a bunch of different dry brine mixes and today I’m sharing our all time favorite dry brine recipe for a turkey or chicken. It’s a huge winner, not just to us, but with all our friends and family, too. I always get asked for this recipe!
This turkey dry brine recipe has just a touch of orange and maple mixed with the traditional Thanksgiving flavors. Ohmigosh, I love it so much! My friends and family can’t get enough of it so I always make extra batches of this recipe and give them out as little gifts. A small jar of dry brine makes such a cute and practical gift or party favor! You can tell your guests that it’s absolutely fantastic on chicken, too.
What is a dry brine?
Dry brining simply means pre-salting with salt and/or other herbs and seasonings. There’s no water or liquid involved and no mess.
The salt helps draw out the moisture. Then that moisture dissolves the salt crystals. And this is where the magic happens: the now dissolved salt, moisture and seasonings get reabsorbed back into the meat all the way down to the bone. The salt helps break down the tightly woven proteins resulting in the most tender, moist meat. And the seasonings get infused throughout the whole bird. You won’t want to make a turkey (or chicken) any other way once you try it!
Dry Brining benefits include:
- far more flavorful than any other method
- crispy golden brown skin and moist, tender meat
- less mess compared to a wet brine
- no fancy equipment
- super easy
- turkey is prepped and ready to go for the big day
Dry Brine Turkey Tips (please read!)
- Please, please do NOT use table salt or fine salt – it will make it too salty. Using coarse salt or kosher salt is the key to flavorful perfection.
- Only use this dry brine on a fresh (or frozen and thawed) turkey that has not been pre seasoned, marked kosher (because they already salt it) or injected with flavorings. Double check the label and make sure that turkey is the only ingredient. **Update 2019: I’ve received multiple messages and comments that say this recipe has been very successful on an 8% injected turkey and it was perfect and not to salty at all.**
- For the best (seriously, the absolute best!), crispiest skin ever, leave your turkey uncovered in the fridge during the final 12 hours. I know…I know…that grosses some people out, but I promise you, that golden brown skin will make you swoon.
- Make sure to pat your turkey completely dry before cooking it.
How to Dry Brine Turkey Recipe:
- ¼ cup coarse sea salt (I use THIS)
- 1 tablespoon maple sugar (my fav because it adds a touch of wonderful maple flavor, but if you can’t find it, you can use brown sugar or coconut sugar. I get my maple sugar HERE)
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- *Use 1 tablespoon of dry brine for every 5 pounds of meat* Pat dry the outside and inside of the turkey. Then season the entire outside and inside cavity using the dry brine. Don't forget to loosen some of the skin and season directly on the meat, too, especially on the breasts.
- Refrigerate, loosely covered, for at least 12 hours up to 72 hours (the more time it sits in the fridge, the more flavorful it will be, but you'll still get a really great tasting bird even if you do the minimum time). *Important step for the best, crispy skin: Take OFF the covering during the final 12 hours in the refrigerator and refrigerate UNCOVERED for 12 hours*
- When you're ready to cook the turkey, pat the outside dry (no need to rinse or wipe anything off) and cook using any method you prefer. I like the long and slow oven roasting method: 325 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes per pound.
Please read my turkey dry brining tips above in the blog post for the best possible results!
If you have any questions, just let me know! I hope you’ll get a chance to try this dry brine method for your turkey or chicken – it’s a game changer!