How to Cook THE BEST Juicy Turkey

Brining, whether wet or dry, is the secret ingredient to cooking a fool-proof juicy turkey. Add to that a blast of high heat at the beginning of the cooking time, then dropping the temperature to a lower roast and you'll make a tender, flavorful, juicy bird every time.
Prep Time: 3 days
Cook Time: 3 hours
Resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 days, 3 hours 30 minutes


  • Roasting pan with V-rack
  • turkey brining bag (if doing wet brine)
  • kitchen twine
  • basting brush


  • 1 14-16 lb turkey thawed with giblets, neck, and tailpiece removed
  • wet or dry turkey brine (recipes here) , if doing a wet brine
  • 3 carrots cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion cut into 1/8s
  • 1 head of garlic halved
  • 8-10 sprigs Edible Garden thyme
  • 4 sprigs Edible Garden rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cups water


    • Brine the turkey with the wet or dry brine method. NOTE: To avoid spreading bacteria, do not rinse the raw, pre-brined turkey with water. For a wet brine, brine the turkey for 12-24 hours then remove the turkey from the brine and drain the turkey well. Place the turkey on the rack in a roasting pan, pat dry, and truss the legs of the turkey and tuck the wings under the bird. Place the turkey in the roasting pan uncovered in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to air dry and the skin to dry out. For a dry brine, salt the bird with the brine mixture and refrigerate uncovered for 24-28 hours. Do not rinse the brine from the bird. Brush off any large salt particles not absorbed into the skin.
  • Bring the turkey to room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest part of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with a few of the vegetables and herbs then scatter the rest under the rack on the bottom of the roasting pan. Use your fingers to gently pry the skin from the breast meat. Use the handle of a spoon or fork to work your way between the skin and meat if your fingers won't reach, being careful not to puncture or tear the skin. Rub 2 tablespoons of the softened butter and under the skin, flattening it to evenly cover the breast meat.
  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in 1/2 cup of the white wine. Let the butter and wine mixture cool slightly so it becomes a bit clumpy. Use a basting brush to brush the butter mixture over the skin of the breast, legs, thighs and wings. Add any extra to the roasting pan. Sprinkle the top of the turkey with freshly ground black pepper. Add the rest of the wine and 1-2 cups of water to the roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 45 minutes. Lightly tent the top of the turkey with a piece of aluminum foil and cook for 15 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check the temperature of the turkey midway through roasting and add more water if necessary. Roast until the breast registers 160-175°F and up to 180°F for the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone, and the juices run clear when the thermometer is removed.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes up to 1 hour for the juices to redistribute into the meat. Transfer to a cutting board, carve, and enjoy!


Cooking a turkey is easy, as long as you prep ahead.
  • Allow 2-3 days of thawing time in the refrigerator for frozen turkeys. 
  • Allow 12-24 hours of wet brining time, plus 12-24 hours drying time uncovered in the refrigerator for the skin to dry out and become crisper when cooked. 
  • Allow 24-48 hours of dry brining time for the salt seasoning to do it's work.
  • Allow 3 - 3 3/4 hours cooking time for a 12-16 lb turkey. 
Substitute chicken broth for the wine if you prefer.


Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2727IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg