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overhead shot of a cooked turkey with garlic sage butter on a white platter with fresh herbs
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5 from 1 vote

Dry Brined Turkey with Garlic Sage Butter

Dry brined turkey with garlic sage butter is juicy and delicious! Using a dry brine is so much easier than a wet brine, and gives this turkey so much flavor.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time5 hrs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 14
Calories: 59kcal


  • 1 whole turkey (12-20 lbs; thawed)

Dry Brine

  • ½ cup kosher salt (do not use table salt!)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

Garlic Sage Butter

  • ½ cup butter (softened; salted or unsalted are fine)
  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)


  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 1 apple (quartered)
  • 1 stalk celery (quartered)
  • 5 sprigs fresh tyme
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh sage leaves


3-4 days before serving

  • Thaw the turkey according to package directions.

The day before serving

  • Pat the turkey dry. Remove the giblet and neck, and set aside for making gravy or stock (if desired).
  • Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • Mix together the dry brine, and rub all over the turkey skin (breast & back) and inside the cavity.
  • Let the turkey sit uncovered overnight in the fridge.

The day you're serving

  • Heat oven to 450°F.
  • Remove turkey from the fridge and rinse off the brine (don't forget to rinse the cavity, too).
  • Pat turkey and roasting pan dry. Make sure none of the salty dry brine is in the roasting pan as this can make your pan juices too salty for gravy.
  • Bend the turkey wings backwards and tuck under the bird. 
  • Stir together the garlic sage butter ingredients and rub all over the turkey breast, wings & back (see *note)
  • Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the 'cavity' ingredients
  • Place turkey in the pre-heated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325°F
  • Roast turkey for 2 hours, basting with pan juices every 45 minutes, before taking the temperature. For a 14-17 lb turkey, 2 ½-3 hours were perfect (see note **). Check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh and the breast, turkey is cooked through when it measures 165°F.
  • When turkey is cooked through, remove from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. If your turkey is done early, tent with foil to keep it warm. If you're just waiting 30 minutes before serving, no need for foil.


This recipe was tested with 6.5 kg (14 lbs) and 7.6 kg (16.7 lbs) turkeys respectively.
Aim for 1 lb turkey per person (this accounts for bone weight)
*I have been known to soak a square of cheesecloth right in the melted butter and lay it over the turkey breast. Keep basting every 30 minutes, and remove the cheesecloth during the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown up the breast meat.
**A general rule is to cook your turkey for 10-15 min per lb, however I highly recommend checking your turkey's temperature early as brined turkeys can cook more quickly.


Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg