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a thanksgiving turkey on a platter with greens, orange wedges, and cranberries
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5 from 2 votes

Roast Turkey

This Roast Turkey recipe is the best! With my detailed video and step by step instructions you will know how to brine a turkey like a pro.
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time1 d 5 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: thanksgiving turkey
Servings: 15 people
Author: Lisa Longley


  • 13 to 20 pound thawed turkey


  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt see note in the post about turkey brands - some are pre basted and require less salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 black tea bags string and tag removed
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint

Basting Sauce

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/3 cup honey do not substitute with agave syrup
  • juice of one lime bringing the total lime count to 3

Dry Rub

  • 3 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Seasoning see note for alternative
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried rosemary

For Roasting

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary sprigs
  • reserved limes from brine
  • 2 whole leeks


  • Remove the neck and giblets from the thawed turkey. (Read here for how to thaw a turkey.)
  • Dissolve the brown sugar and salt in the water. (See the post for what to brine the turkey in.) Make sure that they are completely dissolved before moving on.
  • Squeeze two limes into the water, and add in the rinds. Add the mint, and the tea bags.
  • Add the turkey to the brine. If the brine does not cover the turkey, mix 4 cups cold water with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Keep doing this until there is enough liquid to completely cover the turkey.
  • Brine the turkey over night (between 10 and 24 hour) in a cold place that is 40 degrees.
  • The next morning, preheat your oven to 325.
  • Mix together dry rub and basting sauce. Pour the basting sauce in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add two leeks, and then a wire rack for the turkey to cook in.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Set the turkey in the roasting pan breast side up and use half the rub liberally on the turkey. Flip the turkey over and use the rest of the rub. Put 1 to 2 lime rinds inside the turkey, plus a few rosemary sprigs. Do not pack the turkey. Add the remaining rosemary sprigs to the pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 1 hour (breast side down). After an hour, flip the turkey over, baste, and return to the oven. Continue roasting, basting occassionally, until a thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh and juices run clear. (Be sure to insert the thermometer deep enough, without hitting the bone.) If the top begins to brown too much, cover losely with foil.
  • Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil for 20 minutes, carve and enjoy.



Mrs Dash Seasoning is a combination of dried onion, black pepper, dried herbs (Rosemary, Sage, Thyme), and dried citrus fruit. If you can't find it in the store you can make your own using a combination of the above to make 3 tablespoons. Eliminating the dried citrus fruit is totally fine.