• 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups kosher salt or 1 cup table salt
  • 1 whole turkey, not prebasted (12 to 14 pounds), thawed if frozen
  • 1 medium onion, cut into fourths
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Mix cold water and salt in a large clean bucket or stockpot (noncorrosive); stir until salt is dissolved. Add turkey. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Thoroughly rinse turkey under cool running water, gently rubbing outside and inside of turkey to release salt. Pat skin and both interior cavities dry with paper towels.
  3. Fasten neck skin to back of turkey with skewer. Fold wings across back of turkey so tips are touching. Toss onion, carrot, celery and thyme with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter; place in turkey cavity.
  4. Place turkey, breast side down, on rack in large shallow roasting pan. Brush entire back side of turkey with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Turn turkey over. Brush entire breast side of turkey with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of inside thigh and does not touch bone. (Do not add water or cover turkey.)
  5. Roast uncovered 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours, brushing twice with pan drippings during last 30 minutes of roasting.
  6. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 165°F and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. If a meat thermometer is not used, begin testing for doneness after about 3 hours. When turkey is done, place on warm platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let stand about 15 minutes for easiest carving.

To complete your Thanksgiving dinner menu, check out more recipes here!