roast turkey

How to Brine & Roast the Best Turkey (+Amazing Gravy)

5 from 21 reviews

This step by step recipe for how to brine and roast the most juicy, moist turkey will immediately make you the turkey guru! Don’t skip this amazing sauce-like gravy that tastes wonderful over turkey and potatoes! (NOTE: Give yourself a couple of days for brining)

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 20 1x



For the Brine:

  • 1 cup table salt
  • 1/2 cup tightly pack brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 TB whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • plenty of ice and water

For the Dry Rub:

  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt

For the Turkey:

  • 1 large frozen turkey (roughly 1620 lbs)
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 large leaves sage
  • 4 carrots, roughly cut
  • 4 celery stalks, roughly cut

For the Au Jus Sauce/Gravy*:

  • 4 TB olive oil
  • Giblets and neck from turkey
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed flat
  • 1 onion, roughly cut into pieces
  • 4 carrots, sliced into 1/4” coins
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 6 quarts water


Brine the Bird:

  1. In a very large/tall stockpot (one that can submerge the entire turkey later) add all brine ingredients. Heat over high heat and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. Gently submerge turkey into the brine. Cover the top with ice. Pour in enough cold water to completely submerge turkey in liquid. Stir the liquid to combine. Store in fridge or cool location (below 40F) Swirl/stir a couple of times during brine time (48 hours recommended, but 24 hours minimum.)

Roast the Turkey:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F with rack on lower position. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well inside & out. Dispose brine. Set turkey upright on roasting pan’s wire rack to allow it to drain for several hours and reach room temp. Dry turkey skin with paper towels. Combine dry rub ingredients in bowl.
  2. Gently spread one-third of the dry rub between skin and flesh, taking care not to rip the skin. Place half of the rosemary and sage between skin as well. Press remaining dry rub on outside of skin throughout entire bird. Secure loose skin of neck area with toothpicks to hold skin closed.
  3. Combine apple, 1 onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup water in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 5 min. Drain and place mixture into the turkey cavity. Place remaining rosemary and sage into cavity.
  4. Place sheet of foil on wire rack of a turkey roaster and poke holes to allow juice to flow through. Place turkey breast side down on the foil-lined rack. Add 1 onion, carrots, and celery to the bottom of roasting pan.
  5. Place turkey in preheated oven and roast for 1 hr at 450F. Drop heat to 300F and roast for 30 min. Take bird out and flip so its breast side up and continue roasting at 300F until breast is 160F on instant read thermometer.

For the Au Jus/Gravy:

  1. While turkey is roasting, heat olive oil in a large pot. Add giblets and neck to pot and brown, leaving brown bits. Remove from pan; throw out gizzards, reserving just the neck. Add garlic to empty pot and lightly brown. Add onions, carrots, and celery, cooking until onions become translucent. Add water and bring to a boil. Add neck back in and simmer on med heat. Continue to simmer until reduced by about half. Keep stock on low simmer until turkey is finished.
  2. When turkey is finished cooking, remove turkey with rack and let rest over a large platter.
  3. Place the turkey roasting pan with juices over two burners. Pour stock with veggies into the roasting pan and bring to a boil. Use wooden spoon/spatula to scrape up all brown bits from the roasting pan. Boil and reduce by at least 1/2 until au jus has the desired flavor strength.
  4. Strain mixture so you are left with just the au jus. Skim fat off the top and serve with sliced turkey.


* It takes about 6 days for a large frozen turkey to completely thaw in the fridge.
* If you don’t own a large enough stockpot, you can brine the turkey in a bucket.
* Allow turkey to come up to room temperature before roasting, for best results.
* The gravy is a sauce-like au jus, which is thinner than classic gravy. If you prefer a thicker gravy, add 2-3TB flour to the boiling liquid while stirring, OR use dissolved cornstarch for a gluten free option (start with 2TB cornstarch fully dissolved in 2TB water; no trace of white cornstarch should be visible upon use.) 


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 135
  • Sugar: 11.3 g
  • Sodium: 6328.7 mg
  • Fat: 4.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.4 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Cholesterol: 17.9 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: roast
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: roast turkey