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+ servings
cooked whole turkey breast on a sheet pan with roasted potatoes.
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Brined Roast Turkey Breast

Course holidays, Main Course, Meat, Thanksgiving
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Brine time 12 hours
Servings 8

Equipment

  • roasting rack
  • large ziploc bag or plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 5-6 lb bone-in turkey breast rinsed and dried, giblet bag removed; can use for a whole bird up to 10-12 lbs*

Dry Brine

  • ½ cup kosher salt Morton/Jacobsen (if using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, see conversion note below)*
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon thyme

Garnish option

  • 6 whole fresh sage leaves

Instructions

  • Fully pat turkey dry with paper towels.

To dry brine

  • Mix brine ingredients in medium mixing bowl until fully blended.
  • Coat the inside and outside of the bird with the dry brine. Use all of it.
  • Place inside large ziploc and set on a sheet pan in the fridge.
  • Refrigerate overnight until ready to roast. DO NOT RINSE THE TURKEY (see below).

Cook turkey

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Set the turkey in a roasting rack (or see alternative in notes below) and place on a sheet pan.
  • Roast for 15 minutes and then lower oven to 350° until meat thermometer reaches 165° (cooking time is approximately 20 minutes per pound).
  • Cover with foil and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes before removing breast from bone and carving into slices.
  • Garnish option: before roasting, slide whole sage leaves under skin for a pretty presentation.

Notes

*This recipe makes a lot of dry brine. You might have some left over and could use it up to a 10-12 lb whole bird. See note below for brining time.
Salt note: I used Jacobsen Italian sea salt very successfully here. Jacobsen and Morton are equivalent in terms of weight per cup. Adjust the recipe based on the salt you choose to use.
For Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt: (has bigger flakes and is lighter in weight)
1 cup of Diamond salt  = ¾ cup Morton’s salt. The conversion from Diamond's to Morton is .75.
For Morton Kosher Salt: (heavier with a coarser texture that's harder to dissolve):
1 cup of Morton= 1 ⅓ cup of Diamond Crystal so the conversion from Morton to Diamond is 1.34.
Roasting rack alternative. Use thickly sliced potatoes or onions as the base for the turkey in the sheet pan. The Spruce has more ideas for roasting rack options.
Resist all temptation to rinse the dry brine off the turkey. Trust me, it won't be too salty and you will be adding water that will not create the desired crispy skin. For more info, read this Serious Eats article.
To cover or not to cover? You might read that covering the bird while dry brining isn't necessary. I choose to do so as I have other things in the fridge and want to keep all the "smells" contained. The addition of the baking powder helps the skin be crispy. If you are brining a whole bird for longer than 24 hours, be sure to cover it. 
For a whole bird up to 10-12 lbs: This recipe makes a lot of brine. If you don't use it all, that's ok. It should be enough to cover a bird up to 10 lbs. A whole turkey should brine for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. 
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