This post has been sponsored by The Diestel Family Turkey Ranch.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Cooking a turkey couldn’t be easier than this Dry Brine Roast Turkey Recipe! It’s juicy and flavorful, with golden brown, crispy skin for a show stopping holiday dinner. There’s no messy liquid to deal with and it can be dry brined up to 3 days in advance!

Dry brine roast turkey on a platter with orange and rosemary

Thanksgiving is coming quickly, which I’m sure either excites you or makes you break out in a cold sweat.  

I’m definitely excited as it’s my favorite holiday.  Over the years I’ve found ways to make it easier by making things ahead of time like pie crust, turkey stock and even turkey gravy.  

Unlike most people, the turkey is my favorite part about Thanksgiving. Most years I cook a whole turkey and a roast turkey breast because I want leftovers for sandwiches and turkey wild rice soup.

Typically I make my spatchcock turkey recipe because it cooks even more quickly and evenly, but I turn to this Dry Brine Roast Turkey recipe when I want to present it in a beautiful, traditional way.

It’s tender and juicy with the bright, woody flavors of orange and rosemary, and the golden brown, crispy skin makes it a real show stopper.

Orange rosemary roast turkey trussed on a white platter

What really sets this apart is the fact that it’s a Diestel brand turkey. The Diestel Family Turkey Ranch has been my go-to since I discovered it several years ago, and it’s the only turkey that I serve on Thanksgiving.  

Diestel turkeys are slow grown with plenty of fresh air and space to roam freely, both indoors and outdoors, and they’re raised almost twice as long, which results in premium texture and flavor..  

Since the Diestel Family Turkey Ranch was founded in Sonora, CA in 1949, they’ve been farmers first.   They care for their turkeys humanely, and are one of the last turkey producers in the Western United States to mill their own grain.

The turkeys are fed the way nature intended, with a 100% vegetarian diet, and the grain never includes antibiotics, growth enhancers, hormones, gluten, animal by-products, etc.  

For this particular recipe, I used Diestel’s Organic Young Turkey.  It boasts that it’s tender and juicy with real old fashioned flavor, and it really is.

Diestel Organic Young Turkey

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This roast turkey is golden brown, crispy with the flavors of orange, rosemary and smoked paprika for a hint of warm spice.
  • It’s a show stopping dish that’s perfect for your holiday table.
  • It’s dry brined, which results in a moist, juicy turkey without dealing with a messy wet brine.
  • The turkey can be dry brined up to 3 days in advance.

Recipe ingredients

  • Turkey. A 12-15 lb. turkey is the ideal size for this recipe. Be sure to remove the giblet package from the cavity of the turkey prior to dry brining it.
  • Salt. For best results, use kosher salt. If you use regular table salt or sea salt, you will need half the amount of salt, or about 1 tablespoon.
  • Oil. The oil promotes nice golden, brown skin.
  • Smoked paprika. Adds color to the turkey skin as well as a warm smoky flavor.
  • Orange. The orange pairs perfectly with the rosemary flavor. It may be substituted with lemon or eliminated altogether.
  • Rosemary. Sub with thyme or your favorite fresh herbs.
  • Aromatics. The onion and garlic flavor permeates into the turkey as it roasts.

How to make oven roasted turkey

Cooking a turkey doesn’t get much easier than this dry brine turkey recipe. There’s no messy wet brine to deal with, and it can be prepped up to 3 days before you plan to cook it.

A dry brine consists of salting the turkey generously, then refrigerating it uncovered for 1-3 days. It acts as a wet brine by breaking down the tough muscle proteins, which results in a juicier, more flavorful turkey.

From there, it takes about 5 minutes of prep and into the oven it goes.

Pro tip:  12-15 lb. turkeys generally take close to 3 hours to cook. All ovens vary, so I suggest checking for doneness after 2 1/2 hours of cooking time.

How to make dry brine roast turkey
  1. Remove the giblet pouch from the turkey cavity and pat it dry. Salt it generously all over, inside the cavity and underneath the skin over the breast meat. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 1-3 days. The skin will look dry but that’s completely normal!
  2. Allow the turkey to come to room temperature for 1-2 hours prior to cooking.
  3. Place the olive oil, chopped rosemary, orange juice, zest, smoked paprika and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Coat the outside of the turkey with the olive oil mixture evenly. Place the onion, orange, garlic cloves, and remaining 2 sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity of the turkey, then truss the turkey legs using the kitchen twine, and tuck the wing tips underneath the turkey.
  4. Place the turkey in the oven and cook for around 3 hours (check for doneness after 2 1/2 hours to be sure), or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees. Let the turkey stand for 20-30 minutes covered loosely with foil before carving.
Dry brine turkey on a platter with orange and rosemary

FAQS

Do I need to rinse my turkey?

There’s no need to rinse your turkey before roasting it. Any bacteria that’s present on the turkey will be destroyed during the cooking process.

There’s actually more of a chance of spreading bacteria by rinsing or washing your turkey in the sink as it’s hard to control messy spatters on your sink area, countertop and nearby utensils.

Do I need to rinse off my dry brine?

Do not rinse off the turkey after it has been dry brined as you don’t want excess moisture. The salt has permeated into the turkey, and the dry skin will become nice and crispy!

There’s no need to season the turkey with anymore salt…simply rub the outside with the olive oil, pepper, rosemary, orange zest and smoked paprika.

What is the best temperature to roast a turkey?

Roast turkey can be cooked at 325 or 350 degrees. I prefer roasting it at 350 degrees so that it’s done a bit more quickly, but it’s a personal preference.

Is it better to roast the turkey covered or uncovered?

Cooking a turkey uncovered is essential for golden brown, crispy skin.

If the skin has browned considerably and is not yet done, cover it loosely with foil during the remaining cooking time.

Should I baste my turkey?

Basting your turkey is not necessary to ensure that it’s moist and juicy, and opening the oven door often lowers the temperature of the oven which will affect cooking time.

Your best best for a moist turkey is by using a dry brine and not overcooking it.

Roast turkey recipe sliced on a platter

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  Turkey cook time will vary, but a 12-15 lb. turkey generally takes around to 3 hours to cook. All ovens vary, so I suggest checking for doneness after 2 1/2 hours of cooking time.
  • Total time includes 1 day to dry brine the turkey, but the turkey may be dry brine for a total of 3 days before you plan to cook it.  
  • The skin will look dried out after dry brining which is normal — that’s what makes the skin so crispy.
  • If using a frozen turkey, make sure to thaw completely and pat dry before dry brining.
  • Leftover roast turkey will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
roast turkey sliced on a platter with gravy pouring

More Thanksgiving recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?  If so, be sure to leave a review below and tag me @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Dry brine roast turkey on a platter with orange and rosemary

Dry Brine Roast Turkey Recipe

This Dry Brine Roast Turkey Recipe is a show stopping addition to your Thanksgiving table! It's golden brown and juicy with the flavors of orange and rosemary, and it's dry brined so there's no messy wet brine to deal with!
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Ingredients

  • 13 lb. Diestel Organic Young Turkey
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus two large sprigs, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 small navel orange or two clementines, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed and peeled

Instructions 

  • 1-3 days prior to cooking, remove the giblet pouch from the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle it evenly with the kosher salt on the outside, inside the cavity, and under the skin over the breast meat. Refrigerate uncovered for up to 3 days.
  • When you're ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the olive oil, chopped rosemary, orange juice, zest, smoked paprika, and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Coat the outside of the turkey with the olive oil mixture evenly.
  • Place the onion, orange, garlic cloves, and remaining 2 sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey legs using the kitchen twine, and tuck the wing tips underneath the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, depending on the size, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees.
  • Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes covered loosely with foil, then place on a cutting board. Carve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip:  Turkey cook time will vary, but a 12-15 lb. turkey generally takes around to 3 hours to cook. All ovens vary, so I suggest checking for doneness after 2 1/2 hours of cooking time.
  • Total time includes 1 day to dry brine the turkey, but the turkey may be dry brine for a total of 3 days before you plan to cook it.  
  • The skin will look dried out after dry brining which is normal — that’s what makes the skin so crispy.
  • If using a frozen turkey, make sure to thaw completely and pat dry before dry brining.
  • Leftover roast turkey will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 434kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 64g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 212mg, Sodium: 1028mg, Potassium: 682mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 232IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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