Recipes | Dry Brine for Turkey

Breaking with tradition this year, I am opting to avoid hefting a turkey into a vat of brine and instead trying this Whole Foods-recommended dry brine to get the most flavor out of my turkey.


  • 12- to 14-lb turkey (thawed)
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • One tablespoon of any of the following (to get to ½ cup total): whole cloves, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, peppercorns, garlic cloves, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, bay leaves, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh sage and citrus zest.


  • Toast any whole spices in a dry skillet, crush coarsely with a mortar and pestle and mix with sugar and any fresh herbs, zest and ground spices.
  • Rub turkey inside and out with spice mixture, including some of the mixture under the skin.
  • Refrigerate, uncovered, on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet for 24 – 72 hours — allow at least one hour per pound of turkey.

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