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.

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *