Honey-Brined Turkey

This recipe is courtesy of Terrie H. She has tested Thanksgiving turkey recipes through and through, with this one taking the crown as the best turkey ever.

It was created for a ~12 lb turkey. If your turkey is over 20 lbs, double the below recipe. And always feel free to add an extra spoonful of honey :~)


  • 1 turkey
  • 4 tbsp fresh thyme (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • 4 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • 4 tbsp fresh sage (or 2 tbsp dried) 
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 lb salt
  • 1 cup Marsala or brandy
  • 1 cup local honey
  • 1 tbsp crushed juniper berries
  • 1 gallon ice water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • cheesecloth
  • a large brining bag (big enough for your turkey and then some!)
  • large pot/bucket/cooler to brine turkey


Brine: Make sure turkey is clean (no neck or innards) and thawed. Tie thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaves, and sage in a cheesecloth pouch. Place in a large pot with 1 gallon of water, salt, wine, honey, and juniper berries. 

Stir on high until it comes to a boil then turn off heat and let the mixture rest for ~20 mins. Then add 1 gallon ice water to cool the mixture. It’s important that the mixture is cold (<50°F) before you put the turkey in it. 

Place turkey and brine in brining bag and tie closed. Marinate for 18-24 hours in fridge/cooler/bucket. Make sure the turkey is kept as cold as possible without being frozen. If your turkey is too big for your fridge, a cooler or bucket filled with ice water will do just fine. 

Roast: Preheat oven to 450°F. Take turkey out of brine and rinse with cool water (can toss the brine at this point). Place on shallow rack in a roasting pan and drizzle with oil (avocado works best).

Cover loosely with aluminum foil, making sure not to press it into the skin. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 350°F. Cook until the thickest part of the turkey reaches 165° (About 3-4 hours for a ~12 pound turkey and 4-5 hours for a ~20 pound turkey)

Let rest for 20 min before carving and enjoy!

Thanks Terrie H. for the best turkey ever!

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