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Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey

The easiest way to get perfect, juicy turkey every time!  This lemon rosemary brined turkey is an easy recipe that always turns out perfectly juicy turkey!

Thanksgiving is this weekend!  So that means turkey time – one of the best meals of the year.  Well, at least here in Canada it’s this weekend.  I know my American friends won’t be celebrating for a while yet, but you can just tuck this recipe away for future reference because it’s amazing.

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey - The easiest way to get perfect, juicy turkey every time! This lemon rosemary brined turkey is an easy recipe that always turns out perfectly juicy turkey!

Have you ever roasted a turkey?  Is it one of those things that you love to make, or that you’re a little bit scared to try?  I feel like a lot of people are kind of scared to try making a turkey, but if that’s you, trust me you can do it.  It’s really one of the easier things to cook, and I honestly believe that anyone can make a perfect turkey.

I think maybe one of the reasons people are scared to try making turkey is the fear of ruining Thanksgiving dinner by putting a Griswold’s turkey on the table.  But that’s not going to happen.  It’s easy.  I promise.  And even if that DID happen, it would be something funny to recount every year – I mean everyone is picturing that scene in the movie now and grinning right?!  But really, it won’t happen.  I’m not even sure it’s possible to dry out a turkey that much.

Especially if you use this recipe for lemon rosemary brined turkey.  I absolutely swear by this recipe.  It’s the only way I ever cook a turkey.  I wholeheartedly believe that adding the extra step of brining the turkey makes the whole roasting a turkey process a little more foolproof.  I’ve made this recipe 10-15 times now and it has always resulted in perfectly juicy turkey.  Not once has it been dry.

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey - The easiest way to get perfect, juicy turkey every time! This lemon rosemary brined turkey is an easy recipe that always turns out perfectly juicy turkey!

Even when you overdo it a bit, it’s still juicy and wonderful.  I’ve overdone a number of turkeys over the years where the cook time should be 3.5 hours based on the weight and for whatever reason when I’ve checked at 3 hours it’s been done for a while.  Still tastes fantastic.  I will always brine my turkeys.  Not a lot more effort for basically a guaranteed perfect turkey.

Plus – it helps with defrosting the turkey.  I’ve always found it a little annoying that everything you read on defrosting turkeys says to stick it in the fridge overnight.  It takes 3-4 days to defrost a turkey fully in the fridge, so I don’t know what size turkeys those things are referring to but they must be a good deal smaller then any turkey I’ve ever had.

The beauty of this lemon rosemary brined turkey is that you can defrost it for a couple days in the fridge, basically just enough that it’s not completely solid, and then since you’re submerging it in a brine solution for 18-36 hours, it will be completely defrosted when you go to roast it.  No more pulling the turkey out of the fridge Thanksgiving morning only to discover that it’s still partially frozen!

So don’t be scared of making the turkey.  It’s easy, I promise.  Just make this lemon rosemary brined turkey this year.  It’s basically foolproof!

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey - The easiest way to get perfect, juicy turkey every time! This lemon rosemary brined turkey is an easy recipe that always turns out perfectly juicy turkey!

How to make Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey:

  • You need to plan ahead as this turkey needs to sit in the brine solution for 18-36 hours before cooking it. And it’s best to have the turkey at least partially defrosted before brining, which takes 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • You can rinse the turkey off before roasting it if you like, but I’ve never found it necessary to do so.
  • An instant read thermometer is best for determining if your turkey is done. It should be 170F in the breast, or 180F in the thigh. Let the turkey rest for 10-15 minutes before carving it after removing it from the oven.

Here are some great side dishes to serve with your turkey:

Yield: serves 16-20

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey

The easiest way to get perfect, juicy turkey every time! This lemon rosemary brined turkey is an easy recipe that always turns out perfectly juicy turkey!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Brining Time 18 hours
Total Time 21 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 10-15 pound (4.5-7kg) turkey

For the brine:

  • 8 quarts (7.5 L) water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

For roasting the turkey:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


  1. In a large clean bucket (or large container) stir together the water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon slices, bay leaves, rosemary and turkey.
  3. The turkey should be fully submerged although it may float a bit.
  4. Place the bucket in the refrigerator and let the turkey soak in the brine for at least 18 hours and up to 36.
  5. The day you roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Take the turkey out of the brine and place it in a roasting pan, reserving the lemon slices and herbs.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, paprika, pepper and butter until combined.
  8. Rub this mixture all over the turkey, inside and out, with your hands or a basting brush.
  9. Stuff the lemon slices and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity and tie the turkey’s legs together with kitchen twine.
  10. Roast the turkey for 2.5-4 hours, basting every half hour or so with the juices in the pan.
  11. The turkey is done when a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F (82C), or in the breast reads 170 degrees F (77C).
  12. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving it.


If your turkey is frozen, move it from the freezer to the fridge 2-3 days before you start brining. So that's 3-5 full days before you plan to roast the turkey. I’ve let the turkey soak in the brine solution for anywhere from 18 hours to almost 48, and haven’t noticed a difference in how it cooks. Usually I base it on how frozen my turkey is - letting it soak longer will help it defrost if you forgot to take it out as early as planned - but aim for about 24 hours. I’ve also made this without the rub - I like it but if you don’t want to bother, it’s still fantastic without it.

The cooking time is based on a number of factors including the size of your turkey, the kind of roasting pan you use, whether you stuff the bird or not, the accuracy of your oven, etc. The best way to know if your turkey is finished is with an instant read thermometer, but you can plan on 2.5-3 hours for a 10 pound turkey, and 3.5-4 hours for a 15 pound turkey. I always roast my turkey with the lid of the roasting pan on, but you can also just tent it with foil if you don’t have a lid (this could also affect the cooking time!).

Source: From Today's Parent

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 706Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 377mgSodium: 6043mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 97g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.


Thursday 23rd of December 2021

New to this we brineing... When you say cover with water are you saying to prepare the brine as you say then just cover with extra water or am I supposed to double or triple the recipe until it's covered?


Thursday 23rd of December 2021

The amount of brine in the recipe should be enough to cover the turkey. I usually mix up the brine in a big bucket and then add the turkey and it is basically covered. It will float a bit. If you need to add some more water to get it covered you can, but unless your bucket is significantly wider than your turkey you shouldn't need to add much. It will be hard to move if you double or triple the brine amount as it's already a pretty heavy bucket with this amount of water and a turkey! If you just need to add a few cups of water to cover it, I wouldn't worry about adding more salt or sugar, it won't make a difference.


Monday 9th of October 2017

This is the second year I've used this recipe. I have just filled a cooler with brine and let the turkey defrost in the brine in the cooler for a few days each time. This year the cooler sat out in my unheated garage. Keeps the turkey nice and cold as it defrosts and doesn't take up my entire fridge. I've left it for longer than 48 hours as well, and it's still all good. Thanks for the recipe!


Monday 9th of October 2017

Just put mine in the oven! Glad you like this recipe as much as I do! :)

Marianne Gristy

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Most brined turkeys need to be rinsed after brining to cut the salty taste. Why. Don't we have to rinse off the brine in this recipe?


Wednesday 16th of November 2016

To be honest, this is the only brining recipe I have ever used. I've been making it for years, and have never rinsed the turkey before cooking it, and it's never tasted salty at all. I can't tell you why though because I've never tried another! Maybe the concentration of the brine is less in this recipe then some others? I think you could rinse it off to be sure if you're worried it will be salty, but I have never done that.

Lemon Rosemary Brined Turkey – Edible Crafts

Friday 14th of October 2016

[…] here on Bake. Eat. Repeat. for the recipe and […]


Saturday 8th of October 2016

Why did I buy such a big freakin' turkey!!!??? hahaha


Saturday 8th of October 2016

Because leftovers of course! I always buy the biggest one I can find so we have lots of leftovers. And then when we get sick of leftovers I cut it all up and freeze it for quick meals later! :)

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