This Simple Turkey Brine recipe and Roast Turkey recipe is just what you need to make a perfect turkey for Thanksgiving, the holidays, or anytime!
Without a doubt, the star of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey! It has to be moist, succulent, and so flavorful! But most importantly it needs to be easy and straightforward to make. And that’s where my super simple Turkey Brine & Roast Turkey recipe comes in!
For me, the simpler the turkey brine, the better. My brine has only 3 ingredients:
- Lemon juice
That’s it, nothing fancy.
If you thought that my brine was easy, brace yourself because my roasting method is even easier! Here are all of the ingredients that you need to make a delicious roast turkey:
- A 10-20 pound turkey
- Lemon zest
- Salt & pepper
For my method, you just brush both sides of the turkey with a mixture of melted butter and lemon zest and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. That’s it. I like to first roast the turkey at a high temperature for about 45 minutes, and then drop the temperature and roast for 1-2 hours.
Cook’s Note – Simple Turkey Brine & Roast Turkey:
- If you have a self-basting turkey, DO NOT BRING IT! It has already been cured with salt. The same goes for a kosher turkey.
- You will need an extra-large stockpot or clean plastic bucket to brine the turkey.
- After you rinse the turkey in step 2 of the recipe below, make sure that you disinfect your sink afterward!
- Save those pan drippings and make my amazing Turkey Gravy!
Cook’s Tools – Simple Turkey Brine & Roast Turkey:
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- 1 cup Morton Table Salt
- 2 gallons cold water
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 10-20 pound turkey thawed
- 6 Tablespoon butter cut into 6 pieces
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- salt and pepper
- Place 1 cup of table salt in the bottom of a large stockpot or clean plastic bucket. Add the water and lemon juice and stir until the salt is dissolved.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey, discard or reserve to use later. Rinse the turkey under cold running water. Place the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 10-14 hours.
- 1 hour before you’re ready to roast the turkey, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F for a 10-16 pound turkey, and 425 degrees F for a 16-20 pound turkey. Set a V-roasting rack inside of a large roasting pan, and set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl add the butter and lemon zest and melt in the microwave on HIGH power for 20 seconds. Stir and then continue to heat at 10-second increments until completely melted, and set aside.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold water. Tuck the turkey’s wing tips behind its back, and tuck the drumstick tips into the skin of the tail area.
- Brush the turkey breast, wings, and drumsticks with half of the butter mixture and sprinkle with 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of black pepper. Place the turkey breast-side down onto the V-roasting rack, and then brush the back of the turkey with the remaining butter and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Place the turkey in the preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes for a10-16 pound turkey, and 60 minutes for a 16-20 pound turkey.
- Take the turkey out of the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Use silicone oven mitts or folded clean kitchen towels to flip the turkey breast-side-up. Place the turkey back into the oven and continue to roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160-165 degrees F. This will take about 1 hour for 10-16 pound turkeys and, 1.5 hours for 16-18 pound turkeys and 2 hours for 18-20 pound turkeys.
- Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest of 30 minutes, and then move it to a large cutting board and carve.