Thomas Keller’s Juicy, Crispy Thanksgiving Turkey: A Recipe for Success

Master the art of the perfect Thanksgiving turkey with Thomas Keller’s renowned recipe guaranteed to deliver a juicy flavorful bird with crispy skin.

This guide combines insights from two culinary sources: the Epicurious Best Roast Turkey Recipe and an article on How Thomas Keller Makes His Juicy, Crispy Thanksgiving Turkey from Great Chefs.

Preparation is Key: The Brining Process

The journey to a succulent turkey begins with a 24-hour brining process. This step infuses the bird with flavor and ensures even cooking resulting in a moist and tender masterpiece.

Ingredients for the Brine:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 5 lemons, halved
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic heads, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 6 quarts ice water
  • 18-20 pound turkey, thawed if frozen

Brining Instructions:

  1. Combine the salt, lemons, honey, herbs, garlic, peppercorns, and 4 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Transfer the brine to a 20-quart food-safe container and add the remaining 6 quarts of ice water. Submerge the turkey in the brine, ensuring it’s fully covered. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet, breast-side up, and air-dry in the refrigerator for an additional 24 hours. This step is crucial for achieving crispy skin.

Roasting to Perfection: Achieving Juicy, Flavorful Meat

Preheat your oven to 450°F with the rack positioned in the lower third. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

Ingredients for Roasting:

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges
  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic head, sliced in half

Roasting Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Skim off the froth and discard. Slowly pour the clarified butter into a bowl, leaving the milky solids behind.
  2. Toss the vegetables with oil and place them in the roasting pan. Add the roasting rack on top of the vegetables. Stuff the turkey cavity with the herbs and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  3. Place the air-dried turkey on the roasting rack, breast-side up. Brush the skin with the clarified butter and season generously with salt. Roast the turkey for 1 hour.
  4. Rotate the pan and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 150°F, approximately 1 to 1½ hours more.
  5. Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a perfectly cooked bird.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Turkey:

  • Adjust the cooking time based on your oven and the size of your turkey. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accurate doneness.
  • Consider using a V-rack on a rimmed baking sheet instead of a roasting pan to promote even browning.
  • For a flavorful gravy, use the pan drippings and roasted vegetables to create a delicious sauce.
  • Don’t forget the stuffing! Prepare your favorite stuffing recipe separately and serve alongside the turkey.

With careful preparation and attention to detail, you can recreate Thomas Keller’s renowned Thanksgiving turkey in your own kitchen. This recipe is sure to impress your guests and become a cherished tradition for years to come.

Enjoy the compliments and savor the deliciousness of your culinary masterpiece!

By Adina Steiman

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

When it comes to roast chicken, there’s one recipe that Epicurious fans turn to over and over again: acclaimed chef Thomas Keller’s My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken. In fact, this simple but utterly foolproof recipe is the most viewed recipe on the site. So when it came time to find a brand-new and equally beloved recipe for roast turkey, there was really only one person to call.

The award-winning chef and owner of The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon, Thomas Keller, makes his roast chicken with a few basic ingredients and no fancy methods. And his recipe for roast turkey follows the same essential strategy. However, in a way that seems almost magical, his straightforward actions produce the Gold Standard of Turkey—a crispy, flavorful bird that is juicy throughout. All it takes is a bit of careful planning. “Make a schedule that allows time to brine, air dry and temper the turkey,” says Chef Keller. After incorporating the turkey preparation into the remainder of your Thanksgiving preparations, all that’s left to do is reap the praises.

What is Chef Keller’s Thanksgiving menu, excluding the bird? “I still draw inspiration from my mother’s menus,” Chef Keller says. She makes the best creamed onions, creamy mashed potatoes, sage stuffing, and butternut squash pies, according to Keller. Additionally, feel free to take the drumstick when it comes to the turkey because the chef’s favorite bite is concealed elsewhere. “My favorite part is the oyster; it’s the most flavorful and tender piece of meat. ”.

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

Like many other classic recipes, My Favorite Roast Turkey calls for brining the turkey before roasting. This sweet, salty mixture includes kosher salt, lemon, honey, garlic, and herbs. After brining, three simple steps separate Keller’s turkey from the average bird:

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

1. Air-dry the turkey after brining. Keller likes to drain the turkey and let it air-dry in the refrigerator for an additional 24 hours after soaking it in a brine flavored with lemon and honey for 24 hours. Although it might seem possible to skip the extra step, it isn’t worth the extra day it adds to the preparation time. Even if you use paper towels to pat the turkey dry, it won’t remove as much moisture from the surface as air drying does. And one of the key elements that guarantees an exceptionally crispy skin when the turkey roasts is that extremely dry skin.

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

2. Roast at high heat, all the way through. Many recipes for turkey suggest preheating the oven to 450°F and then lowering the temperature after about 30 minutes. Nonetheless, Keller’s approach achieves amazing results (in a flash) by maintaining a temperature of 450°F during cooking. The brining keeps the meat juicy and ensures that the bird cooks quickly to a gorgeous reddish-brown color.

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

3. Brush with clarified butter. Every turkey deserves a generous dose of butter before roasting. Keller prefers his in the form of clarified butter. As he points out in the My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken recipe, the water content in regular butter can prevent the bird from turning crisp. What’s more, the milk solids in butter can burn at high temperatures. Clarified butter, on the other hand, is pure butterfat, so it helps the skin turn extra-crispy without getting scorched.

thomas keller turkey brine recipe

Ready for your new Thanksgiving turkey?Check out the recipe for Thomas Keller’s My Favorite Roast Turkey right here.

Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken | Discover MasterClass | MasterClass


How long should you soak a turkey and brine before cooking it?

Cover and place it in the refrigerator. Brine for 12 to 24 hours. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Rinse the turkey in cool water and pat dry.

Does Bobby Flay brine the turkey?

You haven’t truly had a perfect Thanksgiving turkey until you’ve tried Bobby Flay’s Cajun Brined Turkey Recipe– which we’ve simplified into this Simple Turkey Brine Recipe. It’s incredibly moist and flavorful– the best turkey we’ve ever tried!

Can you over brine a turkey?

Brining for too long can result in meat that tastes overly-salty and has a spongy texture. If you’re not ready to roast the bird after 18 hours, remove it from the brine, rinse it, pat it dry, and refrigerate for up to two days.

Does Thanksgiving turkey need a brine?

Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the only bird that deserves a brine. Use Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe to brine your next roast chicken, because you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy tender, juicy meat with crispy brown skin. Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the only bird that deserves a brine.

Do you brine a Turkey before roasting?

Like many other classic recipes, My Favorite Roast Turkey calls for brining the turkey before roasting. This sweet, salty mixture includes kosher salt, lemon, honey, garlic, and herbs. After brining, three simple steps separate Keller’s turkey from the average bird: Air-dry the turkey after brining.

Can You brine a frozen turkey?

This Thomas Keller roast turkey recipe is beloved for a reason. You’ll brine the bird so it’s evenly seasoned, then let air-dry in the fridge for crispier skin. This turkey roasts breast-side up, brushed with clarified butter. If you’re using a frozen turkey, be sure to give it adequate time to safely thaw before brining.

Does Thomas Keller make a roast turkey?

Thomas Keller, the award-winning chef/proprietor of The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon, doesn’t rely on complicated techniques or esoteric ingredients to create his roast chicken—just a few fundamentals. And his recipe for roast turkey follows the same essential strategy.

Leave a Comment