Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro
12 servings (serving size: about 4 ounces)

Even if you are only serving the turkey to a small group, it is great to have leftovers for sandwiches. Briefly boiling the thyme and black pepper in water extracts the flavor and helps infuse the brine. If the turkey starts to brown too fast, shield with aluminum foil. Serve with mashed red potatoes and roasted baby carrots.

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons pepper, and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl; cool to room temperature. Add remaining 6 cups water, salt, honey, and sugar, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour salt mixture into a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag. Add ice and turkey; seal. Refrigerate 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Remove turkey from bag, and discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.

Step 2

Rub turkey with oil. Combine 1 tablespoon pepper and chopped thyme; rub over turkey.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step 4

Place the turkey on a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the breast registers 180°. Place turkey on a platter. Cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Ratings & Reviews

A House Favorite

November 17, 2016
I found this recipe last year and it came to be my family's favorite l. I'm going to use it again for this years Thanksgiving although I bake a turkey throughout the year now as well. The meat is so moist, flavorful and delicious. I use baking bags to cut down on cooking time as well as helping to not dry out the meat. It's hard not to keep eating it as it's being carved. Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

Very moist

October 20, 2015
I used a 2 lb roast and it turned out very moist. I will increase all the spices, except the salt, in the brine next time. Best turkey I have made!

gr8cooker's Review

November 29, 2013
Very easy and flavorful. Only drawback was that 1 hour was way too short for roasting time for this size breast. My oven is only a year old, and other recipes cook at or very near the estimated time, so I know it is calibrated correctly. My 5.66 lb bone-in breast took 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach 180. Thank goodness I wasn't tied to a firm serving time for Thanksgiving, although it did make coordinating the other side dishes a tad problematic!

CAgirlinIA's Review

November 28, 2013
This was very good BUT it took TWICE as long to cook as the recipe specified....which, of course, threw off all the side dishes. No one else had that problem, huh?

AmyRadish's Review

March 20, 2011
So so good. I've passed this recipe on to many of my friends and they've all loved it. See my full review at

LynnJga's Review

February 05, 2011
First time to brine...I now will forever brine my poultry. Made this for Christmas dinner and all loved it. Several asked how did I get the turkey breast sooo moist and flavorful. I am doing another turkey breast next week; my local grocer had frozen turkey breasts on sale, too good of a deal to pass up and especially now that I know how to really handle a bird ;)

FoodieSandi's Review

April 06, 2010
SO good! I had never brined a turkey before, but I think I'm going to start brining the Thanksgiving turkey. This was very easy to do, and was a big hit at Easter brunch. I may cut down on the pepper (in the rub) a little next time, I'm not a huge fan and it was a little strong for me. Very juicy on it's own, although I did pour the pan juices over the slices on the serving tray.

slspin's Review

April 05, 2010
I made this for a Passover dinner and it was a huge hit! Everyone was impressed. No more dry turkey breast for us. I used the leftovers in the chicken tamale casserole although I hated to hid the wonderful flavor.

JIMMIC's Review

March 19, 2010
Good luck getting this to the table, it was SO GOOD that we ate a few handfuls as we were carving it. I had to cook it about 20 minutes extra to get to the 180. Juicy and tasty, I've always liked turkey, now I LOVE it.

GramercyGal's Review

November 26, 2009
I can't think how many times I've made a turkey or turkey breast and been underwhelmed... this was OUTSTANDING! Moist, flavorful, perfectly cooked!! I can't wait for the left overs tomorrow. This is my new Thanksgiving and holiday favorite meat!