Holiday Whole Turkey



Serves 8 or more

  • 1 (10 to 12 pound/ 280 to 340 g) whole turkey*
  • 2 quarts (1.8 liters) water
  • 11 tablespoons (160 g) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) poultry seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons (84 g) butter
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage


  1. Breakdown the turkey*, lifting the double breast off the bone, skin on, and removing the leg quarters from the carcass. Save the carcass to make turkey stock.
  2. In a large pot, dissolve the salt in the water and stir in the peppercorns and poultry seasoning to make an herbed brine.
  3. Submerge the turkey breast and leg quarters in the brine and refrigerate at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  4. Fill and preheat the SousVide Supreme water oven to 146F/63C.
  5. Rinse the turkey breast and leg quarters and pat dry.
  6. Put each leg quarter and the breast into separate large (gallon/3.8 liter) cooking pouches, add 2 tablespoons (28 g) of the butter and a sprig of sage to each pouch and vacuum seal. Refrigerate the leg quarters while you cook the breast.
  7. Submerge the breast pouch in the water oven to cook for at least 4 hours (and up to 6 will not affect textural quality.)
  8. After the breast has cooked, remove the pouch and, if not finishing immediately, quick chill, submerged in ice water (half ice/half water) for at least 1 hour, adding ice as needed.) You may refrigerate the cooked breast for up to 2 days before finishing.
  9. Increase the temperature on the water oven to 176F/80C.
  10. Submerge the leg quarter pouches in the water oven for at least 8 hours (and up to 12 will not affect textural quality.)
  11. Remove from the water oven and, if not finishing right away, quick chill the pouch, submerged in ice water (half ice/half water) and refrigerate for up to 2 days before finishing.

To finish

  1. Fill and preheat the water oven to 146F/63C.
  2. Submerge the turkey breast and leg quarter pouches in the water oven for at least 1 hour to reheat.
  3. Remove the turkey from the pouches, pat dry with paper towels, and brush with the melted herb butter.
  4. Preheat the traditional broiler to high (or use a kitchen torch) to sear the skin of the turkey until golden brown.
  5. Serve the juiciest, most succulent turkey you’ve ever tasted.

*If you prefer, ask your butcher to lift the double breast with skin on and remove the leg quarters for you.  Granted, this doesn’t make the big splashy whole presentation, but the big, golden double breast on a platter is pretty impressive!

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  1. Kirk Petersen says:

    By ‘double breast’ do you mean to keep both halves connected? When doing this do you start cutting from the side or from the neck area? Then is the double breast splayed out in the bag to somewhat flatten it?

  2. SousVide Supreme Author says:

    Yes, Kirk, keep both halves connected. We start along the sides, cutting through the rib bones toward the neck on each side. Then peeling the flesh away from the bones going toward the neck and toward the center. Then we tuck any excess skin around the edges, leaving a somewhat flattened (but still pretty thick) double breast) intact. It should fit into a gallon sized vacuum seal pouch pretty nicely along with the butter and sage and peppercorns or whatever you choose to put in with it.

  3. I like to cook the dark meat at 150* for 12 hrs (overnight) then drop the temp. to 131* add breast in the morning,about 20mins. before serving sear or broil and serve.No need to brine since it makes the texture ham like.

  4. I like to cook the dark meat at 150* 12 hrs (overnight) then lower temp. to 131* drop in the breast in the morning while leaving dark meat in.20 mins. before serving sear or broil,delicious.

  5. SousVide Supreme Author says:

    Absolutely also a good plan! Happy Thanksgiving!

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