Turkey Brine

Turkey brine creates an utterly tender and juicy bird bursting really good flavor for one mouth-watering bite after another!

Turkey brine is the perfect way to create a star main dish. If you happen to have any leftover roasted turkey, try cutting it up in Turkey Noodle Soup or Turkey Tetrazzini.

Moist turkey sliced on a white plate and served with mashed potatoes and gravy

Tender + Juicy

Whether you’ve been given the sometimes daunting task of roasting the turkey for that special occasion, or just want a touch of extra for an everyday dinner, you will be the turkey king!

All it takes is a little prep to achieve the most deliciously moist and flavorful turkey, and one way to do that is to make a turkey brine.

Brining a turkey involves soaking it in water that contains salt and any other flavors you desire. The salt and spices soak into every fiber of the turkey resulting in flavorful tender meat. 

These simple extra steps are not hard, and are well worth the effort. Trust me!! Just whip up your favorite sides, and enjoy!

Raw whole turkey in a stock pot with brining liquid

how to brine a turkey

BROTH. Add 1 quart of vegetable broth to a medium pot over medium heat. Mix in the poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, and salt. Bring the broth to a simmer, and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

TURKEY. Prepare the turkey by removing the neck and giblets. Pour the broth with seasonings into a large stock pot or 4-5 gallon bucket, and add the remaining vegetable broth and cold water. Stir to combine.

REFRIGERATE. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side down, making sure that the cavity fills with brine and the brine covers the turkey. Refrigerate the turkey in the bucket overnight (a good rule of thumb is to brine for 1 hour per pound, so a 14 pound turkey should brine for about 14 hours).

PREP FOR COOKING. When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine, let the excess brine drain from the cavity, and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels before cooking.

Whole turkey brined in a stock pot

Brining Tips

There are many different brining mixtures out there and I really like this one that I’m sharing today. No matter what the recipe is you use for the brine there are a few things that you don’t want to overlook:

Fresh Turkey: Many frozen turkeys already have a salty solution of some kind. Choosing a fresh turkey helps make sure that it is not overly salty. However, you can still successfully brine a frozen turkey.

  • If using a frozen turkey be sure that it completely thawed before brining
  • Read the labels of frozen turkeys to find one with a low sodium level
  • Try pre-soaking the turkey for 30 minutes in cold water. Drain and then brine.
  • You can reduce the salt In the recipe by either choosing a low sodium broth or reducing that added amount of sea salt. 

Brine Time: Allow 1 hour of soak time per pound of turkey. If you wish you can flip the turkey over for the last ⅓ of the soak time to help with a more even brine.

Pat dry: Once you have finished brining your turkey,  allow the extra liquid to drain out and then pat it dry. This will help give a nice crispy skin.

Turkey in a roasting pan on top of cut veggies

Cooking FAQ

Cook Time: To ensure that your turkey is cooked and ready to be served at the desired time you’re going to have to do a little calculation. If the turkey if frozen you’ll need to start with how long it will take to thaw it + brine time + cook time

  • Thaw a turkey: When thawing in the fridge, plan on 4-5  hours per pound. If thawing in Cold water, plan 30 minutes per pound. Be sure to change the water every 30 minutes. 
  • Brine a turkey: 1 hour per pound
  • Cook time: This varies. Be sure to check your cooking recipe and factor in the size of the bird.  

Fun Tip: As I was researching this recipe I saw that several people posted that they clean out a refrigerator or drawer. Then, they place the turkey and brine in a brining bag and seal it closed. Next, they place the bag in the clean drawer and allow it to chill there for the allotted time period.

Sliced roasted turkey on a white plate served with mashed potatoes and gravy

For some Delicious Side Dishes, check out:

Turkey Brine Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Turkey brine creates an utterly tender and juicy bird bursting really good flavor for one mouth-watering bite after another!
Course Dressing, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Brine 14 hours
Total Time 14 hours 5 minutes
Calories 7247 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 14-16 pound turkey thawed

Instructions
 

  • Add 1 quart of vegetable broth to a medium pot over medium heat. Mix in the poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, and salt. Bring the broth to a simmer, and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Prepare the turkey by removing the neck and giblets. Pour the broth with seasonings into a large stock pot or 4-5 gallon bucket, and add the remaining vegetable broth and cold water. Stir to combine.
  • Place the turkey in the brine, breast side down, making sure that the cavity fills with brine and the brine covers the turkey. Refrigerate the turkey in the bucket overnight (a good rule of thumb is to brine for 1 hour per pound, so a 14 pound turkey should brine for about 14 hours).
  • When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine, let the excess brine drain from the cavity, and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels before cooking.

Like this Recipe?

Pin it now!

Pin It NowPin It Now

Shop Online

Lil' Luna Products

See All Products

Want more inspiration?

More Recipes You'll Love

Cinnamon Butter

1 hour 5 minutes

5 from 5 votes

Turkey Gravy with Drippings

20 minutes

5 from 4 votes

Vanilla Crème Anglaise

8 hours 30 minutes

5 from 5 votes

Cinnamon Buttermilk Syrup

10 minutes

5 from 4 votes

Cream Cheese green chili Dip

1 minute

5 from 5 votes

Nutella Dip

5 minutes

5 from 6 votes

About the Author

Alicia Skousen

Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day.

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for a delicious and simple to make turkey recipe for Thanksgiving! I recommend this one for sure!

  2. 5 stars
    This is perfect to use for thanksgiving! My family loves turkey all year round, too. This adds such great flavor!