Juicy Turkey Brine {How to Brine a Turkey}

Looking to make a super flavorful, juicy turkey for your holiday table this year? You’ve come to just the right place.  This Juicy Turkey Brine recipe requires cider, broth, fresh herbs, citrus, ice and a big cooler – that’s it!

Juicy Turkey Brine Recipe 


Brining Tools and Ingredients

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’…. Shall We?? 🙂

Brining is a culinary technique that is sooooo worthwhile. Yep, you do have to do a bit of advance planning since brining does require some TIME where the turkey rests in the brine so the magic can happen.

Once you give it a try, you’ll be forever brining your turkey each Thanksgiving as well as other meats that you enjoy roasting and grilling. 

Brining requires only two tools: a stock pot or Dutch oven for preparing the brine and a large cooler where the turkey rests in the brine.

What to love about brined turkey 

  1. It’s juicy, juicy, juicy!!
  2. Texture and butter-soft tenderness.
  3. FLAVOR….finger-lickin’ good.

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Turkey Brine

1. Will brining my turkey make it too salty?  I get this question ALOT! The only way brining can make your turkey too salty is if you go away and leave it in the brine like FOREVER and I know you aren’t going to do that because, after all, you’ve got Thanksgiving Dinner to get on the table, right?

2. But what about my GRAVY?  Will the drippings from a brined turkey make my gravy too salty??  YES….that can definitely happen, so do a taste test of your gravy before adding any salt and pepper.  Chances are, you won’t need any additional seasonings at all.

3. How does brining work, anyway?  Brining is a technique that restaurant chefs have used for years and now home cooks are jumping in.  When you submerge meat or poultry into a brine, three basic things happen:

  • The meat slowly absorbs some of the liquid (the brine) and this ultimately helps the end result (the turkey!) be more juicy and moist when cooked.
  • The protein/muscle fibers are dissolved and they begin clumping together, which helps reduce the toughness of the meat.
  • The muscle/protein fibers denature and essentially unfold; as they unfold, the brine liquid works it’s way in between the fibers so there is more liquid in the meat as it cooks, resulting in more tender cooked meat/turkey.
  • Long story short:  it’s something you’ve got to experience for yo self and then you’ll be a believer!

Printable Juicy Turkey Brine Recipe

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Poultry and Meat Brine

Looking to make a super flavorful, juicy turkey for your holiday table this year? You've come to just the right place.  This Juicy Turkey Brine recipe requires cider, broth, fresh herbs, citrus, ice and a big cooler - that's it! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Chef Alli

Ingredients

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme, approx. 1 oz.
  • 1 bundle fresh rosemary, approx. 1 oz.
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 Tbs. allspice berries
  • 1 Tbs. peppercorns
  • 2-3 star anise
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 oranges, cut in half
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 turkey, frozen or thawed, 15 - 18 lbs.
  • ice

Instructions

  • Prepare herbs by placing them into a gallon bag, using a rolling pin to roll over the bag several times.  You will immediately notice the wonderful aroma that releases itself; this makes the herbs extra fragrant for your brine. 
  • To make the brine, place all ingredients (including the rolled herbs) except the turkey and the ice into a large stock pot and bring to a boil; whisk until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, then remove pot from the heat to let brine fully cool. 
  • Place your turkey into a very large (clean!) chest cooler (cooler lid must close) and pour in the prepared, cooled brine.  Add enough water to the brine to completely submerge your turkey.  Add ice to the brine to keep it chilled.  To keep your turkey fully submerged in the brine, place a large bag of ice on top of the turkey.  
  • If your turkey is THAWED  going into the brining solution, let him rest in the brine for 18-24 hours. , keeping the brine chilled at all times, never letting the temperature of the brine get above 40 degrees F, adding ice to the brine as needed.  
    If your turkey is FROZEN going into the brining solution, let him rest in the brine for up to 48 hours, letting him thaw and brine at the same time.  🙂 
  • To cook your turkey, remove him from the brine and rinse well, both inside and out, then pat dry.  Roast the turkey using your preferred recipe. 

Notes

**Be sure to check the blog post for tips and tricks, specific instructions, recommended tools, and FAQ’s for making this recipe.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy poultry and meat brine, turkey brine

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

Blog Comments

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5 stars
Hi Chef Alli,
I made this brine this morning and my turkey is in it until tomorrow morning. It’s fantastic! I can’t wait to taste the turkey. I have never made a brine before, but I don’t think I’ll ever make a turkey again without it!
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi There –
My Thanksgiving is made! Thanks for reaching out to let me know that you enjoy this brine. Isn’t it the best technique for a juicy turkey? I’m like you – I’ll never make another turkey without brining it first. I also like how EASY it actually is to do.
Your fan,
Chef Alli
Thanks so much!

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