A great turkey brine is the first step to getting tender and juicy turkey, whether roasted or smoked. Learn how to brine a turkey with this quick and easy recipe made with salt, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, citrus, and aromatics. No more dried-out turkey!
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Best Turkey Brine Recipe

Learn how to brine a turkey with this quick and easy recipe made with salt, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, citrus, and aromatics. No more dried out turkey again!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Brine, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to brine a turkey, Turkey brine
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 363kcal
Author: Cindy

Ingredients

  • 1 whole turkey fresh or thawed (See notes for frozen turkey)
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups kosher salt**
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 4-6 rosemary sprigs
  • 2-4 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Prepare the pot: Set aside a large pot that can hold enough water to submerge the turkey completely.
  • Make the brine solution: Add salt and other ingredients into 4 cups of water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes or until salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Add the mixture to the large pot, and add the rest of the cold water to the pot. Mix well.
  • Prepare the turkey: Remove the giblets from the body cavity or neck cavity.
  • Brine the turkey: Place the turkey in the brine solution (make sure it's fully submerged). Cover with plastic wrap and let it brine for 8 – 18 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Roast the turkey: When your turkey is ready, remove it from the brine and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Follow our how to cook turkey recipe if you plan to roast the turkey.

Notes

  • *If you want to brine and thaw a frozen turkey at the same time, use half amount of the salt. Remove the package and place the frozen turkey directly into the brine solution. Let it brine in the fridge for 2 days (set the fridge temperature to 40°F or below).
  • **If you’re using table salt, cut the amount by half.
  • Brined turkey drippings can be too salty to make gravy. Taste before using them.
  • If you’d like to add more seasonings after brining, make sure to omit salt.
  • A brined turkey cooks 20-30 minutes faster than a regular turkey.

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal | Protein: 56g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 288mg | Potassium: 577mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 144IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg