Turkey Brine creates a tender, moist and juicy turkey with sweet citrusy flavoring and a hint of spice all submerged in a water bath for your turkey to soak from the inside-out. Make your turkey irresistible this holiday season!
This Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without side dishes! If you love side dishes try this World’s Best Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilar or Roasted Honey Cinnamon Butter Sweet Potatoes with Easy Turkey Gravy drizzled over top. Don’t forget Grandma’s Famous Pumpkin Pie to enjoy for dessert afterwards!
Turkey Brine Recipe
Make your holidays taste even better with this turkey brine.
Soaking in all the flavors from the inside, out is the perfect way to prepare a moist, rich and flavorful turkey.
Every turkey needs a good brine to marinate in.
All the rich flavors soak into the turkey brine leaving the turkey ready to cook and have a nice crisp outside with a tender and juicy inside.
Thanksgiving and Christmas just got better with this simple turkey brine.
Your family will be raving about this beautiful turkey on the dinner table.
Why do you brine a turkey
Turkey is a lean type of meat especially the breast meat. Since it does not have a lot of fat it tends to dry out and become tough when being cooked.
The brine helps prevent drying out and creates a tender and soft turkey both during and after cooking.
When a turkey is submerged into brine, it will absorb the brine inside and out during those long hours.
Brine will lock in moisture and plumps up your turkey.
Your meat color will even change colors and lighten for a more tender and juicy turkey.
This will help keep your turkey stay moist and also will season it while it is soaking.
What is brining
Brine is a simple solution of water and salt. The added flavoring only enhances your turkey on the inside and out for the big day.
During this process, the brine is actually breaking down some of the proteins in the muscle of the turkey.
Which in turn helps with the overall moisture absorption. When cooking your turkey this will prevent the meat from becoming tough.
If you are nervous about overcooking your turkey and having dry turkey, brining is the way to go!
It is a great way to be on the safe side just in case your turkey is over cooked when you are preparing for the holidays.
If it is overcooked, it will still come out tender and juicy. A brined turkey will stay juicy and taste good through and through.
What you need to brine a turkey
Simply add water and all your ingredients to a large pot to fit and submerge your turkey in.
Each of these ingredients pairs well with one another leaving it an irrefutable flavor once cooked.
Warm water helps the ingredients soak in all the new ingredients.
- Warm water: you will want to submerge your turkey in water.
- Salt: just a dash!
- Orange: brings in a bold citrus flavor.
- Onion: is a strong, salty, sweet and a hint of spice flavor.
- Lemon: sweet and sour combination.
- Rosemary: has a lemon-pine flavor to add to the lemons in the recipe.
- Thyme: strong, powerful herb with a pungent flavor.
- Peppercorn: fresher and fruitier taste and texture of pepper.
- Turkey: this is for a 12 to 14 pound unfrozen turkey.
How long should you brine a turkey
Depending on the size of turkey and how much salt you add to the brine is how long you should brine your turkey for.
Usually 1 cup of salt for every gallon of water you use is at least 24 hours long of brining.
Brining a large turkey with more water and a little less salt can be brined up to 3 days long.
For best results, brining a turkey should be at least 12 to 24 hours long. The longer the better!
I recommend brining 1 to 3 days long.
This will ensure your turkey is being brined from the inside and out with more time to soak in the flavors and become juicy when cooking.
You will want to make sure you do not brine past 3 days though. This will leave your turkey on the salty side.
If you only have a few hours or not very long, it is still worth it to submerge your turkey for as little to as long as you can for best results when cooking.
When brining, you will want to keep your turkey covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Tips on making turkey brine
Turkey brine is a few simple steps that will change your turkey for the best!
You can’t go wrong when brining your turkey.
Tender, juicy meat is being prepared during this brine.
It does take a little more time and being more prepared but in the end the results are AMAZING!
- When purchasing a turkey look to see if it has already been brined. You will want to find a turkey that has not had any salt enhanced agents.
- It is okay to have your turkey a still a little frozen when going into the water. It will thaw in the brine.
- Prepare your refrigerator by clearing a large space to fit the turkey into to be brined.
- Some have used a clean cooler to leave their turkey to brine in since the refrigerator has limited space.
- Using Kosher salt is a MUST. You will not want to substitute this salt. Table salt is a dense salt compared to Kosher and doesn’t measure the same way.
- You will want your water cool to warm, not hot.
- If you like to try new flavors and herb, mix up and add in the herbs and seasoning that you love.
- Completely dry your turkey before baking it by patting it dry with paper towels. This will ensure a crispy skin.
- After your brined turkey is cooked it tends to be a little pink. When in doubt, check your turkey with a meat thermometer. When it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the thigh, your turkey is prepared and ready to eat!
Can you make gravy from a brined turkey
Gravy is usually made with turkey drippings. Once the turkey is brined and then cooked, use the drippings from the pan to create a flavorful gravy.
A brined turkey will not have any drippings until it is cooked.
The drippings that are left over from a brined turkey is salty and pure water with a little bit of flavor that was not soaked in from the turkey.
Does brine turkey cook faster
A brined turkey after it has been marinating does indeed cook a little faster.
Since it has more moisture, it will cook a bit faster compared to a turkey that has not been brined.
Cooked turkey that has been brined takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours but can vary depending on different variables like oven and how big your turkey is.
To make sure your turkey is cooked to perfection, check the temperature of your turkey in the thickest part of the thigh. It will need to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your turkey will be moist, flavorful and delicious inside and out!
Storing brined turkey
Yes, you should refrigerate the turkey while letting it brine. Just stick the turkey (breast side down) in a bag or container and pour the brine over. Close the bag or cover the pan and let the turkey marinate in the fridge overnight (or at least 12 hours).
You can put a partially frozen turkey in a brine, as long as you use a large pot and refrigerate the bird while it’s defrosting and brining. A large turkey takes a few days to defrost, so wait until the last day to brine your Thanksgiving turkey in cold water so you don’t over-brine it.
- Prepare your refrigerator: brining a turkey takes up a lot of space in your refrigerator. Make enough space to fit the pot or bucket into your refrigerator.
- Storing the turkey: Finding a pot or bucket big enough to hold the turkey and submerge it in is the hardest part. You will want to make sure your turkey is completely submerged in the turkey brine.
- Storing in a cooler: this is a great idea if you have time to clean and prepare a cooler for your turkey. It will need to be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe though.
Cooking a Brined Turkey
My Slow Cooker Turkey Breast works well with this brined turkey recipe.
A brined turkey will be cooked just as you normally would not being brined.
When you are done brining your turkey, completely pat your turkey dry with paper towels.
Add any spices or rubs to your turkey before cooking. Baste the turkey with juices and brush it will butter on the outside for a crispy skin.
Sometimes brined turkeys tend to cook more quickly than a turkey that has not been brined.
For best results, check the internal temperature for the most accurate reading.
How to make turkey brine recipe
A brine turkey is submerged and marinated in a water bath filled with flavorful herbs and spices.
This brine makes your turkey juicy, moist and flavorful.
For more of a holiday flavoring I added sliced oranges and lemons along with traditional and classic herbs.
This is a savory turkey that is a tried and true favorite recipe.
You will be using this recipe year after year!
- Making the brine: Place the turkey in a large pot. In a large bowl add the warm water and salt. Stir to dissolve. Pour the water over the turkey and add the orange, onion, lemon, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorn. Add more water if needed to make sure that the turkey is fully submersed.
- Marinate the turkey: Cover the pot and place into the fridge for 1-3 days. Before you roast the turkey, place it on a rack and pat to dry with a paper towel.
- Cook your turkey: Follow my Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe for instructions on how to cook the turkey.
Turkey Brine Recipe
- 1 gallon warm water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 orange sliced
- 1 medium sized onion quartered
- 1 lemon sliced
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 3 tablespoons peppercorn
- 1 turkey
- Place the turkey in a large pot. In a large bowl add the warm water and salt. Stir to dissolve. Pour the water over the turkey and add the orange, onion, lemon, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorn. Add more water if needed to make sure that the turkey is fully submersed.
- Cover the pot and place into the fridge for 1-3 days. Before you roast the turkey, place it on a rack and pat to dry with a paper towel.
- Follow my turkey recipe for instructions on how to cook the turkey.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.