Brines for Turkey – How to Brine a Turkey

Brining a turkey allows for a very tender and moist roasted bird. Brining is easy and I highly recommend it! Your final result will be completely satisfying! If you do not have a large pot or room in your fridge, go ahead and brine your turkey in a cooler. Make sure it is packed with enough ice to last through the night. Here is what you need for this:

1 turkey
1 ½ cups coarse salt
¾ cup dark brown sugar
4 cups boiling water
4 bay leaves
1 TBS whole black peppercorns
Ice water

Remove giblets from turkey and reserve for making stock for gravy. Rinse the turkey thoroughly.

Place turkey in a large container – large enough to be able to cover it with brining liquid.

Place the salt and brown sugar in a separate bowl. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Add enough ice water to cover the turkey.

Once the liquid is COLD pour it over the turkey. Make sure the whole bird is immersed. Cover your container with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the turkey overnight.

Remove turkey from brine when you are ready to cook it. Discard all of the liquid.

Print the Turkey Brine Recipe Here

My name is Mary Ann Allen and I am here to help you get organized so you can save money on groceries and feed your family healthy, nutritious food. My multi-cultural cooking background comes from being born in the US and raised in Bolivia. I have 5 kids and own around 400 cook books. I absolutely love to cook!

10 Comments

  • November 23, 2010

    Mirjana McIlroy

    I have a frozen turkey I will be using for thanksgiving, it’s a Butterball 13 lb Turkey. Can I still brine it the same as a fresh turkey? Any suggestions?

  • November 23, 2010

    theFrugalChef

    Absolutely! Please make sure it is completely thawed before you brine it. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mary Ann

  • January 26, 2011

    Mirjana McIlroy

    This brine was perfect! We will be making turkey like this, every year, from now on. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • December 24, 2011

    Jen

    I made a turkey using this brine recipe for Thanksgiving this year. It turned out so delicious and moist that I’m doing it again tomorrow for Christmas dinner! Thank you so much for doing these helpful recipes and videos. Merry Christmas!

  • November 15, 2012

    barbara

    hi. can you use regular sugar? how much regular sugar?

  • November 17, 2012

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Barbara!
    Yes you can. Use the same amount as you would brown. Thank you for stopping by! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mary Ann

  • November 19, 2012

    barbara

    can you brine a turkey that has up to 3% solution?

  • November 19, 2012

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Barbara!
    If the turkey already has a 3% solution I don’t think it would be wise to brine. Those turkeys are already injected with salt and you will end up with a salty turkey. Thank you very much for stopping by! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mary Ann

  • November 18, 2013

    Rebecca

    Hi, do you brine a kosher turkey?

  • November 18, 2013

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Rebecca!
    No. You do not brine a kosher turkey. You need to use a turkey that has not been treated for this recipe. Thank you!
    Mary Ann

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