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How to Brine a Turkey


If you’re in a room with people who cook and want to see them polarize, say the sentence “should you brine a Thanksgiving turkey?” It seems like people who cook the turkey are generally very pro-brining or vehemently against brining the turkey.

If you’re new to brining, think of it as like marinating. You add herbs, spices (and other things depending on the recipe you’re using) to water, pour it over the turkey and let the turkey sit in it to add flavoring and make it extra juicy.

ALSO ON PRIME PARENTS CLUB: How to Perfectly Carve a Turkey

We’ve cooked turkeys for Thanksgiving just about any way that you can try them–brined, un-brined, stuffed, not stuffed, fried, not fried and, honestly, I think it just depends on the year and the cook and a number of other factors like how you’re cooking it. I’ve brined turkeys that have been amazing. The very next year, I’ve followed the same brine recipe and the turkey turned out super dry.

However, if you’ve never brined a turkey, try it out and see what you think. There are many different brining recipes, so this is just one we’ve used.

For this recipe, you’ll need a food-safe brining bag and also a pot big enough to let the turkey sit in for a period of time in a cool place. (We use our fryer potand it works very well.)

Turkey Brine Recipe

Turkey Brine

Rating: 51

Turkey Brine


  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 3 oranges, sliced (peel on)


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Let cool.
  2. Rinse the turkey (remember to remove the neck, gizzard, etc. from the inside!) and place in a large, food-safe brining bag inside of a large pot.
  3. Poor the cooled brine mixture over the turkey inside of the bag. If the turkey is not covered, pour extra water over the turkey until it is just covered.
  4. Seal the bag and put the lid on the pot and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking.
  5. When ready, remove the turkey and rinse off the brine.
  6. Allow turkey to sit in clean, fresh water for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from water, pat dry and cook as desired.


Do you brine your turkey? What recipe do you use? I would love to try it, so leave it in the comments!

Used with this Recipe

affiliate links are used in this post

Along with being a contributor to, Jacqueline Wilson is: Appalachia Advocate~Supporter of Women~Writer~Accidental Pit Bull Advocate.

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