Turkey brine is a solution made from a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and often various herbs and spices, used to soak a turkey before cooking it. Brining is a process of soaking the turkey in the brine solution for a specific period, usually several hours or overnight, to enhance the moisture and flavor of the meat.

Turkey Brine

Recipe by caion


Prep time


Cooking time



Here’s a basic recipe for a classic turkey brine:


  • 1 gallon (approx. 3.8 liters) of water

  • 1 cup kosher salt (or 3/4 cup of table salt)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon dried sage

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 4-5 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 medium-sized orange, sliced (optional)

  • 1 medium-sized lemon, sliced (optional)

  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced (optional)

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)


  • In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Stir the mixture until the salt and sugars dissolve completely.
  • Add the black peppercorns, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried sage, dried parsley, bay leaves, and any optional spices you prefer, such as allspice, cloves, or red pepper flakes. Mix everything well to evenly distribute the flavors.
  • If you’re using optional fruits and vegetables, add the sliced orange, lemon, onion, and crushed garlic to the brine mixture. They will add extra aroma and taste to the turkey.
  • Let the brine cool to room temperature. You can also add ice cubes to speed up the cooling process.
  • Once the brine has cooled, place your turkey in a large brining bag or a non-reactive container big enough to hold the turkey and the brine.
  • Pour the brine over the turkey, making sure it’s fully submerged. If necessary, add more water to cover the turkey completely.
  • Seal the bag or cover the container and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the turkey to brine for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours, for optimal results. You can turn the turkey halfway through the brining time to ensure even distribution of flavors.
  • When you’re ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine and thoroughly rinse it under cold running water to remove any excess salt from the surface.

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