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Roasted turkey on a platter with Thanksgiving trimmings

How To Brine A Turkey

Learning how to brine a turkey is the key to dependably tender and moist turkey every holiday season.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword best turkey brine, how to brine a turkey, turkey brine recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 20 hours
Total Time 20 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 73 kcal
Author Cheryl Malik


  • 1 1/2 cups table salt
  • 3 gallons water
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar optional
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns optional
  • 3-5 pieces sprigs fresh thyme optional


  1. The day before roasting, first thing in the morning, make your brine. Mix salt and water together until dissolved.Place the brining bag in the bucket and put the bird in breast-side down. Pour the brine into the bag, making sure the entire bird is covered--no naked bits. Zip the bag up, cover, and put in the fridge. If you don't have space in your fridge, you can use a cooler.
  2. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

  3. Take the turkey out and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, making sure to dry the inside of the cavity, too.


  1. Return to the refrigerator in a roasting pan and let air-dry overnight. This helps develop crispy skin, since there will be no excess moisture in or on the turkey to create steam when roasting.

Recipe Notes

  • Don't brine a kosher turkey, it already has a high salt content.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in the brine - you can weight it down with a large plate with weights or cans on top.
  • Don't over brine your turkey or it will be too salty
  • Don't salt your turkey after brining like you normally would.
  • Put the turkey in the container breast-side down (this is NOT what the turkey is doing in my photos, but I didn't want to show off the turkey butt!).
  • Follow the recipe precisely for the salt and water ratio and use table salt.
  • Add in your favorite herbs if you wish.
Nutrition Facts
How To Brine A Turkey
Amount Per Serving (8 g)
Calories 73 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 21296mg926%
Potassium 41mg1%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 25IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 78mg8%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.