This Turkey Brine recipe made with salt, oranges, bay leaves, cinnamon, brown sugar, and black pepper will add moisture, tenderness, and flavor to your turkey. Brine turkey for 12 to 24 hours for the most amazing turkey for your holiday gathering!
This Turkey Brine recipe will ensure that you have a top-notch turkey when it comes to tenderness and flavor. Whether you’re making just a breast or a full bird, you’ll want to brine it with this recipe!
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and it’s time to start thinking about the menu, timetable, and so much more. Don’t forget to order your turkeys now from your local butcher!
A brine, while a simple prep method, does require a fair amount of inactive time and is something that needs to be started the day before.
So if it’s now Thanksgiving morning and you’re just starting to think about a brine… save this recipe for next year and move on with another method this year.
Why Should You Brine Turkey:
Water: Keeps the turkey moist by penetrating the meat over a long period of time
Salt & Sugar: Breaks down the connective tissues, yielding a softer meat. These also add flavor.
Spices, Herbs, & Produce: A basic brine only uses water, sugar, and salt. But for more festive occasions, I like to add additional flavors through these additions
Turkey Brine Recipe:
This Turkey Brine is made with water, light brown sugar (you could use dark too), kosher salt, oranges, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and black peppercorns.
How To Brine A Turkey:
Brining a turkey or any poultry is an easy method for adding moisture and flavor to your meat.
- In a large stockpot, you’ll begin with water, sugar, and salt in a large pot, cooking over high heat until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Next, you’ll add in the herbs and spices: cinnamon, oranges, bay leaves, and black peppercorns and bring to a boil.
- Then, let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Add your turkey to the stockpot with the brine and add cold water to the pot to submerge the turkey. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the turkey from brine and pat the turkey dry with paper towels before cooking.
Recipe Tip: If you are brining just a turkey breast, you can use a smaller pot or place the turkey breast in a roasting or brining bag with the brine.
How Long Do Your Brine A Turkey?
A full turkey should be brined for no less than 12 hours, but 24 hours is preferred. If you’re brining just a turkey breast, you can cut the time a little and 8 hours should be plenty.
How Much Brine Do I Need?
This will vary based on the size of the meat you’re planning to make. I always start my brines with 1 gallon of water and then I add additional water as needed to make sure the meat is fully submerged in the brine.
Adding water will dilute the mixture a little bit, but it will still be effective. If you’re making this for a bird that is 15lbs or more, I would double the recipe.
My husband was the one who first taught me about brining your poultry, and he probably learned about it from an episode of Good Eats, but I’m a firm believer in this method now.
Seriously, once you’ve tried brined turkey, you’ll never want to use any other prep method again, it truly does yield the most tender and flavorful meat!
I also highly recommend rubbing your turkey all over with my Herb Butter recipe after you take it out of the brine and before cooking for an even more amazing flavor!
Try it on my Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe!
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- In a large stockpot, heat the water, salt, and light brown sugar over high heat until the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil is reached, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
- Add in the meat and add additional water if needed to fully submerge the turkey.
- Refrigerate the brining turkey for 12 to 24 hours before cooking.
- This is a base brine for a 5 to 15lb piece of meat, double it for a larger bird.