The best turkey brine recipe uses a straightforward combination of salt, sugar, and spices to produce the moistest and tastiest turkey you’ve ever cooked. Try our simple roasting and brining recipes for your Thanksgiving turkey!
Here is 5 recipe(s):
Thanksgiving Turkey Brine
Prep: 0 15min0
Total: 0 15h45min0
Yield: 14 to 16 servings
- 6 quarts tap water
- 1 pound kosher salt
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 cups honey
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- Large bunch fresh thyme
- 2 heads garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled
- 5 pounds ice cubes
- 14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
- 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
- 2 lemons, zested
- Bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat. Pour the boiling water over the kosher salt in a large bowl while doing so slowly and carefully. Stir to blend.
- To the salt and water mixture, add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme, and garlic. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. In a cooler or bucket big enough to accommodate the brine and the turkey, put the ice. With a sturdy whisk, thoroughly combine all the ingredients after pouring the brine over the ice.
- Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. As you immerse the bird, make sure the liquid fills the bird’s cavity. Place the bird in the brine and cover the cooler to let it soak for about 12 hours or overnight.
- After removing the bird from the brine, thoroughly dry it with some heavy (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine. Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Spread half of the butter directly on the meat underneath the skin of one turkey breast after gently lifting the skin. Repeat with the other breast. As the bird roasts, the butter will add additional moisture and richness.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the turkey in a pan with a rack for roasting. Place the turkey on the lower rack of the oven and roast for about 3 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer reading taken from the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. Place the turkey on a cutting board or serving platter after removing it from the oven, and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
My Favorite Turkey Brine
Brining is the process of brining a turkey, which produces incredibly juicy, flavorful meat. Here’s how to do it.
Yield: 18 serving(s)
- 3 c. apple juice or apple cider
- 2 gallons cold water
- 4 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c. kosher salt
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. peppercorns
- 5 whole bay leaves
- Peel of three large oranges
- Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pot while stirring to ensure that the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Turn off the heat, cover the brine, and let it cool completely.
- Place the raw turkey in a sizable brining bag or pot, cover with the brine solution, and chill for 16 to 24 hours.
- Before roasting, take the turkey out of the brine (throw the brine away) and immerse it for 15 minutes in a pot of cold, fresh water. This removes excess salt from the outside.
- After removing the turkey from the water, pat it dry and roast it as usual.
Best Turkey Brine Recipe
The best turkey brine is a straightforward mixture of salt, sugar, and spices that results in the moistest, most flavorful turkey you’ve ever cooked!
Serving Size: 1 serving
Nutritional Information: ServingSize 1 serving; Calories 95 kcal; Carbohydrate 23 g; Sodium 5675 mg; Sugar 21 g.
- 1 gallon warm water ((more as needed))
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup sea salt
- 3 shallots, (roughly chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic, (smashed)
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons dried juniper berries ((optional))
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, (roughly chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Fill a clean bucket or cooler with a gallon of warm water. Add the brown sugar, salt, shallots, garlic, herbs and spices. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
- Carefully submerge the turkey in the brine. If necessary, add an additional 1/2 gallon of water to completely cover the turkey with the brine. (Or more water!).
- If using a bucket, wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge for one to three days. To keep the turkey chilled for up to three days if using a cooler, fill it with ice.
- Depending on the size of the turkey, the brine time should be determined. Only brine a turkey for 24 to 36 hours if it weighs 15 pounds or less. Brine a turkey over 15 pounds for up to 3 days. *To avoid over-seasoning a smaller turkey when brining it for a longer period of time, cut the salt to 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
- Remove the turkey from the brine water and let it sit on a rack for at least a few hours before roasting. Allow the turkey skin to dry thoroughly. Use paper towels to pat it dry if needed. If you want to give the bird more time to dry, you can put the roasting pan in the refrigerator (or back in the cooler over ice). (The dryer the skin, the better it browns. Drying it overnight is best. ).
- Once dry, rub the turkey skin thoroughly with butter. Herbs are occasionally stuffed into the turkey, but it is not required.
- 15 minutes per pound of turkey at 325°F during roasting To prevent the breast meat from overcooking, roast for the first couple of hours uncovered, then tent with foil for the final hour. Breast meat should be 165° F when using a meat thermometer.
- Before serving, let the turkey rest for at least 25 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
For an impressive main course, look here. Guests will be counting down the minutes until carving time because of the moist, flavorful bird. — Scott Rugh, Portland, Oregon.
Yield: 14 servings.
Nutritional Information: 834 calories, 58g of fat (25g saturated), 314mg of cholesterol, 658mg of sodium, 1g of carbohydrate (0 sugars), 0g of fiber, and 73g of protein.
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 5 fresh sage leaves
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 2 quarts water
- 2 quarts cold water
- 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
- 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
- HERB BUTTER:
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
- 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Combine the salt, brown sugar, sage, thyme, rosemary, and 2 quarts of water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. To bring the brine to room temperature, add the cold water. Place a second roasting bag inside a turkey-size oven roasting bag; add turkey. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Seal the bags after removing as much air as you can, then turn them to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally. , Drain and discard brine; rinse turkey and pat dry. Tie drumsticks together. In a food processor, combine the remaining ingredients; cover and run until smooth. Carefully remove the skin from the turkey breast using your fingers, then apply half of the butter mixture to the skin. Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks. Rub remaining butter mixture over skin. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours, or until the thermometer registers 180 degrees, basting twice in the final 30 minutes of baking. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly. the turkey should be transferred to a serving platter, covered, and left to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Brined Turkey Recipe
For a straightforward turkey brine recipe, place your bird in a solution of McCormick® bay leaves, salt, sugar, and water for 12 to 24 hours to ensure a juicy, flavorful bird for your Thanksgiving dinner. Before roasting in the oven, rinse the vegetables and season them with a flavorful mixture of McCormick® rosemary, thyme, and paprika. Our turkey brine recipe is ideal served with well-known side dishes, such as candied sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, herb stuffing, and garlic mashed potatoes, if you’re looking for ideas for the entire meal. And for dessert, our simple apple pie and pumpkin pie recipes are perfect.
Nutrition Facts: calories 435 Calories
- Salt, sugar, bay leaves, and hot water should be combined in a 12-quart or tall stockpot. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir cold water into container. Put the turkey in the brine, and if necessary, top it off with more cold water. Put a plate on top of the turkey if necessary to keep it submerged. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from brine. Discard remaining brine. Rinse turkey under cool running water. Pat dry, even between the skin and the breast. Place turkey on rack in foil-lined roasting pan.
- Brush turkey with oil. Mix paprika, rosemary and thyme in small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly over turkey. Cover loosely with foil.
- Roast 2 hours. Remove foil. Roast for an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove turkey from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.
How To Brine Thanksgiving Turkey | The Best Way To Brine Turkey | Holiday Recipes
Should you brine Thanksgiving turkey?
Brining a turkey is not required and is not recommended. Skip the brining step and use the Simple Roasted Turkey technique instead if you’re short on time or just want the simplest way to roast a turkey. Some claim that brining produces the most tender, juicy meat, but it requires advance preparation.
How many days before Thanksgiving should I brine my turkey?
To give the turkey enough time to become completely saturated, you should brine it for at least a full day before roasting. The brine itself can be prepared two to three days in advance and chilled in the refrigerator.
How long should you brine a turkey for?
Place the turkey in the refrigerator and allow it to brine for at least 8 hours (and up to 18 hours), keeping it cold. Just be careful not to brine the turkey for longer than is necessary because doing so can make the meat overly salty and have a spongy texture.
Is it best to brine a turkey before roasting?
It’s true that brining expedites the roasting process and produces a juicy, flavorful turkey that is unlike the dry, flavorless turkey that so many of us grew up eating on special occasions.