Unlock the Secret to a Juicy Turkey with Our Ultimate Turkey Brine Recipe

turkey brine recipe

hanksgiving is just around the corner, and what’s more iconic than a perfectly roasted turkey? If you’re looking to elevate your turkey game, look no further than this easy turkey brine recipe. Brining is the key to unlocking a moist, tender, and delicious bird that will have your guests raving. Whether you prefer a wet brine or a dry brine, we’ve got you covered!

Wet Turkey Brine Recipe

turkey in brine


  • 16 cups water, divided
  • ½!– /wp:list-item –>
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 heads garlic, sliced in half
  • 14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed


  1. Prepare the Brine: Combine 8 cups of water, salt, dark brown sugar, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme, and garlic in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes until everything is evenly combined. Allow to cool and stir in the remaining water.
  2. Brine the Turkey: Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the turkey comfortably. Add the turkey, ensuring it’s fully immersed. Chill for at least 8 hours, up to 72 hours.
  3. Roast as Needed: Remove the bird from the brine, discard the brine, and roast as needed.

Ingredient Substitutions:

  • Red Pepper Flakes: Can be replaced with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Fresh Thyme: Dried thyme can be used in a pinch.

Dry Turkey Brine Recipe


  • 8 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4-8 tablespoons freshly cracked black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons paprika


  1. Prepare the Dry Brine: Combine all the seasonings together.
  2. Apply the Brine: Rub the mixture on the turkey, covering all parts. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.
  3. Roast as Desired: Pat the bird dry and proceed with your favorite turkey recipe.

FAQs on This Turkey Brine Recipe

Why Should I Brine My Turkey?

Brining adds flavor and moisture, ensuring a juicy and delicious turkey.

Can I Over Brine a Turkey?

Avoid brining for more than 72 hours, as it may become too salty.

What Kind of Turkey Should I Use?

Choose a plain turkey without any “enhanced” or “self-basting” descriptors.

What’s the Difference Between Wet and Dry Brining?

Wet brining involves soaking the turkey in a liquid mixture, while dry brining uses a rub.

Can I Use Regular Salt Instead of Kosher Salt?

Yes, but reduce the amount by half as regular salt is finer.

Do I Need to Rinse the Turkey After Brining?

No, simply pat it dry and proceed with roasting.

So, now that you know all about turkey brines, it’s time to choose your preferred method and get ready to enjoy the most delicious turkey ever. Whether you go with a wet or dry brine, the key is to give yourself plenty of time for the flavors to penetrate deep into the meat. Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy your flavorful feast!

Ingredient Substitutions and Tips

When it comes to making a turkey brine recipe, it’s essential to have some flexibility with the ingredients. Here are some common substitutions and tips to help you create the perfect brine:


  • Kosher Salt: Regular table salt can be used, but reduce the amount by half.
  • Fresh Herbs: Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh ones. Use one-third of the amount.
  • Brown Sugar: Honey or maple syrup can add a similar sweetness.


  • Brining Bag: Use a brining bag or a large container to ensure the turkey is fully submerged.
  • Brining Time: A general rule is to brine for 1 hour per pound of turkey.
  • Rinsing: Rinse the turkey thoroughly after brining to remove excess salt.

Roasting and Cooking Techniques

Roasting a brined turkey requires some specific techniques to ensure the best results. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 500°F (260°C) for a crispy skin.
  2. Prepare the Turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse, and pat dry.
  3. Add Aromatics: Fill the cavity with aromatics like apples, onions, and herbs for added flavor.
  4. Roast: Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 500°F for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce Heat: Lower the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
  6. Rest: Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Chart for Roasting Times:

Weight of TurkeyTotal Roasting Time
10-14 lbs2 – 2.5 hours
15-19 lbs2.5 – 3 hours
20-24 lbs3 – 3.5 hours


For a 16-pound turkey, brine for 16 hours, roast at 500°F for 30 minutes, then at 350°F for 2 to 2.5 hours.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to creating a turkey brine recipe that’s sure to impress your guests. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a first-time cook, these tips and techniques will help you achieve a moist, flavorful, and nutritious turkey for your Thanksgiving feast. Happy cooking!

This article was reviewed and published by Ryan Yates, an experienced Executive Chef, Restaurant Manager and Mixologist with over 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Ryan has worked in and managed a variety of establishments, from casual dining to Michelin rated restaurants, and uses this diverse experience to provide a comprehensive and knowledgeable guide on all aspects of the food and beverage industry.

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Ryan Yates

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