Brine Like a Boss

Earn lots of wows for just a little work. Brining — soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution for 4 to 24 hours before roasting — results in a tender juicy bird. A big turkey in a big pot of water can get heavy and take up a lot of refrigerator space, so think twice about the logistics before brining a bird around 20 pounds or more.

How to Brine

  1. Choose a brine recipe or purchase a brining mix.
  2. Find a container large enough to submerge your turkey in; check to make sure it fits in your refrigerator.
  3. Unwrap your fresh or thawed turkey and remove the giblets.
  4. Place turkey in container and pour in enough cooled brining solution to completely cover it.
  5. If turkey floats to the surface, place a heavy plate or lid on top.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; the liquid must stay at or below 40°F for safety.
  7. Remove turkey from brine and pat until thoroughly dry. Discard brine.

Recipe for Success

It’s easy: 1 cup of kosher salt and 1⁄2 a cup of sugar for every gallon of water. A handful of herbs, spices 
and citrus peels in the brining solution gives it your signature twist. Start with our simple and adaptable basic brine recipe.


  • Containers must be cleaned and sanitized both before and after brining.
  • If you prefer to brine overnight, reduce the salt by about half or your finished bird may be too salty.
  • Don’t stuff a brined bird; the stuffing will be too salty.
  • Brining will produce salty pan juices. If making gravy with them, be sure to use low-sodium broth.
  • Hold the salt! Don’t brine kosher turkeys. They’ve already been salted, so brining will yield an overly salty bird.