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5 from 18 votes

Turkey Brine Recipe

A great Turkey Brine Recipe is the difference between a good Thanksgiving turkey and a great one that people will be talking about for years to come. Knowing how to brine a turkey will make a huge difference in your bird whether you plan to roast it, smoke it, or deep-fry it! This quick and easy technique will ensure a deliciously juicy, moist turkey every time!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Additional Time12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 13 mins
Course: Marinades & Rubs
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 gallons
Calories: 611kcal
Author: Amy Nash



  • 2 gallons cold water (8 quarts or 32 cups of water)
  • 1 ½ cups coarse Kosher salt or 1 cup table salt
  • 1 ¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Tablespoons allspice berries
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1-2 oranges, rind peeled off in ribbons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bag ice
  • 1 clean 5-gallon bucket, pot, or other large container


  • 1 (12-15 pound) turkey


  • Combine 4 cups of the water with the salt and brown sugar in a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add remaining brine ingredients, including remaining cold water. Make sure the brine is completely cool before adding it to the turkey.
  • Remove neck, giblets, and any plastic packaging from the turkey and place it in a very large non-corrosive pot, bucket, or even cooler with the breast side down. There is no need to rinse the turkey first.
  • Pour the cooled brine over the turkey so the turkey is covered with the brine. If it's not completely covered, you can turn the turkey partway through the brining time so all sides get brined, or make another half batch of brine to add to the container. Cover and transfer to the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. If there isn't room in your fridge, you can place a bag of ice on top of the turkey in the brine and leave it on the counter or in the garage overnight.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and pat completely dry both inside and out using plenty of paper towels. Let the turkey air-dry for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge, then cook the turkey using your preferred method.


  • Table salt: 1 cup of salt to 2 gallons of water
  • Coarse Kosher salt: 1 ½ cups salt to 2 gallons of water


Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 157g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 85117mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 140g | Vitamin A: 347IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 421mg | Iron: 4mg