Turkey Brine Recipes

Six easy turkey brine recipes for your here. Before you start, make sure you've read my guide how to brine a turkey

The Most Simple Of Turkey Brine Recipes

Apple Turkey Brine

Honey Turkey Brine

Chilli Turkey Brine

Oriental Style Brine

The foundation to any brine is salt, it is the salt that denatures the protein sheaths in the muscle fibers and it's this denaturing that helps the muscles retain more moisture during the cooking.

Salt also acts as a flavor enhancer but brining also offers the opportunity to add so much more flavor using herbs and spices so if you've never done I really recommend that you give it a go.

The exact time that you brine is dependent on the strength of the brine and the weight of your turkey so make sure that you adjust accordingly. I would however recommend that when you first start brining, err on the side of caution, use a weak brine (15% or less) and brine for less time otherwise you might end up with a salty taste that might not be to everyone's taste.

Generally speaking I prefer to brine overnight or for 24 hours as a maximum and you'll find that each recipe below has a recommendation for you.

Tips & Guidance:-

  1. Use a plastic tub or bucket for brine rather than anything metallic - salt and metal doesn't mix
  2. Make sure that your turkey is fully immersed in the brine, including the cavity of the bird. I always brine breast side down and immerse the bird neck end first so that you minimize the chance of an air pocket forming in the cavity.
  3. You still need to refrigerate during the brining process. Despite the fact that salt is a natural preservative it will not prevent your meat from spoiling.
  4. When you've finished brining, drain and pat your bird dry then return it to the refrigerator for 24 hours before smoking
  5. When directed to use crystallised salt, do so. Don't just switch crystallysed salt for granular salt especially if using the volumetric "cup" measure. Crystals are significantly less dense than grains so if you use granular salt would would be adding significantly more salt than needed.

The Most Simple Of Turkey Brine Recipes

If you're new to brining turkey then this is a good place to start because this recipe is straight forward and it will allow you to easily gauge the results. If you then want it a bit saltier for the next time, you can either add more salt or it in the brine for longer. It really is down to personal taste.

Yield:- 1 US gallon (3.75 litres)

Preparation Time:- 20 minutes
Brining Time:- overnight
Drying Time:- 24 hours

Total Time:- 36 hours (approx)


  • 1 gallon (3.75 litres) cold water
  • 1 cup (240g) non iodized crystallised salt
  • ½ cup (120g) dark brown sugar


Dissolve the salt and sugar in half of the water by bringing it to boil in a large pan. Then allow to cool, transfer to your brining bin and add the remaining water.

Apple Turkey Brine Recipe

There's a whole lot going on in this apple turkey brine recipe including some great winter flavorings such as cloves, ginger and of course the citrus element.

Preparation Time:- 20 mins
Marinade Time:- overnight
Cooking Time:- n/a

Total Time:- 1 Day


  • 2 quarts (litres) apple juice
  • 1 pound (454g) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (120g) non iodized crystallised salt
  • 3 quarts (litres) cold water
  • 4 oranges, quartered
  • 4 ounces fresh ginger, un-peeled and thinly sliced
  • A dozen whole cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed


Place the water, sugar and salt in a pan and heat until thoroughly dissolved and then allow to cool.

Pour the brine solution into your brining container and add the remainder of the ingredients (squeezing the orange quarters to release the juice before throwing them in) and stir. Place your brine mix in the refrigerator to ensure that it is fully cooled prior to immersing your turkey.

Honey Turkey Brine Recipe

Sweet honey turkey brine recipe infused with spice, could you ask for more?

This one is approximately a 15% strength brine so perfect for an overnight soaking.

Yield:- 1 US gallon (3.75 litres)

Preparation Time:- minutes
Marinade Time:- overnight
Cooking Time:- n/a

Total Time:- 1 day


  • 1 gallon (3.75 litres) water
  • ½ cup (120g) non iodized salt
  • 1 teaspoon curing powder
  • 1 cup (340g) honey
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Dissolve the salt in a quart of the water by stirring and bringing it to the boil in a large pan. Add the honey too whilst warm so that this fully dissolves too.

Then allow to cool down to room temperature – you can do this quickly adding the balance of the water in the form of iced water.

Once cool, transfer to the brining bin, stir in the rest of the ingredients and you're ready to rock n roll. Immerse your turkey in the brine for 8 – 12 hours and ensure that everything is kept refrigerated.

Chili Brine Recipe

If you like it hot then my chili brine recipe for turkey is here to give your Thanksgiving an extra kick!

Yield:- 2 US gallons (7.5 litres)

Preparation Time:- 5 minutes
Brining Time:- overnight
Drying Time:- 24 hours

Total Time:- 2 days


  • 2 US gallons (7.5 litres) water
  • 1 cup (240g) crystallised non iodised salt
  • 1 cup (240g) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried chili flakes


As with the other recipes, use a large pan to dissolve the salt and sugar in warm water and then allow to cool. When cool, transfer to the brining bin and brine overnight in the refrigerator.

Oriental Style Brine

Just check out the ingredients and you'll see why it's "Oriental Style"

Yield:- 2 US gallons or 7½ litres

Preparation Time:- 30 minutes
Marinade Time:- overnight
Cooking Time:- n/a

Total Time:- 1 day


  • 2 US gallons or or 7½ litres water
  • 2 cups or ½ Kg brown sugar
  • ½ cup or 120g non iodised salt (crystallised not granules)
  • 1½ cups or 350ml soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice


Dissolve the sugar and salt in 2 quarts (litres) of the water by boiling it up in a large pan and once dissolved, allowing it to cool.

When cool, transfer the concentrated brine to your brining bin add the rest of the water and stir in the remainder of the ingredients.

See Also:-

More Great Brine Recipes
Smoked Turkey Brine
Brine Injector Pump

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