How To Brine A Turkey

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Have you ever brined a turkey? If you haven’t, well let me tell you that it makes for one delicious turkey.

You may be familiar with brining in reference to pickling things like cucumbers, eggs, peppers, etc. That is because a brine is really just water saturated with salt. So why brine a turkey?

Brining a turkey adds moisture and flavor and keeps the turkey from drying out. It’s really easy to do and makes a world of difference. And contrary to popular belief, the turkey does not taste salty at all.

These are the ingredients you will need for a 15 lb turkey:

  • 2 gallons of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 lemons cut in half
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • small handful of cloves


Combine all ingredients in a large pot. We use a turkey fryer pot that we picked up at Dick’s Sporting Goods (in the camping section). It’s large enough to fit even a very large bird.

Empty the cavities of the turkey out and wash well. Plunge it into the pot. The turkey should sit in the liquid for at least 6 hours. We like to keep it in overnight. To do this, we add a bunch of ice, keep it covered and put it in the garage where it’s still cool but protected.

Pull your turkey out and you are ready to cook as usual. I usually put the contents of the brine inside the cavity of the turkey while it is cooking for added flavor.

Just a note: You can really use any types of herbs and spices for the brine. The key ingredients are the sugar & salt. Everything else can be modified to your liking.