Basic Turkey Brine

Basic Brine for Turkey
Turkey Brine. Photo: Diana Rattray
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings
Ratings (21)

A dry turkey is a big disappointment, and most people agree that a simple brine helps make a juicier, tastier holiday turkey. Water, salt, sugar, and herbs make up this basic, simple brine for turkey.

Use an extra large resealable plastic bag or a large plastic container, and use a plate and a large can to hold the turkey down and keep it from floating to the top of the brine.

What You'll Need

  • 2 gallons water (cold)
  • 2 cups ​salt (kosher)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons garlic (crushed)
  • 3 to 4 sprigs rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 3 to 4 sprigs thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 3 to 4 sprigs sage (or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries (cracked)

How to Make It

  1. This is enough for a 12- to 15-pound turkey, but if you have to increase the amount of water to cover the turkey, add proportionately more salt, sugar, and herbs.
  2. (For each gallon of water: 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and approximately 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, 1 to 2 twigs of the herbs, and about 1/2 teaspoon of cracked berries and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)
  3. Submerge the turkey in the brine, top with a plate and put a large can on that to hold the turkey under the brine. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  1. Before roasting, rinse the turkey well with cold water and pat dry. Roast without added salt following your favorite recipe.
  2. Makes enough to brine a 12 to 15-pound turkey.