Poultry Brine Recipe

Poultry brine spices
Claire Cohen
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 gallon (1 serving)
Ratings (9)

This high-powered poultry brine recipe is loaded with flavor that comes from traditional ingredients as well as vinegar and pickling spices.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Then, You will need to brine your poultry for 1 hour per pound of bird in the refrigerator before cooking so plan accordingly.

Read the section titled Before You Begin, below after the instructions, to ensure a successful brining experience. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 gallon/3.8 liters water
  • 1 cup/240 mL table salt (or 1 1/2 cups/360 mL kosher or coarse salt)
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup/120 mL white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon/15 mL pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL allspice
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon/5 mL tarragon

How to Make It

  1. Dissolve salt and brown sugar in water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Allow to cool.
  2. Add vinegar, pickling spice, black pepper, allspice, garlic powder, and tarragon. Mix well. 
  3. Add cleaned poultry, submerging as best as you can, and brine for 1 hour per pound in the refrigerator. Turn occasionally if part of the poultry isn't fully submerged so all parts of the bird are brined. Alternatively, if your container is large enough, make a double or triple batch of brine for a larger bird.
  1. Thoroughly rinse all the brine from the turkey before cooking. Otherwise, there will be a salty flavor to the bird. Read more on brining a turkey. The technique works for any poultry you wish to brine.​

Before You Begin

Do not use poultry that has been injected with a salt mixture or saline solution. Brining an already salted bird will produce a very salty end result. Check the label ingredients and choose only a natural, non-enhanced bird whether fresh or frozen. If there is anything other than poultry on the ingredient list, don't brine it.

It's not a good idea to brine a bird if you are on a salt-restricted diet. Additionally, gravy made from the drippings of a brined bird might have a salty flavor so be cautious when adding more salt to stuffings and gravy.