Best Turkey Brine Recipe

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Best Turkey Brine Recipe

Best Turkey Brine Recipe

If you are looking for a way to give your turkey the best flavor with a tender and juicy outcome, this best turkey brine recipe is exactly what you are looking for.  I have finally found a way to make my turkey come out perfect ever. single. time.

It’s all about the brine recipe and process.  I’m not sure exactly how to explain the chemical process that happens to break down the meat proteins but I can tell you that the outcome is spectacular and you may never try to make your turkey another way.  There is something that happens when you mix salt, sugar and spices that causes the turkey to soak up all the juices and trap them with in the meat causing a juicy, flavorful turkey!  Trust me.  It’s the best.

Update:  If you need a sugar-free and Keto Friendly Turkey Brine Recipe, you have to try this one:  Keto Pickle Juice Brine Turkey Recipe

Or you can use Allulose sweetener in place of real sugar in this recipe. Allulose sweetener is keto friendly and acts just like real sugar! It’s the perfect substitute if you are trying to do keto or using sugar free recipes.

You can double or triple this recipe if needed.  The brine must cover the whole turkey.  I always purchase a really big turkey so it requires me to use a cooler to let it soak overnight.  You want to start this process at least 12 hours before you are ready to bake your turkey.  I made this below recipe for a 12 pound turkey.  This exact recipe would be great for 15 pounds or less.  Double the recipe if you have a bigger turkey.

Tip #1  Use the Reynolds Oven bags (turkey size) when baking your turkey.  It’s an easy way to trap all the juices in while baking and the clean up is easy too.  You can find these bags at your local grocery store or online too.  We use these to make pot roast also.  Basically, it steams the meat and comes out perfect every time.

Tip #2 One of my favorite seasonings to use in this brine recipe is the McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning !

Best Turkey Brine Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 10 minutes
Course Best Turkey Brine Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn or black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 - 6 cloves of garlic or 3 tablespoons
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar packed or regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon McCormicks Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning LOVE THIS STUFF or any of your other favorite seasonings that work well with Turkey


  • Peel the rosemary off of the steam and dice a few of them to get the oils from the leaves.
  • Add all the ingredients to a large sauce pan and bring it to a boil. This allows all the sugars and salts to combine and dissolve.
  • Allow it to cool.
  • Add the defrosted turkey to a large poultry bag or cooler (like I did) and add the cooled turkey brine mixture.
  • Add a bag of ice over the turkey to allow it to stay cool for the next 12+ hours. Or put your poultry bag in the refrigerator if you have room.
  • For each pound of meat you should refrigerate it for one hour. For example, if you have a 12 lb turkey, you need to refrigerate this for 12 hours. Add ice to the cooler if needed.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine recipe and bake it as directed on the package.

Best Turkey Brine Recipe process


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    1. No, room temp is NOT ok. I add ice and my brine recipe to set for 12 hours overnight. It’s always real cold the next morning so it works perfectly. I don’t open the lid either until the next day. This helps keep it cold all night long. You could put it in the fridge if you have a pan big enough to hold the turkey with the water. My turkeys are big so that’s not an option for me. I always use the cooler.

    1. I always use the roasting bag. I know others that use a turkey baster and constantly pour it’s juices back on it but I’m lazy. I just want to pop it in and come out amazing. I know others that also use a cheese cloth. I’ve never tried either. The turkey bag is perfect for me and has never failed me.

    1. yes. I would double your recipe. I just updated the post to state this recipe is for a 12 to 15 pound turkey or less.

  1. I know this is a late post, but can I brine my turkey for 18-24 hours? I’m travelling and can’t brine it for just 12 hours. If I brine it for 18 hours would it be too salty?

    1. The longer the brine the better it will be. The brining process should be a minimum of the turkey size. One thing you have to worry about though is the ice. You need to keep the turkey cold with ice. If you do it for a longer period of time you will need to add bags of ice as they melt. I’ve done this too. It really dilutes the recipe but still comes out really good! When I did my brine for longer I was afraid to lose the brine flavor from this recipe when I added extra bags of ice. I didn’t though.

      1. If I thawed my turkey in cold water for 2 days. I will brine today will it be ok to brine for 5 days before cooking?

        1. I leave my frozen turkey in the refrigerator to thaw and then brine the turkey 12 to 24 hours before depending on the size of the turkey. I’ve never it earlier than that so I’m not sure how it would come out.

    1. Good question. I don’t rinse mine at all. I grab it from the cooler turn it upside down to drain all the juices and then add it to a turkey bag and place it in the oven. I don’t think it would hurt to drain it. I feel as thought this process allows the turkey to absorb the juices in the meat so I really don’t think it matters either way. Just a thought.

    1. No. I would not like a sweet tasting turkey. I wouldn’t leave this out. It’s the combination of spices that make this recipe taste amazing!

  2. I never brined before but this seems pretty tasty. What temperature do you normally put the over ? And for how long?

    1. I usually follow the instructions on the turkey itself. Mostly it’s 325 to 350 degrees. The time will depend on the turkey size. Your turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast or stuffing.

    1. Me too Bonnie. I’ve switched up the seasonings before and it still tastes amazing every single time I make it. It’s the combination of the sugar and salt that trap the juices in the turkey to make it tender. The seasonings are the bonus in my opinion!

    1. Alex, I would definitely double this recipe. See how much of it fills up and covers your turkey. If it’s not half than I would add another batch. Try to use a cooler to fit the turkey snug. This way the brine recipe will cover most of the turkey. It’s a strong recipe so adding ice will bring the water up too.

      1. Thank u… One more quick question is there any reason to baste the turkey or do u just leave it in the bag for the duration

        1. I never worry about the basting the turkey when I have the bag. I just set it and forget it until it’s time to be done! Easy peasy!

  3. Do you use water or chicken broth to boil all the ingredients together?
    And how much, enough to cover the whole turkey?

    1. I use the exact recipe with water. Make this exact recipe for a turkey of 12 pounds. Double the recipe for a bigger turkey.

  4. I’ve had my turkey in the brine overnight in fridge and will be cooking later today. Do I need to use a fresh oven bag? Or can I use the one I brined in after I drain it?

    1. I don’t understand? You used the fresh oven bag for the brine too? I would think it would be fine to use for baking too if so.

  5. The turkey isn’t covered by the brine mixture in your picture. Is that okay? Do you just cover the rest in ice? Also, I plan on using an oil-less fryer to fry my turkey after its done soaking in the brine. Would there be an issue with that instead of baking it?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I have never used an oil-less fryer so I’m not sure. I always use a baking bag for mine. Please let me know how it turns out.

  6. When I roast the turkey, can I put cut up onion in the bottom of the roasting bag? I’ve never used these spices before. Would it give it a bad combination of flavored?

  7. Hey! This is my first year away from family so I will be cooking my first turkey! Do you recommend that I season it before I bake it or is the brining enough?

  8. Just to be clear, once you’ve done this for 12 hours, you take it out, drain it, and then just put the turkey alone in the baking bag or do you add anything into the bag while actually cooking?

  9. I’ve never brined a turkey before so other than making the turkey moist, what flavors come through on the finished turkey?? Also, I don’t like the taste of salt, will it be salty?? Thanks!

  10. This looks like a yummy brine. I have a question about the oven bag. Your turkey looks browned & roasted, does that happen inside the bag or do you open it at some point to brown?

  11. This brine is amazing! We used it for Thanksgiving this year. After brining, I rinsed the turkey throughly and let dry. We then deep fried the turkey in peanut oil. We are now doing a turkey breast the same way!

  12. Hey Jennifer – I’m going to try this for Christmas this year and it will be the first time I’ve used brine as well as a bag for roasting. Does the turkey get brown in the bag? Does the skin get dark and crispy or will I need to remove the bag for the last 30 minutes or so to allow this to happen? Thanks!

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