Brining a Turkey, It’s So Easy!

By Erika on September 9th, 2012 / Erika / 1 Comment

One of the easiest ways to make a moist and delicious turkey is brining. It’s fairly simple and once you brine a turkey, you will want to do it every year. I have tried every trick in the book for a moist and flavorful turkey, and nothing comes close to brining! It pushes flavor and moisture in from the outside, making the areas that are normally drier more moist.

Hopefully this picture conveys a little bit how moist the breast meat of this turkey is. It is so flavorful and wonderful!

To get started , decide what you are going to use to hold the turkey and the brine. You can use a brining bag or a large pot or bucket that is big enough to hold the turkey and the brine.

You will need to keep the turkey refrigerated for 12-24 hours while it’s submerged in the solution, either  in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice, wherever you have space! If using a cooler, make sure there is ice on thebottom, sides and top of turkey.

Here is everything you’ll need to brine your turkey. Water, salt, sweet wine like a Riesling (or apple cider), rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, onions, garlic, and peppercorns.


You need to combine everything and bring pot to a boil to dissolve the salt. Pour the wine into the boiling water…

and peppercorns…



onion and garlic….


Bring it to a boil and remove it from heat. Everything should look slightly cooked.

Add ice water to speed up the cooling process. You can’t put the turkey in until it’s completely cooled.

Submerge turkey in the cooled brine (or put in brining bag and seal).

Cover, and into the refrigerator for 12-24 hours!

Now it’s time to rinse the turkey in cold water and submerge it in clean water for 10-15 minutes. then pat dry.

This is where you can cook your turkey anyway you’d like, including our recipe for Brined Herb Butter Turkey (the ultimate moist turkey!), or you can continue on to your own preferred way of cooking. If you’d like to go our herb-butter route, click on the link above for the step-by-step instructions for the herb butter, or read on below the recipe for the brine.

Recipe for the brine:

1 1/2 gallons water

1 quart apple juice or 1 bottle sweet white wine like a Riesling

6-8  sprigs fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 medium onions, sliced thinly

6 cloves garlic, smashed with back of knife, then minced

1-1/2 cups coarse salt, like kosher salt

2 tablespoons peppercorns

5 whole Bay Leaves

1 quart ice water

1 turkey (preferably fresh, frozen turkeys contain an injected salt solution)

For the brine:

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, except turkey and ice water. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool for about 30 minutes, adding ice water to speed the process.

When the liquid has cooled completely, pour into a large brining bag or pot, and add the turkey. Seal the bag or cover the pot, and put in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours.

When ready to roast the turkey, take it out of the brine and rinse in cold water. Submerge turkey in cold water in the sink or pot for 10-15 minutes. Remove turkey and pat dry. Your turkey is now ready to cook however you’d like, including our Herb Butter Turkey which is even more flavorful and moist! See step-by-step instructions below, or click here for the link.


So you’re all ready to to start the herb butter now that your turkey is brined, rinsed and dry. Mix 2 teaspoons each of chopped sage, rosemary and thyme into 1 stick of softened butter.

Make an opening between the skin and the breast meat near the cavity of the turkey.

Gently slide you hands between skin and breast meat and place the herb butter under the skin on both sides of the breast.  Rub on the outside of the skin as well.

Stuff the turkey (this will take longer to roast if stuffed) or sprinkle empty cavity with salt and pepper, and stuff with herbs.

Tie or secure the legs and tuck the wings.

Put the turkey into a roasting pan and place into a 425 degree oven and roast 30 minutes.

Open oven door to release some heat, and reduce temperature to 350°. Roast turkey for 30 more minutes, opening up oven to baste in pan drippings and hot broth (and flip turkey over if you started your turkey upside down- use silicone gloves so you don’t burn your hands). Cover with foil loosely or with pan lid (if using a lid, make sure there is a small opening at the top of lid for steam to escape, or put lid on slightly crooked. This will ensure that your turkey isn’t steamed) . Roast another 1 hour, then baste with pan drippings, then add more hot broth to pan.

Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, basting with pan drippings and adding broth every hour. Depending on the size of the turkey, you will need to roast an additional  2 1/2- 3 hours longer (a stuffed turkey will take longer).

The result is a gorgeous, moist and flavorful turkey!


show comments one response

  • Candi says:

    Love this recipe. I made this a few years ago and loved it! I will brine my turkey again this year! Thank you Erika!

  • Leave a Reply to Candi