How to Brine a Turkey

Marsha Gardner


When I first heard of brining a turkey I thought what waste of time. Then I ate a turkey that had been brined and I was a convert. Not only was the turkey the moistest I had ever had, but the subtle flavor of the brining put the turkey over the top.

I use a 5 gallon pail lined with a turkey roasting bag to brine my bird because I always roast at least a 20 pound turkey so we have loads of leftovers.

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24 Hr


7 qt
1 1/2 c
kosher salt
bay leaves
2 Tbsp
coriander seed
1 Tbsp
juniper berries
1 Tbsp
fennel seeds
1 tsp
black or brown mustard seeds
18-20 lb
turkey, thawed, patted dry, neck and giblets reserved for stock
1 bottle
dry riesling
2 medium
onions, thinly sliced
6 clove
garlic, crushed
1 bunch
fresh thyme

Directions Step-By-Step

One day before roasting turkey, bring 1 quart water, the salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes
To minimize cleanup, line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

If there isn't room in your refrigerator, place the bagged bird inside a cooler, and surround it with ice, replenishing as necessary to keep it at 40 degrees.
Remove turkey from brine one hour before you're ready to roast it, and pat it dry inside and out. Let stand for up to 1 hour before roasting your preferred way.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Turkey