Turkey Brine Solution (One Pot)

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Quick and easy turkey brine recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot on stovetop in 20 minutes. Loaded with apple cider, brown sugar, fresh herbs, garlic, citrus (lemon and oranges). This is guaranteed to give you a super moist and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey every single time!

Ever wondered what the secret is to a moist, tender, and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey? The answer is brine! This is the best brine ever. It’s loaded with depth of salty flavor, notes of citrus, the warmth of cider, and sweetness of sugar. It is perfectly balanced, and will produce the best tasting turkey every single time! Use it in this Easy Thanksgiving Turkey (One Pot) and this Roast Turkey Breast (One Pot).

Homemade Turkey Brine in Silver Pot on White Background

How To Make Easy Turkey Brine Solution From Scratch?

  1. Cook ingredients in large pot- This includes apple cider, water, salt, brown sugar, garlic, peppercorns, cloves, oranges, lemons, bay leaves, basil, rosemary, thyme.
  2. Remove from heat– Let the mixture cool completely.
  3. Add turkey- Place the whole turkey in this solution.
  4. Refrigerate- For 18-24 hours. 
  5. When you’re ready to cook– Remove the turkey from the brine solution. Rinse it with cool water, and pat dry.
  6. Enjoy- Continue with your normal turkey cooking method.

This Is The BEST Turkey Brine Recipe

  • Makes the juiciest turkey
  • Requires simple ingredients
  • Has very well-balanced flavors
  • Very easy to make

What Is The Purpose Of Soaking A Turkey In Brine? What Is Brining?

Brining is the process of soaking meat in a seasoned salt water solution. The turkey absorbs the salt, flavors and moisture, and produces a juicy, moist, flavorful meat. The acid in the brine also helps to tenderize the meat while it soaks.

Is Brining Turkey Really Worth It? Does It Really Make A Difference? What Does It Do To The Thanksgiving Turkey?

Yes, it is absolutely worth it and makes a huge difference in the taste and texture of the meat. This solution is what infuses all of the flavor into an otherwise bland meat. It also ensures a tender, moist, and juicy turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Closeup Shot of Apple Cider Turkey Brine with Fresh Herbs, Lemon Slices Orange Slices

Storage

Refrigerate– The prepared solution (without turkey) can be stored in the fridge for up 2 days. However, if the turkey is already in the solution, it should be refrigerated no longer than 18-24 hours.

Freeze– The prepared solution (without turkey) can be frozen for up to 1 month and thawed in the fridge overnight. However, you cannot freeze the solution and use it again after a raw turkey has been in it. Yuck! Simply discard it.

Variations

Citrus brine– Use citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges.

Apple cider brine– Use half apple cider and half water for more flavor.

Smoked brine– Add liquid smoke to the solution.

Buttermilk brine– Add buttermilk to the solution for another acid to tenderize the meat.

Beer brine– Add your favorite beer to the solution for a flavor twist.

Add other spices– Such as bay leaves, juniper berries, whole star anise, allspice, cinnamon sticks, or nutmeg.

Make an Asian flavor– Add candied ginger, all spice, star anise, brown sugar, and a little soy sauce.

Citrus Brine in Silver Pot on White Background

Tips And Techniques

Make sure to COMPLETELY COOL the brine before adding the turkey– Because this ensures that the turkey doesn’t start cooking when added to the liquid. The solution must be completely cool before adding the turkey to the solution.

Is a wet brine the same as a dry brine? No. The difference is that in a wet brine, the salt solution saturates the meat and is absorbed. In a dry brine, the salt draws the meat’s natural juices out, mixes with the salt solution, and is then reabsorbed.

Should turkey be completely thawed before brining? Can you brine frozen turkey? It is ok if it is partially thawed as long as it can finish thawing in 18-24 hours. You do not want to keep the turkey sitting in the solution longer than that or it will become too salty, and the texture of the meat will be off. Therefore, a totally frozen turkey will not work, but a partially thawed one should be fine.

Should you brine a butterball turkey? Can you brine store-bought turkey? No, most store bought turkeys are already pre-brined. Make sure the one you buy to brine is not already pre-brined!

Do you rinse turkey after brining? Yes, you can rinse the turkey lightly and then pat it dry to ensure a crisp skin.

Do you refrigerate a turkey while brining? Yes. Be sure to so make room in that fridge!

Do you have to cook immediately after brining? Can I take the turkey straight out of the solution and put it in the oven? You can put it straight into the oven as long as you pat the skin dry first so that is will crisp nicely in the oven.

Use as many fresh herbs as you can– They produce the best and brightest flavor in the solution.

Don’t exceed 24 hours– That would make the turkey very salty.

More One Pot Thanksgiving Recipes

Easy Turkey Brine in Silver Pot on White Background
Print

One Pot Turkey Brine

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
 

Quick and easy turkey brine recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot on stovetop in 20 minutes. Loaded with apple cider, brown sugar, fresh herbs, garlic, citrus (lemon and oranges).

Servings: 25 People
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider brine, thanksgiving brine
Calories: 198 kcal
Author: Abeer Rizvi

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Apple cider Not apple cider vinegar, Apple juice is a good substitute
  • 2 gallons Water
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 6 cloves Garlic Smashed
  • 2 tbsp Peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Cloves
  • 2 Oranges Sliced
  • 2 Lemons Sliced
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs Basil Fresh
  • 3 sprigs Rosemary Fresh
  • 3 sprigs Thyme Fresh
  • 1 Turkey Whole, 12- to 18-pound turkey, Should not be pre-salted or saline-injected

Instructions

  1. Add apple cider, water, salt, brown sugar, garlic, peppercorns, cloves, oranges, lemons, bay leaves, basil, rosemary, thyme in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat.

  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until salt and sugar have dissolved completely.

  3. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely.

  4. Once it cools completely, place the whole turkey in the brine solution. It should be fully submerged.

  5. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours. Don't exceed 24 hours or because that would make the turkey very salty.

  6. When you're ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine solution and rinse it with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels to ensure a crispy skin.

  7. Then, continue with your normal turkey cooking method. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Turkey Brine
Amount Per Serving
Calories 198 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 4662mg194%
Potassium 306mg9%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 100IU2%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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