The Best Turkey Brine

This is my favorite recipe for the Best Turkey Brine. Serve a juicy & flavorful turkey every single time with this fail proof brine recipe.

Turkey brine in a big pot

To brine or not to brine.

That is the question a lot of you may ask.  But, I’m telling you – brining is definitely the way to go if you want a moist & succulent bird! There are a lot of different recipes out there, but this is the one I use each & every time.  It’s passed the test of time – and the taste buds agree that it’s a winner!

You can use either a turkey or a chicken here, this brine works great for both.  The measurements in this recipe accommodate a 16-21 pound turkey – but it can be easily adjusted for a smaller turkey or a roasting chicken.

Turkey brine in a big pot


  • Apple cider vinegar – your turkey will not taste like vinegar. The acid breaks down the turkey.
  • salt – 1.5 cups. No, your turkey won’t be salty. Again, we’re tenderizing the turkey here!
  • brown sugar
  • oranges – 3 large ones, sliced
  • Fresh rosemary
  • whole peppercorns – you can use ground black pepper too
  • bay leaves
  • garlic – garlic powder will work too
  • water – about a gallon, just enough to add to the brine to cover the turkey

How To Make The Best Turkey Brine

Into a large pot, combine the apple cider vinegar, salt, bay leaves, brown sugar, rosemary leaves, minced garlic, orange slices, & black peppercorns.

Isn’t that beautiful??  And it smells even better than it looks!

Let’s take a closer look.  It’s just so pretty! And fragrant!  Seriously, you could get some aromatherapy with this stuff! 😉

Turkey brine in a big pot with sliced oranges and rosemary

Bring the brine to a boil on the stove top.  Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat & allow to cool.  I usually pop mine in the fridge once it’s cool enough to handle to speed up the cooling process.  But, I’m inpatient like that…

When the brine is cool or at least room temperature, lower in your turkey or chicken. Or, if your pot is not large enough to hold the turkey – place the turkey in a food safe 5 gallon bucket, a cooler, or a large brining bag, and pour the brine on top.

My Favorite Brine

Refrigerate, & let the bird sit in the brine for 16-24 hours.  Once the soaking process is over, drain off the brine & soak the turkey (or chicken) in water for 15 minutes.

Remove it from the water.  Dry the bird inside & out with paper towels.

Your bird is ready to roast!

Coming up next – Roasting your turkey!

My Favorite Brine


  • ½ gallon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 gallon plus ¾ of a gallon water
  • 5 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 2 heaping cups brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper freshly ground is great!
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 large oranges sliced


  • Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir until the sugar & salt dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat & allow to cool.
  • Once the brine has cooled completely or at least to room temperature, lower in your turkey (or chicken). Or, if your bird is too large to fit in your pot – pour the brine into a 5 gallon food safe bucket, a cooler, or a large brining bag. Refrigerate for 16-24 hours.
  • Discard the brine, & soak the turkey in cold water for 15 minutes. Then, dry the turkey inside & out. Roast as normal.

You May Also Like These Turkey Recipes