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4.69 from 16 votes

How to Brine a Turkey (and Why You Should)

Make this simple and flavorful brine for your turkey this year and be amazed at how much flavor and moisture it adds to the finished meal!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 2 gallons
Author: Katie Wells


  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 1.5 cups of salt
  • 3 quarts apple cider
  • 1 quart bone broth or more apple cider
  • 6 sprigs of thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 lemons zest and slice
  • 1 orange zest and slice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves optional


  • Dissolve the salt in the warm water.
  • Add the apple cider, broth, thyme, garlic, lemons and orange and stir to combine.
  • Place the turkey in whatever container you will use for brining (stockpot, 5-gallon bucket, or bag) and add brine.
  • Cover or seal tightly and leave at least 24 hours but no more than 48 before your planned cook time. TIP: Place breast side down and make sure brine is touching all sides, if possible.
  • Before cooking, rinse well and pat dry. I recommend rubbing skin with butter and adding spices before roasting.
  • TIP: Roast breast side down and stuff with 1 apple, 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 onion (all quartered). I roast uncovered at 450 for 45 minutes and then cover and reduce to 325 until done.