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brined turkey recipeA few years ago, I decided to change up my Thanksgiving dinner a bit.  I was watching Let’s Talk Turkey on the Food Network, which happens to be my absolute favorite week of the year, and saw someone (I cannot remember who for the life of me) brine a turkey before they roasted it.  My life was changed forever. That is all I can say about it.  Life changing.  I don’t know about how things are at your house, but at mine, turkey usually is on the back burner.  The sides are what people ooh and ahh over.  On this particular year, I was carving the turkey in the kitchen and getting everything ready and everyone was standing at the island picking at the turkey.  Before I knew it, most of the turkey was gone before I even got it on the table.  This turkey was the moistest, juiciest turkey that I have ever eaten.  It was so good that this year the star of my Thanksgiving table was the turkey.

For the most part, I make a turkey breast at least once a week.  I am not a fan of deli meats.  I would much rather make a turkey myself and use the sliced turkey breast for sandwiches.  Even though brining is an extra step in the process, I promise you that it is worth the time.  A brine is a solution of salt and water that adds moisture and flavor to meats.  I like to use a salt and sugar combination with fresh herbs and citrus but there are endless possibilities to flavor and tenderize whatever you are brining.  So how much time are we talking about?  The general rule is 1 hour per pound, but I like to brine overnight when I can.  But a lot of the time I stick it in the brine first thing in the morning then roast it off late in the afternoon.   The other rule is 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water.  You will know that you have enough salt if a raw egg floats in the water.

brined turkey recipe1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
10-15 peppercorns
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 gallon water

how to bring a turkeyIn a large pot or Ziploc bag, dissolve the salt and sugar in a gallon of water.  Add the fruits, herbs, and peppercorns.

how to brine a turkeyWhisk the salt and sugar until it is dissolved.

how to brine a turkeyAdd the turkey to the brine.  Cover the pot.  If you use a Ziploc bag, put it in another bowl in case there is some leakage.

how to brine a turkeyPut the pot in the fridge.  Let the turkey sit in the brine for 4-24 hours.

how to brine a turkeyTake the turkey out of the brine.  Rinse the turkey off and pat dry.

how to brine a turkeyPour some olive oil over the top.  Rub it in.

how to brine a turkeySeason well with salt and pepper and some fresh rosemary.

how to brine a turkeyBake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.  I love to have this turkey or chicken around to use in sandwiches, casseroles, or whatever I feel like eating during the week.

Do you brine?  I would love to hear what you use to make your brine solution.  Share with the class in the comments sections.

Brined Turkey Breast

Brined Turkey Breast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 10-15 peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 gallon water

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Ziploc bag, dissolve the salt and sugar in a gallon of water. Add the fruits, herbs, and peppercorns. Whisk the salt and sugar until it is dissolved. Add the turkey to the brine. Cover the pot. If you use a Ziploc bag, put it in another bowl in case there is some leakage. Put the pot in the fridge. Let the turkey sit in the brine for 4-24 hours.
  2. Take the turkey out of the brine. Rinse the turkey off and pat dry. Pour some olive oil over the top. Rub it in. Season well with salt and pepper and some fresh rosemary.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees. I love to have this turkey or chicken around to use in sandwiches, casseroles, or whatever I feel like eating during the week.
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36 Responses to Brined Turkey Breast

  1. Lynn says:

    I’m convinced! Turkey breasts are less costly and easy to get (they are on sale at Whole Foods Market as we speak). I’ll take the extra step to brine and move turkey up on my list of items to make. Fessing up here, I usually find them a little boring so this will be great.

  2. Rosie says:

    I’m definitely not a fan of dried up white turkey meat! I always brine my turkey breasts. I just use Alton Brown’s brine recipe, which includes vegetable stock, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, candied ginger, and other stuff which I can’t remember.

    • bakedbree says:

      that sounds good… I love how easy it is to change the flavors in the brine and make something new every time.

  3. Brined Turkey Breast | Turkey Live says:

    [...] Read the original post:  Brined Turkey Breast [...]

  4. [...] in the kitchen.  I came home and knew that I needed to recreate this delicious sandwich.  I had brined a turkey breast with the intentions of using it for this sandwich.  If I was really ambitious, I would have made a [...]

  5. jessica g says:

    We started brining our turkey a few years ago, too. It makes all the difference in the world! I never thought about doing it with just the breasts. On my to-do for this week.

  6. [...] around.  This roast pork takes 2 days to make, but very little effort on either day.  I love to brine and brine pretty much all pork and poultry these days.  It really is worth [...]

  7. Chloe B says:

    Hi Bree! I just came across your blog through a friend who “liked it” on Facebook. I’m really enjoying reading your recipes! Ironically, last night I made turkey legs for my fiance (with stuffing–we can’t wait for Thanksgiving!) and I brined the turkey for the first time. I used water, brown sugar, sea salt, celery seeds, thyme, sage, and peppercorns. I let the legs soak overnight and baked them at 325 for 1.5 hours. I have to say, those were the best turkey legs I’ve ever had! I’ll definitely have to try to make the brine with citrus juice like you did to try a new flavor.

  8. [...] why I do not get excited about a Thanksgiving turkey.  We eat turkey all the time.  I always brine my turkey.  I think that it adds moisture and flavor that you cannot get any other way.  It is worth the [...]

  9. Tina says:

    I’ve been researching brines and which one I wanted to use…this one is it! Looks delicious!! I stalk you regularly and can’t wait to make your biscuits in the jars as well!! YUM!
    Tina recently posted..Chambersburg- PA Family Photographer 3 Men &amp a Lovely Lady

  10. Amber says:

    Hi Bree! I am brining turkey for the first time and I’m excited to try your recipe! I have (2) 5-lb turkey breasts. Is the recipe above enough to brine both turkey breasts or should I double it? This is my first time hosting thanksgiving and I’m a little nervous about the turkey! Thanks for your help!

  11. Coby says:

    One of the greatest brines I’ve done is with a mixture of water and beer. It’s best to use a lager, since they’re malty and add a touch of sweetness. Then add your usual spices to the liquid (salt, pepper, garlic, onion, poultry seasoning, whatever). Most amazing turkey ever!

  12. [...] who cook.  I saw this Herbes de Provence Chicken recipe and needed to make it ASAP.  I love a roast chicken or turkey, but a sweet and savory one?  Done and [...]

  13. Lindsey says:

    Hi Bree-
    I really want to brine my turkey for thanksgiving this year–my first time making the turkey–and I really love the recipe you used on your turkey breast above. If I’m making say a 14 lb. bird how much of the brine solution + water do I need?
    Lindsey recently posted..New Themes: iTheme 2 and Bold News

  14. ChristineBlaylock says:

    Ok mil does not like rosemary any other herbs I could try that would go well with the citrus? My father in law suggested I use a bag of some sort to cook the turkey in this year but I know brining is the way to go.

  15. Becky says:

    WhEn baking do I need to slice the turkey breast in half or can I bake whole?

  16. [...] at Gram & Dun is far more complicated than I am willing to take on at home. The chicken is brined, sous-vide, and then flash fried. Instead, I made something inspired by the dish that I love. I [...]

  17. [...] It was incredible. Moist, tender, and perfect for a summer barbecue. You know how I feel about brining, and the idea of brining it in a drink intrigues me, what other drinks can we turn into brine? [...]

  18. [...] why I do not get excited about a Thanksgiving turkey.  We eat turkey all the time.  I always brine my turkey.  I think that it adds moisture and flavor that you cannot get any other way.  It is worth the [...]

  19. [...] who cook.  I saw this Herbes de Provence Chicken recipe and needed to make it ASAP.  I love a roast chicken or turkey, but a sweet and savory one?  Done and [...]

  20. Mchayes says:

    Is it okay to brine the turkey breast if it has been frozen?

  21. Melissa says:

    Gonna try it! I’m only using one half breast (2.25 lbs), can I use the same recipe and leave it overnight, or will it be too salty? I was wondering if I should half the recipe.

  22. Hannah Mayo says:

    Bree- it’s Thanksgiving night, and I still had this post up on my screen from referencing it while prepping my turkey earlier, so I had to leave a comment :). I put it the brining solution last night before bed (doubled the recipe here for a whole 18-pounder). This turkey was a huge hit with my family. Even my picky, almost vegetarian 3-year-old ate a serving! I’ll never make a turkey any other way from now on. Thank you! ;)

  23. [...] around.  This roast pork takes 2 days to make, but very little effort on either day.  I love to brine and brine pretty much all pork and poultry these days.  It really is worth [...]

  24. Beth says:

    Would you publish a print version of this? Pretty please? Thanks so much.

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