Brined Turkey Breast

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
Brined Turket Breast - make one for dinner and use the other for the best turkey sandwiches you can imagine.

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.

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0g

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40 Comments

  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

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

      Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
    • Brining is the way to go. It makes such a huge difference. Glad that you like it!

      Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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! 😉

    Reply
    • You are so welcome Hannah! It makes all the difference! happy Belated Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  • I don’t know where I got the recipe for my brine, but the flavors are fantastic! I leave the turkey breast in the brine for about a full day, give or take depending on your schedule. I use a boneless turkey breast tied into a roast shape. Tying is more a preference thing, but I like it because everything cooks very evenly, just like a roast. Also, remember that resting the meat is important. I usually take the bird out when a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reaches 161°. Rest for about 10 minutes before carving to allow carryover cooking to boost the temperature to a minimum of 165°. Do these took things & you’ll never go wrong!

    Brine:
    1gal Water
    1c Kosher Salt
    3/4c Brown Sugar (light or dark okay)
    2tbsp Whole Allspice, cracked
    1tbsp Peppercorns, cracked
    2-4 Bay Leaves, crumpled

    If you like citrus, by all means, add it. If you like ginger or cinnamon, add some. Don’t be afraid to try other flavors. I like to try variations based on experimenting with flavors that go well with allspice, the main flavor component in this brine (& one that really comes through in the meat after cooking). You can also try other ingredients. The really important thing is to have 1c salt per gallon of water. Anything else you add is up to you depending on what flavor your are looking for. I like allspice, nutmeg, & cinnamon as central flavor components because they are usually associated with fall. Beyond that, the brine is up to the chef. Happy brining!

    Reply
  • First time trying this… Looking forward to some awesome turkey breast tomorrow!

    Reply
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt,1 tbsp celery salt,1 tbsp garlic powder,2 tbsp brown sugar,a pinch of thyme and a dash of ground cloves dissolved in 1 cp hot water. Add 6 cp ginger ale and 1 cp apple juice.

    Reply
  • Brining for the 1st time. Can’t wait to try your recipe. It sounds wonderful! Thx!

    Reply
  • I put my turkey in my brine water frozen over night take it out inject it with the brine put alight rub on it soak my meat sock in butter and liquid smoke put my turkey in hang it in my smoker turns out very tasty

    Reply
  • Hi, I’m about to cook 3 turkey breast that were brined, total of pounds is 18.41 adding each turkey breast that’s total of pounds.
    How long do I cook them for??and is it OK to cover them with aluminum foil while in oven…?

    Reply
    • I can’t really answer that without knowing more. And I only cover with foil if the skin starts to get too brown.

      Reply
  • Hello
    Cooking it at 400, does it dry the turkey too much?
    Other receipes say a lower temp.
    My whole turkey breast is boneless and I’m brining it right now.
    Can I just cut it in half and cook it?
    Thanks
    GG

    Reply

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