How to brine a turkey

Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner!? I’m blown away with how fast this year has flown by. Since it’s that I time of year again I want to share with you my very favorite way to make a turkey. If any of you are intimidated by making a turkey using a brine is great for a beginner. Soaking the turkey in a salty brine results in a perfectly moist and seasoned bird.

After your turkey is completely thawed remove the packaging and giblets and then make your brine. I like to add my turkey to an Igloo 5-gallon drink cooler because it is BPA free and safe for food. I have heard of people that brine their turkey in a garbage bag or plastic bucket. Please, don’t do this, as these plastics are not safe for food! If your turkey is small enough you can also add it and the brine to a cleaned out vegetable crisper tray so it can fit right back into the fridge. I have to remove one of my shelves in my fridge and do some rearranging to get my cooler to fit in there overnight, but the extra effort is well worth it!

Now on to the recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Turkey Brine

8 cups vegetable broth

8 cups apple juice

3/4 cup sea salt

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried sage

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried savory

1 gallon ice water


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, apple juice, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5-gallon cooler. Stir in the ice water.
  3. Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the cooler in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  5. Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Link up with Katherine’s CornerBuns in My Oven, The Pin Junkie, A Dish of Daily Life and Posed Perfection.

P.S. My family of 5 got FOUR dinners out of that one 18 lb turkey. Stay tuned for some delicious turkey leftover recipe ideas!



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  • Sue

    Did I miss something? How do you use the apple juic?ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      Thank you for commenting! I forgot to add that part to the directions and I just fixed it. You add it to the stock pot with the broth, salt, and herbs.ReplyCancel

  • I can’t wait to try your recipe this Thanksgiving! I just love brined birds!ReplyCancel


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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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