How to brine a turkey: Recipes, times

Brining your bird prior to cooking will help ensure you end up with a deliciously moist and flavor-packed Thanksgiving turkey.

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Friday, November 18, 2022
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Brining is similar to marinating, but is primarily focused on moistening the meat as opposed to adding flavor.

Brining your Thanksgiving turkey prior to cooking will help ensure you end up with a deliciously moist and flavor-packed turkey for your next gathering.

Brining Steps

The first step in the process is selecting your brine recipe. Savory Turkey Brine made with Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a simple and versatile choice that works for any occasion. Once you've selected your brine you'll need to:

Purchase a fresh turkey to eliminate the need to thaw, or completely thaw a frozen turkey.

The night before roasting, remove the giblets and turkey neck. Rinse the turkey inside and out.

Prepare your brine. Be sure to mix ingredients until all of the salt is dissolved. If your brine is heated, be sure to cool it to room temperature before brining.

Place your turkey, breast down, in a large container made of food-grade plastic, stainless steel, glass, or a brining bag. Be sure the container will fit in your fridge.

Add brine, covering the entire turkey.

Place in the refrigerator for the specified period of time.

Remove the turkey from the brine after the recommended time. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cook turkey as desired.

Perfect Brine Time

12 lbs. or less - 8 to 12 hrs.

12 to 14 lbs. - 9 to 14 hrs.

20 lbs. and over -15 to 20 hrs.

Savory Turkey Brine Recipe

2 gallons cold water

10 ounces Soy Sauce

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dried sage

2 tablespoons dried celery seed

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 16 - 24 lbs. Butterball Whole Turkey

Mix all ingredients until the salt is dissolved and follow our brining steps.

Did You Know...

As a rule of thumb, you should brine your turkey 45 to 60 minutes per pound.

This story was originally published in November 2019.