Make a Better Turkey – Turkey Brining Recipe

Ok, turkey day is fast approaching. Do you have your menu planned? Grocery list made? How about your table setting planned?

Am I making you nervous with all these questions? I hope not :)

Let’s talk turkey though. It is, after all, the start of the Thanksgiving dinner table. Want a way to make it even more fabulously delicious?

Brine it!

Now, some people tend to shy away from brining because they think it is difficult or a big hassle. It really is neither!  Now this turkey brining recipe is adapted very slightly from the wonderful Alton Brown.

What you’ll need:
14-16 lb thawed or fresh turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable broth
2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp whole allspice berries
1 1/2 tsp chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
5 gallon bucket or large plastic bag

Let’s Brine It:
1)  The day before plan to cook your turkey, combine the the salt, brown sugar, vegetable broth, peppercorns, allspice and ginger in a large pot.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the solids. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat.  Let cool completely and refrigerate until ready to use {you can do this 1-2 days in advance of when you plan to use it}.

2)  The night before your are cooking your turkey, add your turkey to the bucket or bag.

Add the ice, water and broth mixture from step one.

Cover and refrigerate {or keep cold by adding more ice} overnight and until ready to cook the turkey.

3)  When ready to cook your bird, remove it from the brine and wash it with cold water.

4)  Cook the turkey as your normally would.

How do you prep and cook your turkey? 


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  1. I have always wanted to brine a turkey… I havent yet because I am addicted to how I make mine… Forever ago I had an uncle that cooked a turkey with beer and onions once… and then never again. I thought it was the best turkey I had ever had. So when I was finally out on my own and did my own Thanksgiving I set about to re-create that turkey. 12 years later I have my version I consider better. I heat a bottle of beer with a stick of butter to melt…wait till it cools and then I inject the turkey all over with the beer and butter stuff it with onions and then salt pepper and butter the skin.. Put it in the fridge overnight and let her get good and soused… I call it drunken I watched Trisha Yearwoods new show.. have you heard about the no bother turkey? You put it in the oven and cook for an hour and turn it off and let it sit in the oven for like 6 hours… I wonder if that really works.

  2. We’ve been brining our turkeys for years now, using a similar recipe, and it’s fabulous!

    Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I always wanted to try brining! will be pinning this for later!

  4. We’ve tried brining a few times and loved the end result. My dh is the chef for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if he’s doing it again this year, or just going the traditional route.

  5. Yes! We brine ours too and it always turns out soooo good.

    I’d love for you to come link up at my link party this week!

  6. I have never brine a turkey. After ready your recipe and instructions of how to do it, I think it would be worth trying it. Sounds so good. Thanks for sharing. Have a great Thanksgiving. Blessings, Jo-Ann

  7. This looks so good! Yours is the first recipe I found to use broth and ginger…..

  8. This looks so good! Yours is the first recipe I found to use broth and ginger…..

  9. We just pulled ours out of the brine this morning. My husband actually does our turkey because he has a smoker and loves it done that way. He put a dry rub on it this morning & that will sit in the fridge until tomorrow when it goes into his smoker. It makes me drool just thinking about it! Yum! I’m going to have to compare your brine to what he did because now I’m curious! Hopped over from SNAP! :) Happy Thanksgiving & hope your turkey is fabulous!

  10. I’ve been hearing so much about brining. I’m featuring you today… you’re a STAR over at I Gotta Create! Thanks so much for linking up with the Wildly Original Crowd at the party.

    <3 Christina

  11. We are a bit un-traditional, being that my husbands mom is from El Salvador. Turkey is a BIG deal there, and delicious, and we start prep the night before, covering it in dijon mustard and garlic, and a half bottle of red wine. Meanwhile, preparing the sauce made with roasted veggies, pasilla chili peppers, capers, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and a hundred exotic spices. Next day, the turkey is cooked in this sauce until it is fall apart tender. It is served on crusty french bread with a couple of sprigs of watercress. Once I had this, I never went back. The sauce is to die for. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  12. Were always with family for Thanksgiving, but if I ever get the chance to make my own Turkey I will have to remember this! I’ve seen it a lot of places this year. Thanks for sharing!

  13. G’day! American born and bred, now an Aussie, true!
    I have never brined a turkey, but it always intrigues me too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of Cathy’s Bloggers Showcase: Thanksgiving (Fall) Recipe RoundUp
    Joanne T Ferguson recently posted…Curious WHAT made “The Campbelltown South Australian” Community HOWL?My Profile

  14. I have never brined a turkey before, but I’m not opposed! And for the record, I love Alton Brown!!!! :)
    DesignedByBH recently posted…Thanksgiving for Two: Drunken Slow-Cooker Cornish HensMy Profile

  15. We are totally brining our turkey again this year! It makes it so relish, and flavorful!
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted…Easy No Bake Holiday Oreo Cookie Balls RecipeMy Profile

  16. I have never cooked a turkey in my life! Thankfully we go to my aunts she does the turkey we all bring the sides! I like to cook but this would intimidate me! Great job!
    Mama to 5 BLessings recently posted…Comment on Crashing Fun – Jenga Tetris Review & Giveaway by Tenielle SMy Profile

    • Shannah Coe says:

      I had never done a turkey until a few years ago. Now, we host Thanksgiving so I do most of the cooking.

  17. Great tips, thanks. Turkeys intimidate me.
    Virginia @thatbaldchick recently posted…It’s Christmas Baker’s Edition Giveaway (12/9)My Profile

  18. we are a brine family too. and my mouth is watering in anticipation!
    brett recently posted…5 Reasons to Send Your Kid to PreschoolMy Profile

  19. I love to brine my turkey! Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I might give this one a try!
    Jennifer B recently posted…It’s All About Her Holiday GiveawayMy Profile

  20. I have never cooked a turkey in my life but I really need to learn how. Thanks for the great tips!
    Jessica @Bkeepsushonest recently posted…Tips for Photographing Your Own ChildrenMy Profile

  21. To be honest I usually just bake it with stuffing inside. I had never tried brining. Thanks for sharing how to do it!

  22. My mom usually cooks the Turkey. She doesn’t brine heres though. I will have to share this with her
    Malia recently posted…Radio Flyer Ziggle *2013 Holiday Gift Idea*My Profile

  23. What a fun idea, I’ve never tried that before… or much with turkey. I am looking forward to giving this a try!
    Dawn Lopez recently posted…Finding Extra Cash in Your Budget for the Holidays & $300 Cash Card Giveaway #HRBlockEAMy Profile

  24. I have never ever brinded a turkey, but I just may have to do it, since you made it sound so easy and yummy!

  25. I’ve never heard of brining a turkey… interesting. I might have the courage to try this soon.
    Danielle @ We Have It All recently posted…Buy Hormone Free, Antibiotic Free Chicken, Meat and More from Zaycon FoodsMy Profile

  26. I just cooked a turkey last week with a similar turkey brine recipe. Oh my goodness! It was the first time I had ever used a Turkey brine but it will definitely not be the last! I don’t think I can ever do a turkey without a brine again! It was just so much more moist and such a better flavor!
    Amber Edwards recently posted…Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?My Profile

  27. I have been told that once you brine, you’ll never roast without it again! I hear it’s wonderful!
    Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas recently posted…2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Safe Sleep with @HaloSleepsackMy Profile

  28. Great tips! we are just doing a ham this year!
    kathy balman recently posted…Sunflower Education – Bulletin Board In A Book ReviewMy Profile

  29. I’ve never done this before but I can 100% see the appeal in doing it. I might be on board with this next week!
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted…Curry Pumpkin StewMy Profile

  30. I have never actually brined our turkey before. But it seems easy enough.
    Debi@TheSpringMount6Pack recently posted…It’s Cold and Grey and I Miss the Lake-Beltzville, PaMy Profile

  31. ooo this sounds like a yummy way to make one!
    Kristyn recently posted…Holiday Ready :: Tweed Jacket & Metallic Gold JeansMy Profile

  32. I think I’m going to try this recipe this year! Sound good
    Shanna recently posted…Conquering Holiday Clutter (and Learning Spanish) with the Brother P-Touch Label MakerMy Profile

  33. Seasoning.. a lot a special mix I make and in the oven I can’t stand fried turkey..
    Carmen’s Life recently posted…Free Sample of CentrumMy Profile

  34. Sounds so yummy….. But I’m wondering if you still have to season it after you brine.

  35. Love a brined turkey! Thanks for sharing at the Twirl & Take a Bow Party! Have a great day.
    Leslie @ House on the Way recently posted…Saturday Shopping Pick – Wingback HeadboardMy Profile


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