sliced turkey breast on a plate with gravy and homemade stuffing (easy turkey brine recipe)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Do you already have your menu planned? Normally I would want to have everything planned to the very last detail, but since it’s just Marc and I this year, I’m really not sure what we’ll be doing.

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Is brining a turkey worth it?

If you’ve never tried a turkey brine, I think it’s totally worth trying. It might change the way you look at turkey, especially the white meat. It creates a tender, juice turkey breast that can withstand a tiny bit of overcooking.

But, not every turkey breast should be brined. If you’re planning to brine, make sure you check the ingredients on your turkey breast package. Many commercial turkey breasts on the market are already brined before being packaged. If there’s anything about a salt solution or any ingredients other than turkey listed, don’t brine it.

sliced turkey breast on a serving platter (easy turkey brine recipe)

Here’s what you’ll need to make the best turkey brine

  • Sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • Peppercorns
  • White wine
  • Dried herbs
baked turkey breast on a cookie sheet

How to cook a turkey breast

Make the turkey brine. Heat the water in a large stockpot until boiling. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until they have dissolved.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the herbs and wine. Once the liquid has cooled completely, add your turkey. If your turkey is too large for your stockpot, you can try a turkey brine bag or an extra large food storage container.

Prep the turkey. Let the turkey brine overnight in the refrigerator, and when you’re ready to cook, remove it from the liquid. You’ll need to pat it dry with paper towels so the skin will brown.

Whatever you do, do not rinse it. Rinsing does nothing for the recipe and just contaminates your kitchen with germs.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and place your turkey breast on the pan you’re going to use. Brush the skin with olive oil and season it liberally with coarse salt, black pepper and granulated garlic.

Bake the turkey. Bake the turkey for about 20 minutes per pound (for bone in) or 15 minutes per pound (for boneless), or until the turkey breast reaches a temperature of 160˚F. It will continue cooking when you remove it from the oven, but you will ultimately want it to reach 165˚F.

I always recommend using a meat thermometer when making poultry because you really want to be sure that your turkey isn’t over or under done. If you find that it’s not fully cooked and your skin is getting to crispy, go ahead and tent it with aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

sliced turkey breast on a plate with gravy and homemade stuffing (easy turkey brine recipe)

FAQs and tips for making the best turkey brine

How long should you brine a turkey?

You should brine your turkey breast between 8 – 20 hours. I recommend putting your turkey in the brine at night and removing the turkey from the brine in the morning.

Can you brine a turkey too long?

Yes. You can definitely over-brine your turkey. I recommend brining for no longer than 24 hours.

Do you rinse a turkey after brining?

No. It isn’t necessary. It will not remove excess salt, and rinsing the turkey will increase your risk of contamination.

How long does it take to cook a turkey breast per pound?

Boneless turkey breast takes 15 minutes per pound to cook, and bone-in turkey breast takes 20 minutes per pound to cook to a food safe temperature.

How do I know when my turkey breast is done?

I recommend using a meat thermometer to check your turkey breast for doneness. This is the safest and most accurate way to know if it has reached 165˚F.

Does brining meat need to be refrigerated?

Absolutely. Since the meat will need to be brined for an extended period, it’s important that it’s kept at a food safe temperature in the fridge.

overhead view of sliced turkey breast with gravy and homemade stuffing on a gray plate garnished with fresh sage

More Thanksgiving recipes:

More turkey recipes:


Easy Turkey Brine Recipe

Whether you’re cooking a bone in or boneless turkey breast, this easy turkey brine recipe will make your turkey flavorful, juicy and tender. #turkey #thanksgiving

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hours
  • Total Time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



For the turkey brine:

  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine

For the turkey:

  • 1 turkey breast
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper
  • Granulated garlic


To make the turkey brine:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat water with sugar and salt until dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and add wine and spices.
  3. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Add turkey breast and refrigerate over night.

To cook the turkey breast:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F (160˚C).
  2. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry.
  3. Brush turkey skin with olive oil. Season liberally with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes per pound.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 233
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 469.7 mg
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 49.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 123.1 mg

Keywords: easy, dairy free, gluten free, fall

Last Updated on December 16, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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