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Thanksgiving Techniques

Brining a Turkey

Brining is a simple way to enhance flavor and moisture in turkey as well as other lean meats. The process can take between two and 12 hours depending on the strength of the brine. This brine is on the weak side to prevent the seasoning from overpowering the bird.

Technique

Step 1
Stir 1 cup kosher salt into 4 cups boiling water until all the salt has dissolved. While the mixture is still warm, you can add other flavors (see Add Flavor tip below). Allow the brine to cool to room temperature.

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Step 2
Place the turkey in a brining bag (see Alternative Brining Containers tip below). Once the brine is cool (it must be cool before pouring over the turkey) pour it into the bag with the turkey, then add 1½ gallons of ice water.

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Step 3
Place the brining bag into a large container just in case it leaks (a roasting pan works great). Brine the turkey in the fridge for up to 12 hours, turning it every couple of hours to be sure the solution reaches all areas.

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Step 4
After brining, rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. No need to season the turkey with salt! Discard the brine.

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Tips

No Brining Necessary
No need to brine a self-basted or kosher turkey. They’ve already been subjected to brining solutions.

Alternative Solution
For a simple but flavorful brine, substitute Swanson® Chicken broth for the traditional salt brine. It provides a good balance of flavors and makes a perfectly seasoned, moist roast turkey. Use Swanson® Chicken broth just as you would a homemade brine.

Add Flavor
Add ½ cup sugar or fresh herbs to the brining solution for a little extra flavor.

Alternative Brining Containers
With the popularity of brining on the rise, local kitchenware stores often carry special brining bags during the holidays. Depending on the size of your bird, you can also brine in two-gallon resealable bags or in large plastic containers—anything food safe and big enough to hold the turkey and fit in your fridge.