Perdue Farms Guide: How to Brine a Turkey

Why brine a turkey? This process infuses turkey with moisture and produces a tender and juicy roasted turkey every time. Here, Perdue Farms' culinary team breaks down styles of brining (wet and dry) and shares brining recipes that will make your holiday turkey taste simply amazing!

No time to brine? We've included a turkey injection recipe that will boost the juiciness and flavor of turkey. Be sure to inject legs, thighs and breasts and let turkey rest at least one hour before you place in the oven.



Brine is a salt-water solution that may include woody herbs like rosemary and thyme, crushed raw garlic and onions. During the brining process, the solution penetrates the meat to a maximum depth of 1/4 inch. The more salt in the solution, the less time turkey takes to brine.

  • 5% salt to water brine: The choice for an overnight or two-night brine
  • 8% salt to water brine: The choice for a quick, 4- to 8-hour brine.

To brine a small bird, place it in a large zipper storage bag or food storage container, pour brine solution over to cover and store in the refrigerator.

To brine a large bird, place it in a large food storage container, pour brine solution over to cover and store in the refrigerator.

When time is up, remove turkey from brining solution and pat dry.


Heavily season the exterior of the bird with salt. Place turkey on a platter or pan with a lip and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight (or 8 to 12 hours). When time is up, place turkey in a large container with cold water and drain three to four times until salt coating disappears; pat turkey dry.

Word of caution: Although the process of patting the turkey dry after brining will remove some surface salt, the meat below the skin’s surface is optimally salted. Use only a small amount of salt in any dry rub or additional seasoning you place on the turkey skin before cooking to avoid oversalting.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Apple Cider
  • 1 gallon ice water
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse kosher salt (3/4 cup, if using table salt)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves

Instructions

Bring all ingredients, minus the ice water, to a boil in a large stock pot. Make sure that sugar and salt have dissolved completely, and remove from heat. Add ice water to hot brine. Once cooled, add turkey, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before cooking. When ready to cook, remove turkey from brine and pat dry.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon low/no-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 gallon ice water
  • 1 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt (3/4 cup, if using table salt)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 oranges, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 bay leaves

Instructions

Bring all ingredients, minus the ice water, to a boil in a large stock pot. Make sure that sugar and salt are completely dissolved, and remove from heat. Add the ice water to the hot brine. Once cooled, add turkey, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before cooking. When ready to cook, remove turkey from brine and pat dry.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dark beer (porter or stout)
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 gallon ice water
  • 1 1/4 cup coarse kosher salt (3/4 cup, if using table salt)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary

Instructions

Bring all ingredients, minus ice water and beer, to a boil in a large stock pot. Make sure that sugar and salt have dissolved completely, and remove from heat. Add ice water and beer to hot brine. Once cooled, submerge turkey in brine, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before cooking. When ready to cook, remove turkey from brine, and pat dry.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 gallon ice water
  • 1 1/4 cup coarse kosher salt (3/4 cup, if using table salt)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 5 lemons, quartered

Instructions

Bring all ingredients, minus ice water, to a boil in a large stock pot. Make sure that sugar and salt are completely dissolved, and remove from heat. Add the ice water to the hot brine. Once cooled, submerge turkey in brine, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before cooking. When ready to cook, remove turkey from brine, and pat dry.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, fine ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a pot while stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat. Let cool, until slightly warmer than room temperature, and strain. Fill injector with liquid and inject throughout legs, thighs and breast. Allow turkey to rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Perdue Farms chefs

Meet the Perdue Farms Corporate Culinary Team

Chef Chris Moyer, CEC, CRC, and Chef Shawn Reese, CEC, CRC, bring decades of combined culinary experience to their roles at Perdue Farms. Day to day, the chefs contribute to recipe development, culinary ideation and all culinary aspects of the company business. Along with keeping a close eye on emerging trends, new flavors and innovations in the industry, Chefs Chris and Shawn are involved in food photography for Perduefarms.com and head up planning and preparation of meals for both internal corporate functions and external consumer-focused events. The duo represents Perdue Farms and its brands at food shows across the country and remain 100% focused on a positive consumer experience with Perdue Farms products. "We truly love what we do," they say, "and it is exciting to be in an environment that allows us the freedom to be innovative." LEARN MORE


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