How to Brine a Turkey

How to Brine a Turkey

Prep Time


Cook Time




In our It’s Isabel column this month, 11-year-old Isabel talked about her favorite recipes from Thanksgiving. Well, the requests started pouring in, so she talked her mom into sharing how she brines the turkey. 

The recipe is for one gallon of water for a small turkey; we suggest doubling the recipe for anything more than 6-7 lbs.


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 3 thyme (fresh)
  • 2 rosemary (fresh)


  • 1 NOTE: Defrost turkey prior to brining
  • 2
  • 3 The day before, clean the fresh or defrosted turkey and put it in a container or plastic bag used for baking the turkey
  • 4 Boil water, add salt and brown sugar
  • 5 When the solution is cold, add lemon, orange, thyme and rosemary
  • 6 Put the solution and all ingredients in the bag; tie it and put it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, turning the turkey once about half way through to make sure it is fully marinated
  • 7 Two hours before baking, take the turkey out of the refrigerator, put it on a tray, and use a paper towel to dry the turkey, discarding the brine solution
  • 8 Season the turkey with butter or olive oil, salt, pepper (inside and out)
  • 9 Can stuff the turkey with onion, lemon, carrot, celery, thyme, rosemary and sage


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