Basic Brine for Juicy, Tender Chicken or Turkey

Total Time
5mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 0 mins

I never make any sort of chicken/turkey without brining it first. Once you try this recipe, you won't either. This is my standard brine that I use most often. This allows me to add any flavoring, dry rub, or sauce to my chicken without competing with the brine flavors. The brining process forces water into the muscle tissues of the meat by a process known as diffusion and osmosis. This additional moisture causes the muscle tissues to swell and hold more water. The resulting water in the muscle tissues will make the meat more moist and tender. Any spices herbs or other flavorings you add to the brine solution will get taken deep into the meat with the water.

Directions

  1. Mix brine together well with a whisk.
  2. Place 1 whole chicken (thawed or frozen- you may also use chicken parts.) in brine for 2 hours up to over night. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and rinse chicken well. You are now ready to make a tender juicy chicken dish of your choosing.
  4. NOTES: You can do this with turkey, as well. Also, you will notice that your leftovers, even after refrigerated overnight, are so tender and juicy whether eaten cold or reheated. The moisture retention really helps to make a chicken meal morph into a second meal when it holds its moisture. If doing a whole turkey, use the recipe servings changer to up the servings to 6-10. Put your turkey in an insulated cooler with enough water to cover and add in a 5 pound bag of ice. Brine overnight.
Most Helpful

As a basic brine, this simple recipe worked out great for me. It falls short of five stars only because I did a lot of tweaking to add flavor to the brine mix by adding some aromatics. I will say though, in the last three years I've been coming here for recipes, this is the first one that inspired me enough to make an account and comment.

I rough cut a carrot, celery stalk, three large cloves of garlic, and an onion. A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme (gently tap the sprigs with the back of a solid knife to bruise and bring out more essence) really rounded it out nicely.

I tossed all of that in with a whole cut up chicken and put it in the fridge. It smelled amazing, still cold and uncooked, when I lifted the lid off after only three hours of soaking in the brine.

I rinsed and patted the parts dry, then made a mixture of 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Baked at 425 for 30-40 minutes. My family absolutely loved it. I've never had chicken breast so tender and juicy.

You can chop two or three russet potatoes, skin on, toss in the same herb and oil mixture (before the chicken) and salt to taste. These can be cooked alongside the chicken and will be done at the same time.

Butcher's Hook September 13, 2012

Thank you for this great recipe.This was the first time I've ever tried any type of brine.I made chicken thighs that I seasoned with onion and garlic powder after they came out of the brine.I broil them until done,turned the oven down to325 and applied Bar-B-Que until nicely glazed.That was the best chicken I have ever made and I have been cooking for over 40 yrs.Thank you again.

gale 57 August 03, 2010

We brined our first heritage Thanksgiving turkey with this recipe. I took some notes from other recipes and added some orange slices and garlic cloves but kept everything else the same. It was the juiciest, most flavorful turkey we've ever eaten. Thanks!

Lucky Clover December 01, 2013