Best Brine Ever (For Turkey or Chicken)

Total Time
12hrs 5mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 12 hrs

Pretty brazen of me, isn’t it? Naming this the BEST brine ever? Better than The Good Eats Turkey Brine, even? Well when you start with a Thomas Keller recipe and Tweak it a bit…. What? Who would DARE to “tweak” a Thomas Keller recipe? Oh, yeah, I’m a little crazy like that! I used this on a turkey, and it turned out to be the “BEST TURKEY EVER!!” according to my husband. I can only imagine the magic it would work on a chicken! The original recipe can be found in Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, this is my (very slightly changed) recipe Cooking time = brining time

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  4. For turkey, place the thawed bird into a food grade plastic bucket, pour the cooled brine over top, add ice water to completely submerge the bird (nothing peeking out).
  5. Place the lid on the bucket and keep cold overnight at least 12 hours.
  6. Remove from brine, take out any of the aromatics that may be hiding in the cavity of the turkey, pat dry and let the turkey come to room temp for a few hours BEFORE you put it in the oven.
  7. (For my turkey, I added a fresh lemon, one head of garlic and some fresh herbs to the cavity of the bird before roasting).
  8. For chicken brine the bird UP TO BUT NOT MORE THAN 12 hours, I’ve not used this recipe on chicken but I’ve read the warnings of people who have left chicken in this brine for too long and it comes out salty!
Most Helpful

3 5

1 5

superlatives aside, this recipe does not maximize its ingredients. when making a brine, bringing the aromatics to a boil reduces their flavor impact.