Turkey Brine & Aromatics

Serves 1
Prep time 25 minutes
Dietary Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Yeast Free
Misc Prep Ahead
Occasion Christmas, Thanksgiving
By author Project Real Mom



  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Gallon vegetable stock
  • 1/2 Gallon apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon candied ginger (chopped)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 5 Whole bay leaves
  • 2 Whole oranges (just the peel)
  • cold water
  • ice


  • 1 red apple (quartered)
  • 1 orange (quartered)
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cup water


1. Salt allows the solution (and flavors) to permeate the flesh and meat of the turkey.

2. Make sure you thoroughly rinse your turkey inside and out after brining or you will end up with a salty bird!


Making the Brine
Step 1
Combine all ingredients, except cold water and ice, in a large stock pot. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.
Step 2
Bring to a boil.
Step 3
Remove from heat. Cover. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Step 4
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Brining the Turkey
Step 5
Place thawed turkey (make sure the body cavity is empty) in a extra large stock pot or brining bag. (I use a large food-grade bag in a 5 gallon bucket to do mine.)
Step 6
Pour cold brine solution over turkey.
Step 7
Add cold water to cover turkey. Add ice to keep solution very cold. (You may need to continue to add ice throughout the bringing process.) Make sure that the brining solution fills the body cavity of the turkey too!
Step 8
Half way through brining, flip turkey over so that it brines evenly. A good MINIMUM rule of thumb is to brine one hour per pound of uncooked turkey. (I usually make a 16 pound bird and brine for a full 24 hours.)
After Brining
Step 9
When brining is complete, remove turkey from bag or pot and place in clean sink. Completely cover with cold water and let sit for 15 minutes to remove excess salt.
Step 10
Discard brining solution. Remove turkey from water and pat dry. Roast with your favorite recipe (tip: use the aromatics recipe below)!
Step 11
Add apple, orange, onion, cinnamon stick and water to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 4-5 minutes in microwave.
Step 12
Add steeped aromatics, sage and rosemary to inside cavity of turkey. Careful: they will be HOT!

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