Apple Spice Turkey Brine

Ingredients for apple spice turkey brine
Claire Cohen
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 gallons (1 portion)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
696 Calories
4g Fat
169g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 gallons (1 portion)
Amount per serving
Calories 696
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 226421mg 9,844%
Total Carbohydrate 169g 61%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 3g
Calcium 351mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A well-roasted turkey is a meal to behold, but there are ways to make it even better—and that includes brining the bird for 24 hours before you roast it. When you brine a turkey—or any other type of protein—the salt seeps into the meat and, essentially, allows it to retain more moisture. Kosher salt is ideal for brining, though table salt is perfectly fine, as long as you use 1 pound of salt for every gallon of water in the brine. For table salt, that's about 1 cup; for kosher salt, it's between 1.5 and 2 cups.


  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 2 quarts orange juice
  • 1 cup table salt or 1.5 to 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 10 whole cloves (whole)
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 gallon cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Pour apple and orange juice into a large pot over medium heat. Add the salt, brown sugar, cloves, and nutmeg.

  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (at least 40 to 60 minutes). After the mixture has sufficiently cooled, add the cold water.

  4. Place poultry in a large plastic container or a large stockpot. Pour the brine over top. Brine poultry covered for at least 1 hour per pound in the refrigerator.

  5. Thoroughly rinse all the brine from the turkey before cooking.

  6. Pat turkey dry inside and out and apply your rub of choice. Cook meat as directed.​


  • If the turkey floats to the top of the brine and isn't fully submerged, put something heavy, like a plate, on top of it to weigh it down.
  • Brining creates salty pan juices while roasting. If you plan to make gravy from the drippings, use low-sodium broth and avoid adding any extra salt to the mixture.
  • Don't stuff this turkey, as the stuffing will end up extra-salty. Instead, make a dressing on the side.
  • Once brined, make a compound butter with your choice of dried herbs and spices. Mix well with butter and rub it all over the skin of the bird.

Recipe Variations

  • Citrus turkey brine: Combine 1 1/2 gallons of cold water with 1 cup of salt, one lemon cut into wedges, one orange cut into wedges, three cloves of garlic, one onion cut into wedges, four bay leaves, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper. Add the turkey and brine overnight.
  • Buttermilk turkey brine: In a large pot over high heat, combine the 32 ounces of water with 3/4 cup of salt. Add 5 tablespoons each of dried basil and coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons each of black peppercorns and yellow mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic and four bay leaves. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt is dissolved. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Add 4 quarts of buttermilk and the turkey and brine for 24 to 36 hours.
  • Turkey Apple Brine: here is another version.