Savory Turkey Brine

Savory Turkey Brine

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 14 to 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
33 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3173mg 138%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 28mg 1%
*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.)

You will get a rich flavor with this poultry brine as it contains the perfect combination of herbs that go so well with turkey. You can use this brine whether roasting, smoking, or deep-frying the turkey. The recipe calls for simple ingredients you are likely already to have on hand. The herbs should pair well with any rub you use to season the turkey before cooking.

This savory turkey brine gets some of its salt from vegetable stock, which is important to remember if you are doing a standard brine calculation of 1 cup of table salt to 1 gallon of water. Do not use iodized salt as the iodine in it will spoil the flavor.

If you use a frozen turkey, it will need to be fully defrosted before brining. You will need to plan for one hour per pound of turkey, so the turkey will start brining 12 hours before cooking if you have a 12-pound turkey, and 20 hours before cooking if you have a 20-pound turkey.


  • 2 quarts vegetable stock

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon dried sage

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 2 quarts cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Savory Turkey Brine ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, sugar, rosemary, sage, and thyme in a large pot over medium heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the salt is completely dissolved.

    Combine the vegetable stock, salt, sugar, rosemary, sage, and thyme in a large pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Remove the pot from the from heat and allow the mixture to cool to cool for 30 minutes or more. Add the cold water.

    water added to the brine in the pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Place the turkey in a large plastic container. Pour the cold brine over the top. Cover the container and refrigerate. Brine the turkey for 1 hour per pound.

    turkey covered with brine

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Rinse all the brine from the turkey thoroughly before cooking. Otherwise, there will be a salty flavor to the turkey. Discard any remaining brine and thoroughly clean the container.

    turkey on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, making sure to get inside the cavity. Apply turkey rub (if using), cook as directed, and serve.

    turkey patted dry with a paper towel

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  • Your turkey rub should not contain salt as the bird will already be perfectly salted. You can also omit salt from any stuffing you put inside the turkey. The turkey juices produced during cooking will season the stuffing well.
  • You will need enough refrigerator space when brining a turkey as it must be kept under 40 F for food safety. If space is tight, you can brine the turkey in a brining bag in an ice cooler, covered with ice water.
  • Your turkey needs to be submerged in the brine, so you may need to make more brine depending on the container size and size of the turkey. By using a brining bag, you can get brine around more of the turkey without having to make additional brine.