Brining made easy
What is brining? Similar to marinating, brining is the process of soaking the turkey for a period of time in brine, which is a simple mixture of salt and water. While marinade focuses on adding flavor to the meat, brine focuses making the meat tender and moist.
Since brining is just like marinating, it can be done in three easy steps.
Step 1: Prep the turkey
Completely thaw your bird either in the refrigerator for a few days or in a bath of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is safely thawed. Remove the giblets and neck, rinse the turkey and pat dry.
Step 2: Make the brine
Brine is just salt and water, but you can add other ingredients to spice it up if you choose. When the meat sits in brine, it absorbs both the water and the salt, creating an extra moist, very flavorful turkey. Instead of water, you can use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or even apple cider! You can also add rosemary leaves, brown sugar, sage, thyme, garlic, or Worcestershire sauce to kick it up a notch. Have fun with the ingredients or follow a recipe, the choice is yours!
Note: For proportions, you’ll need half a cup of salt for every gallon of liquid.
Step 3: Soak the turkey in brine
Place the thawed turkey in a large glass container, a plastic bucket, or a stainless steel pot and add your brine (if your turkey is humungous and you can’t find a big enough container, some people use a cooler). Place it in the refrigerator and let it soak, preferably overnight. If you’re in a pinch, you can soak your turkey for a minimum of four hours prior to cooking.
Once fully soaked, remove it from the brine, rinse it, and pat dry. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for an hour, and cook your turkey as desired and enjoy some of the juiciest meat you’ll ever taste!
Tip: Make sure the skin of the turkey is completely dry before placing in the oven. This helps get the desired perfectly brown, crisp outer skin.
More Turkey Cooking Tips
Now that your turkey is all brined and ready to go, here are some more how-to’s for cooking it!
More Favorites from the Food Blogs Stars
Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the table, celebrate gratefulness and eat yummy food, of course! Our Food Blogs Stars are sharing some of their favorite tried and true holiday dishes! Bring something new and delicious to your Thanksgiving Day table!
Let’s Make the House Smell like Christmas
First things first! It’s time to set the mood with a festive holiday simmer pot that is sure to make the house smell like Christmas! There is nothing better than the smell of spices wafting from the kitchen and filling the house with warm holiday cheer. You can make this simmer pot with practically anything but the must-haves are cinnamon, citrus, ginger and vanilla. Toss in some cranberries and a few sprigs of rosemary for a Thanksgiving-inspired scent!
Sweet Potato Casserole Baked Oatmeal
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially when you are the host of a Thanksgiving dinner! Start your day and keep your energy up with this hearty, yummy Sweet Potato Casserole Baked Oatmeal! We promise it’s breakfast, even if it tastes like you are eating dessert first.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
If you have no qualms about eating dessert for breakfast, then these gooey Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are for you! This easy recipe can be made in under one hour with refrigerated dough, a delicious pumpkin filling, and an incredible pumpkin pie spice cream cheese frosting! Yum!
Thanksgiving Turkey How-to Video
Now that breakfast is out of the way, it’s time to focus on the star of the show – the turkey! Roasting a turkey feels like a big deal, especially if you have never done it before! But don’t worry, Natasha is here to show you just how it’s done! Her fail safe video tutorial (and step-by-step instructions) will teach you how to make the perfect golden brown and juicy turkey! No brines. No marinades. No fuss!
A turkey can’t come to dinner without some escorts. Next up are the side dishes!
Best Ever Thanksgiving Stuffing
You can’t have turkey without stuffing! This basic homemade stuffing is the best ever easy Thanksgiving stuffing, perfect for you holiday gatherings and simple to make. And with just a few ingredients cooked on the stovetop, you don’t have to use your over-crowded oven.
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another Turkey Day table staple. These Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a refreshing update from the sticky brown mush you might be used to seeing. They are ridiculously easy to to make and less than 10 minutes to prep! Sweet, savory and fool-proof.
Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese
This fresh Cranberry Salsa with cream cheese is a spicy and sweet combo that is always a hit at parties. Spread on crackers or toasted bread slices for the perfect fall appetizer.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad
Looking for something a little lighter for your dinner table? This Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad is not only gorgeous, it’s also chock-full of good-for-you ingredients! It’s a great make-ahead dish that you can prepare the day before and toss together right before serving.
Soul Food Collard Greens
Speaking of greens, how about some collard greens, y’all! This collard greens recipe uses simple, non-fancy ingredients for a truly southern and authentic soul food dish. The perfect flavorful side dish for your dinner table or save that turkey leg and whip some up with the leftovers. Mmm-mmm!
Cheesy Garlic Herb Scalloped Potatoes
These Cheesy Garlic Herb Scalloped Potatoes are a must make for Thanksgiving! The creamy hasselback style potatoes are smothered in flavorful Boursin cheese and make a beautiful presentation.
The Best Potato Rolls
These little golden treasures might be a “side” dish, but they just may steal the show! The BEST Potato Rolls are ridiculously buttery, so soft and seriously melt in your mouth. There is no kneading involved in this recipe, but they do require a little make-ahead preparation, but they are oh-so worth it. Don’t forget to set a few aside for the day after because these will be amazing for leftover turkey sandwiches!
Are you stuffed yet? Don’t forget to save some room for pumpkin pie.
The Great Pumpkin Pie
No Thanksgiving table is complete without a pumpkin pie! This beautiful, traditional Great Pumpkin Pie is bursting with flavor. It’s rich, smooth, and tastes incredible on Sally’s homemade pie crust and served with homemade whipped cream.
Impossible Pumpkin Pie
This healthy and crustless Impossible Pumpkin Pie is egg-and-dairy free, gluten-free, vegan, and completely free of refined sugar, yet delicious and custard-like. Katie just made the impossible, possible. This is a “one bowl” pumpkin pie that takes literally just minutes to prepare and is friendly to those with food allergies (and to your waistline).