Turkey Brine

1 brine - 20-pound turkey

Keeping your bird juicy isn't that hard—all you need is the right seasoning and a really large fridge. Brining is the first step in our roasted turkey recipe.


  • 7 quarts (28 cups) water

  • 1 ½ cups kosher salt

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries

  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds

  • 1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds), patted dry, neck and giblets reserved for stock, liver reserved for stuffing

  • 1 bottle dry Riesling

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme


  1. Bring 1 quart water, salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool 5 minutes.

  2. Line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

    brining a turkey

Cook's Notes

The turkey needs to soak for about 24 hours, so plan accordingly.

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