Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

Makes enough for 1 large turkey; about 2 gallons

This is a relatively simple brine, but it can also be a great starting point for your creative additions. Add sliced apples, fennel seed, rosemary, or virtually any flavoring that suits your Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 oranges, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs sage
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 juniper berries, cracked
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 turkey, any size


  1. In a medium pot, combine the cider, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and squeeze the oranges into the mixture, adding the squeezed rinds, as well. Add the garlic, sage, thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries, and peppercorns.
  2. Transfer to a large stockpot or brining container and add 2 gallons of cold water. Refrigerate until completely chilled before submerging your turkey.
  3. Refrigerate the turkey in the brine mixture for at least 24 hours. Remove from the brine and pat dry before roasting. Discard the brine.

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