How to Brine a Turkey

How to brine a turkey

1 gallon of vegetable stock OR 1 gallon water plus 1 vegetable bullion cube
1 quart orange juice
1 quart cold water
1 cup salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 pickling spices
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

1 turkey (we used an 18 lb turkey)


WARNING: This part should be done the night before you want to roast the turkey
In very large pot, combine stock, brown sugar, spices and salt. Bring to a boil. Cool completely, refrigerate overnight.
THEN: Six hours before you want to cook the turkey…
Mix the stock mixture, orange juice and cold water. Place turkey in a nonreactive pot* large enough to hold the turkey and liquid. Pour brine over turkey. Refrigerate the turkey for 6 hours. Roast as usual or use our super quick method.

*Note: if you don’t have a large nonreactive pot (or aren’t sure), you could use a large, thick trash bag to line any pot.


  1. We brine our turkey in a cooler! Seriously. It's hard to find a vessel large enough to hold a 25-26lbs bird each year so we put the turkey and the brine in the cooler. 🙂

  2. I do this too. In fact, there is a big Tom in the cooler, brine and all, right now. Don't forget to add ice to your cooler so the bird doesn't get too warm and grow bacteria.

    I put in some cubes, and also a couple used/empty plastic 2 lb coffee containers that I have iced. What I mean is that I have earlier frozen water inside of.them to make some ice "bricks". Just throw in the whole frozen thing and it will help to keep the temperature down without a lot of fuss.