Our Favorite Thanksgiving Turkey Brine Recipe

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and we always have an inn full of family. I must admit to being a bit proud of our wonderful turkeys. For years, I resisted the idea of brining the bird. Then, we had a guest who happened to be a well-known chef, so I asked him if it was worth the extra work. He said, “Try it, you’ll be surprised.” And yes I was. Our delicious turkey, which I thought couldn’t get any better, is simply amazing. We hope you try -and enjoy- our favorite Thanksgiving Turkey brine recipe.



  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups baked brown sugar
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp tri-color peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic; minced
  • Peel of 3 large oranges; cut into large strips
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary; leaves stripped off
  • 1 uncooked turkey



  1. Combine all ingredients (except turkey) in a large pot. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. 
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat and cover. Allow to cool completely, and the place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Place fresh, uncooked, turkey in brine solution, and then refrigerate for 16-24 hours (you may add more cold water if your turkey is large). Note: we add ice cubes and use a clean cooler for the turkey and put it on our back porch. You may need to be a bit creative. 
  4. When you’re ready to roast, remove the turkey from the brine, and submerge in a pot or sink of cold water. Allow to sit 15 to 20 minutes to remove excess salt from outside. Discard brine.
  5. Remove the turkey from the water and then rinse again. 
  6. Pat dry and cook according to your usual roasting method. We like to stuff the turkey and rub it with butter and poultry seasoning. Then roast – at 325 approximately 15 minutes a pound, basting very frequently and test for doneness with a thermometer.
  7. Enjoy!


Let us know if you try our favorite Turkey brine recipe for thanksgiving, or if you have any questions. We wish you happy times in the kitchen and a joyful Thanksgiving!