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How to Brine a Thanksgiving Turkey for ultra juicy and tender meat!

How to Brine a Thanksgiving Turkey

Tips and tricks for how to brine your Thanksgiving turkey for ultra juicy and tender meat!

Cuisine American
Recipe by Tessa Arias


  • 12 to 18 pound turkey, neck and giblets removed, preferably fresh but defrosted if frozen

For the brine:

  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoon dried thyme

For roasting:

  • Fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • Canola oil


  1. Very thoroughly rinse off the turkey under cold running water in a clean sink. Be sure to rinse the inside cavity.
  2. In a lidded 5 gallon bucket or other large food-safe vessel combine all the brine ingredients, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Completely submerge the turkey in the brine solution. Allow the turkey to brine for at least 12 hours, up to 18 hours for larger birds. If using a frozen injected turkey, brine for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place a roasting rack on a large rimmed sheet pan or prepare a roasting pan.
  4. Discard the brine and remove turkey to a clean sink. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water for several minutes. Fill the sink with water and let the turkey soak for 10 minutes. Remove turkey from water, allowing water to drain from cavity, before patting dry with paper towels.
  5. Place the turkey on the roasting rack. Fill with fresh herbs, onion, and apple. Tuck the wings under the bird and tie the legs together with twine. Coat the skin liberally with canola oil. Fold a very large sheet of tin foil into a triangle that will fit over the breast of the turkey. Brush the foil with canola oil. Mold the foil, oiled side down, to the breast of the turkey, like a breast plate, then set aside for later. Place a digital thermometer probe into the breast of the turkey, making sure it is well inserted but not touching any bone. Insert the turkey in the oven, legs first. Roast the turkey at 475°F. for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the turkey from the oven, remove thermometer probe, and carefully place the foil triangle over the breast. Reinsert the thermometer probe over the foil and return the turkey to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 161°F, about 2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes, longer for large birds, before carving to ensure juiciness.

Recipe Notes

Kikkoman Brine