Chicken Brine Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Chicken - Little Sunny Kitchen (2024)

The best chicken brine recipe to add moisture and flavor to the chicken deep down to the bone! This brine makes your chicken so juicy, succulent, and tender. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked and will never want to roast a chicken without brining it first!

Chicken Brine Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Chicken - Little Sunny Kitchen (1)

There’s nothing worse than a beautiful looking roasted chicken that is perfectly crispy and golden from the outside, but bland, dry, and tough on the inside!

Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid this and get the perfect juicy and flavorful roast chicken every time, and it’s to simply soak the chicken in a water and salt solution. This method has been used for thousands of years and it’s quite powerful, so let’s get into it!

Why Brine Chicken?

Brining a whole chicken or chicken parts is so important. When you season a chicken, you’re only seasoning the surface, but how about deeply seasoning the meat and elevating the level of flavor?

Brining chicken injects flavor and seasoning in the meat and tenderizes it. So whenever you get the opportunity and you’re using a dry cooking method such as grilling, pan-searing, frying, roasting, or smoking, do this step and brine your chicken, and you won’t believe how much difference this will make to your chicken roasts!

What brining does is keep your chicken juicy by retaining more moisture during cooking, so when it’s being roasted it won’t lose too much moisture. But keep in mind that brined chicken takes less time to roast.

And of course, it also adds flavor. Don’t worry the brine won’t have a dominant flavor and your chicken won’t taste like honey, herbs, and lemon. You will still taste the delicious chicken flavor, with a background of seasoning to enhance it.

NOTE: Leaner meats benefit best from wet brining because they don’t have enough fat to keep them juicy as they cook, so you can use this brine for chicken, turkey, pork chops, and tenderloin.

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Difference Between Chicken Brine and Marinade

In case you’re wondering what’s the difference between a brine and marinade, I’ll explain quickly:

The main purpose of brine is to tenderize the meat, while the primary purpose of a marinade is to inject flavor. In a brine, meat is submerged in water and salt solution, but in a marinade, the meat is coated with flavorings often containing some type of acid, spices, and herbs.

Chicken Brine Ingredients

You can totally make a basic chicken brine with just water and salt. But to take your chicken to the next level, you will need these OPTIONAL ingredients that are used to enhance the flavor:

  • Fresh herbs – I use whatever I have available. Use parsley, cilantro thyme, rosemary, etc.
  • Bay leaves – dry or fresh.
  • Black peppercorns – whole or ground black pepper.
  • Garlic and lemon.
  • Honey – to add some sweetness, you can substitute it with maple syrup granulated sugar or brown sugar.
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How to Brine Chicken

First, think about the vessel that you will be brining chicken in. You will need a container that’s gonna be able to hold the chicken, I used a cast iron pot (which is not ideal as it takes a while to cool down after it’s heated) but it’s the biggest that I have that can hold my 5-pound chicken.

The percentage of the salt to water is usually between 3-6%, I like to go with 4-5% by weight, that’s around 40 or 50 grams of salt for 1 liter of water (check the recipe card for the exact amounts).

It is important to use kosher salt for brining (also called cooking salt) NOT table salt. The reason behind this is that table salt has very fine grains, it measures differently and will make your chicken too salty. So if it’s only table salt that you have then use half of the amount of salt needed.

  • In a pot or a saucepan, combine ½ cup of water, salt, and the rest of the ingredients (if using flavorings). Bring to a boil, whisk until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved, then remove from heat.
  • Pour in the rest of the water (if you’re in a rush, add ice cubes), and allow the water to COMPLETELY cool down to room temperature and it’s even recommended to refrigerate if possible.
  • When the water has completely cooled down, submerge the whole chicken in brine breast side down, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours if using a whole chicken and up to 24 hours.

NOTE: The recipe is adapted from Chef Thomas Keller’s chicken brine recipe that he shared in his Masterclass, he uses 10% salt solution, and then air dries the chicken for 2-3 days in the fridge for crispy skin and better texture.

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How Long to Brine a Chicken

Brine a whole chicken for at least 12 hours, and for up to 24 hours. Do not brine for longer than 24 hours as the chicken will become too salty. I usually brine a whole chicken for about 16-18 hours and I found that gives the best result.

For chicken breasts, I recommend brining for at least 3 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.

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How to Cook Brined Chicken

As I mentioned above, brining is great for dry cooking methods such as roasting, grilling, frying, pan-searing, and smoking. Here are a few recipes to try:

  • Air Fryer whole chicken
  • Air Fryer chicken breast
  • Smoked whole chicken
  • Easy Roast chicken
  • Baked chicken breast
  • Spatchco*ck roasted chicken
  • Grilled chicken kabobs

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Recipe

Chicken Brine Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Chicken - Little Sunny Kitchen (6)

4.96 from 21 votes(Click stars to rate!)

Chicken Brine Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Brining Time: 1 day d

Total Time: 1 day d 15 minutes mins

Author: Diana

Print Rate Recipe

The best chicken brine recipe to add moisture and flavor to the chicken deep down to the bone! This brine makes your chicken so juicy, succulent, and tender, try it once, and you'll never want to roast or cook a chicken without brining it first!

6

The best chicken brine recipe to add moisture and flavor to the chicken deep down to the bone! This brine makes your chicken so juicy, succulent, and tender, try it once, and you'll never want to roast or cook a chicken without brining it first!

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pound 2-2.5kg whole chicken

For the brine:

  • 8 cups 2 liters water
  • ⅓ cup (80g) kosher salt or 40g table salt

Optional flavorings

  • 2 lemons sliced
  • cup honey or sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs fresh mixed herbs parsley, rosemary, thyme

Instructions

  • In a pot or a saucepan, combine ½ cup of water, salt, and the rest of the ingredients (if using flavorings). Bring to a boil, whisk until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved, then remove from heat.

  • Pour in the rest of the water (if you're in a rush, add ice cubes), and allow the water to COMPLETELY cool down to room temperature and it's even recommended to refrigerate if possible.

  • When the water has completely cooled down, submerge the whole chicken in brine breast side down, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours if using a whole chicken and up to 24 hours.

Notes:

  • Nutrition values are calculated per serving for a roasted 4lb chicken that serves 6.
  • Don’t leave the chicken in brine for longer than 24 hours as it will become too salty.
  • Only submerge the chicken in the brine, when the brine has COMPLETELY cooled down. Warm brine can be a great environment for bacteria to grow, and it’s not a safe thing to do. So never use warm brine!
  • The recipe is adapted from Chef Thomas Keller’s chicken brine recipe shared via masterclass.com, he uses 10% salt, and then air dries the chicken for 2-3 days in the fridge for crispy skin and better texture.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 157mg, Sodium: 169mg, Potassium: 509mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 205IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 2mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

© Little Sunny Kitchen

Chicken Brine Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Chicken - Little Sunny Kitchen (2024)
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