• Condiments | Main Dishes
  • Chicken Brine

    This post may contain affiliate links for which I earn a commission. Read my disclosure page here.

    Get the most flavorful whole chicken that is so tender and juicy with this effortless method. This simple chicken brine guarantees perfect results every time, and every bite is truly delicious!

    Whole chicken brine in a stock pot

    Brining isn’t just for turkeys at Thanksgiving, whenever I cook a whole chicken, I always wet brine it. You need to plan ahead a little, but the whole process is super easy and it’s a sure way to impress.

    It’s can be really easy to overcook and dry out a whole chicken, and this is a great foolproof way to get juicy tender chicken every single time! And the skin is nice and crispy.

    Be sure to check out my Baked Chicken Breasts and Instant Pot Chicken and Rice too!

    Why you will love this chicken brine recipe!

    • Easy: The process of making a homemade brine is super straight forward with just a few spices, herbs and aromatics.
    • Quick: You need to allow time for the chicken to sit in the brine, but the process of making it will take no more than 10 minutes.
    • Perfect results: Brining a whole chicken is my go to method as it is really difficult to overcook the chicken and dry it out. It’s so much more flavorful and it’s never failed me! This is simply the best chicken brine.

    Ingredients for Chicken Brine

    • Water: Nothing fancy here, just tap water required.
    • Honey: Honey adds a just the right amount of sweetness. Use a natural raw honey if you can.
    • Lemon: The lemon not only adds flavor, but the acid also helps to tenderize the meat.
    • Fresh herbs: Parsley, fresh thyme sprigs, fresh rosemary, and bay leaves.
    • Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves, you just need to sash them rather than dicing them to release flavor.
    • Salt: Use cooking or kosher salt but not table salt.
    • Pepper: Use whole black peppercorns.
    • Chicken: This recipe uses a whole chicken. Buy organic and air chilled for the best quality and flavor. Don’t use previously frozen chicken as this can be much drier.
    ingredients for wet chicken brine

    How to brine chicken

    • Add 1 cup of water, salt, peppercorns, honey, garlic in a large pot and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 3 minutes until salt has dissolved. Turn off the heat, add the remaining water to the stock pot and several ice cubes to cool the water completely.
    • Add the chicken to the cooled solution and make sure the chicken is completely submerged.
    • Cover the pot and refrigerate for at least 3 – 4 hours, best for 8 – 24 hours.
    • Remove chicken from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. You can proceed with roasting the chicken in the oven, cooking it in the Instant Pot or smoking it in the smoker.
    process images of brining whole chicken in wet brine

    Why brine a chicken?

    • Tender and juicy whole chicken. It may seem like an extra step, but trust me, it’s so worth planning ahead a little! The salt in the brine will break down the proteins in the chicken, so when it is cooked, it doesn’t contract as much and retains its juices. Meaning that you get a really plump bird. Brining chicken in a seasoned water will also help to add more moisture. Your chicken will always come out tender and juicy.
    • Flavor in every bite. The aromatics in the brine also add flavor to the meat and the brine helps season it all the way through, so every bite is delicious!
    whole roasted chicken

    How long to brine a chicken?

    When it comes to brining a whole chicken, the longer the better. For a whole chicken I recommend at least 3 to 4 hours but brining overnight or up to 24 hours is perfect. Make sure you keep the chicken in the refrigerator.

    Can you brine cuts of chicken?

    You can also brine smaller chicken pieces and cuts like chicken thighs and breasts, drumsticks, or even wings. The smaller the cut of chicken, the less time it needs. Smaller cuts like these only require around 15 to 30 minutes of brining, so it’s a great option for easy weeknight meals.

    TIPS FROM NELI’S KITCHEN

    Recipe Notes and Tips

    • Don’t use table salt because it will make your brine and chicken too salty. It’s best to use kosher or cooking salt.
    • Let the chicken sit in the brine in the fridge with a lid on or covered with plastic wrap or foil.
    • Do not reuse brine. Discard it once you remove the chicken.
    • Before cooking your chicken, let it come up to room temperature. This will help it to keep it nice and tender.
    • Let the cooked chicken rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
    • You can use this simple brine recipe to grill, fry, or roast chicken.
    • You can also use this chicken brine to brine turkey breast, a small whole turkey.
    brining whole chicken in a wet brine

    More Chicken Recipes

    Chicken Brine

    Get the most flavorful whole chicken that is so tender and juicy with this effortless method. This simple chicken brine guarantees perfect results every time, and every bite is truly delicious!
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Chilling time 3 hours
    Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
    Servings 6 servings
    Calories 609kcal

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 quarts water, about 8 cups cold water
    • ¼ cup honey
    • 2 lemons, sliced
    • 5 sprigs parsley
    • 3 sprigs thyme
    • 3 sprigs rosemary
    • 3 dried bay leaves
    • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
    • ¼ cup kosher salt or cooking salt
    • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
    • 3 – 4 lb chicken, whole

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • Bring 1 cup of water, salt, peppercorns, honey, garlic in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 3 minutes until salt has dissolved. Turn off the heat, add remaining water and several ice cubes to cool the water completely.
    • Add the chicken to the cooled brine and make sure the chicken is completely submerged.
    • Cover the pot and refrigerate for at least 3 – 4 hours, best for 8 – 24 hours.
    • Remove chicken from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. You can proceed with roasting the chicken in the oven, cooking it in the Instant Pot or smoking it in the smoker.

    TIPS & NOTES

    • Let the chicken sit in the brine in the fridge with a lid on or covered with plastic wrap or foil.
    • Do not reuse brine. Discard it once you remove the chicken.
    • Before cooking your chicken, let it come up to room temperature. This will help it to keep it nice and tender.
    • Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

    NUTRITION

    Calories: 609kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 4912mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg
    Course Main Course
    Cuisine American
    Keyword brined whole chicken, how to brine a chicken, how to make chicken brine
    Did you make this recipe?

    Use the tag #DeliciousMeetsHealthy when posting a picture of your recipe, and make sure to follow @deliciousmeetshealthy on Instagram!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Spring Salads

    5 Quick Tips To Simplify Dinner Time