Can You Over Brine a Turkey? (Complete Guide)

Brine a Turkey

Cooking a turkey is not just for the Thanksgiving dinner, but you can create a nice meal out of it at any given time. However, there are many ways to prepare the turkey.

And the most important part of the process is that you need to brine the turkey. So, if you want to create a nice meal with the perfect juicy meat, you need to brine the turkey before cooking.

Depending on the size of the turkey, that’s how long you should brine it, but never longer than 2 days. This way you’ll get meat which is very flavorful with many juices.

Also, you’ll create a turkey with extra flavors and moisture. But you may wonder if there is a way that you can over brine a turkey and what will happen?

Can you over brine a turkey? Sure you can.

That is why we have created steps that you need to follow in order to properly brine your turkey. Additionally, read below to follow the steps and also learn more on how long you need to brine the turkey based on the heaviness.

It is important not to over brine and keeps at least for 18 hours maximum.

How To Brine a Turkey?


There is always the possibility that you may over brine the turkey, so we have decided to create a few easy steps that will help you brine the turkey properly.

Just follow these steps to end up with a nice juicy, mouthwatering meat.

1. Prepare the mixture

The preparation starts off with some salt added to the water. You need to add this mix to the whole turkey.

Kosher salat is considered the proper choice here since it can dissolve easily. Use a 5 % ratio of salt to liquid in order to make it properly. 

2. Add extra flavors

When you prepare the salty water, there is no need to heat up the water. You can add extra flavors by using some herbs. Some people tend to use many herbs and seasoning to create even more flavourful meat.

You can also add white or brown sugar to add sweetness or some garlic, oregano, zest, and that kind of herbs. To be safe, never place hot or warm brine water over your turkey. Otherwise, you increase the chance of creating bacteria.

3. Place the turkey in an airtight bag

Make sure to use a bag that will fit the turkey. Squeeze the extra air from the bag and make sure that the liquid is fully covered with brine. 

4. Brine the turkey for 8-18 hours

This is a very important part of the whole process, how long are you going to brine the turkey. It is recommended based on the size but no more than two days.

The best recommended time is between 8 and 18 based on the weight of the turkey. Then, put the turkey in the fridge. 

5. Rinse the turkey

When you are done with the brine, you should rinse and dry the turkey. After enough hours have passed you need to rinse it very thoroughly and afterward dry it with a paper towel.

How Long Should the Turkey Brine Based on the Weight?


Note that how long should the turkey brine based on how much it weighs. So, every type requires a different amount of time.

Based on the time you can always avoid stuffing the turkey since it will have enough juices and smell out of the brine, but that depends on you.

Further, check the table below and find out more based on the weight how long it will take for the turkey to brine enough but never over that time.

10-pound turkey  Refrigerate and brine for 12 to 14 hours
12-pound turkey Refrigerate and brine for 8 to 12 hours
16-pound turkey  Refrigerate and brine for 8 to 18 hours

Based on our table a 10-pound turkey will require about 12 to 14 hours to brine in the fridge. If it is 12 pounds you’ll need 8 to 18 hours or more. Lastly, a 16-pound turkey will require almost 18 hours of brine.

After each process of brine, you need to rinse and dry it out. Then you are good to bake it accordingly.

The turkey will be juicy and mouth-watering, so even if you don’t put stuffing to bake, you won’t notice a big difference. Add extra herbs if you want. And if not, just make it as it is.

You always have the chance to over brine a turkey but not if you follow these safety tips.

Related Questions

Why do you brine a turkey?

To brine a turkey means to add moisture as the turkey will absorb most of it. The juices and saltiness that you’ll deliver will help you with your meal. The turkey will be both salty and tender enough for eating. 

How long to brine the turkey before smoking?

On average at least 8 hours and max up to 18 hours. After that, the turkey is good for smoking. You’ll have nice salty meat with a soft texture. 

Is it OK to brine a turkey for 3 days?

It depends on the size of the turkey. However, do not brine for more than two days. Also, keep in mind that the turkey needs to be brine refrigerated. 

Are 24 hours too long to brine a turkey?

24 hours is more than enough for the turkey brine. Everything that lasts longer than that can cause over brine and you won’t have good turkey meat to cook. 

Can you mess up a turkey brine?

You have to make sure that the brine is properly made and you can skip the stuffing in this case. The salt will lead to the stuffing and ruin it. 

What happens if you brine a turkey twice?

That means that you’ll over brine the turkey. The meat will become very salty and it won’t be much good for cooking and eating.

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