Chicken Brine

12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Brine 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours

Chicken Brine is the perfect way to add moisture and flavor to your roast chicken. Made with garlic, sage, peppercorns, apples, and onions.

This Chicken Brine recipe is the easiest way to make crazy-juicy Roast Chicken perfect for a special occasion or Weeknight Meals. As long as you start brining the meat at least 4 hours in advance, it will be absolutely packed with moisture and flavor!

Chicken Brine roasted chicken pieces sliced

Basic Chicken Brine is a classic way to make moist chicken with tons of flavor. Say goodbye to dry chicken and tasteless chicken breasts! With a few ingredients, you can make a basic brine recipe to make the perfect chicken for your weeknight meal every time!

All you have to do is prep the wet brine with water, salt, and seasonings in a standard stock pot. Then place the whole chicken in the stockpot to soak up the liquid for several hours before putting it in the oven. The brining process makes the juiciest chicken, and it retains that moisture during cooking. It’s still perfectly tender when you put the dish on your table for dinner.

Ingredients for Chicken Brine with whole chicken and stock pot

The key ingredient to any brine solution is salt. While the food is soaking it absorbs the moisture and flavor from the liquid, but the salt is also essential to making the juicy tender chicken. The salt works to break down tough proteins so that you get the most tender, juiciest chicken ever.

This simple brine is a great way to prep a whole roast chicken like in this recipe. However, you can also use the brine to add some extra moisture and flavor to other chicken recipes, like Crispy Butter Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken Thighs. Just soak the chicken in chicken brine for a few hours before beginning the regular recipe.

Chicken Brine in stockpot with whole chicken

Chicken Recipes That You Can Brine

How to Brine Chicken

  • Simple chicken brine: Add cold water, kosher salt, sugar, fresh garlic, sage, basil, black peppercorns, and bay leaves to a large stock pot. Set the stovetop to high heat and bring the brine ingredients to a boil. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve into the other brine ingredients. Then turn off the heat and let the salt-water solution cool to room temperature.
  • Brining: Place the raw chicken in brine, so that the meat is covered in the wet brine. Cover the pot and place the chicken inside the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but up to 8 hours for the juiciest roast chicken.
  • Cooking process: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it under cold water in your sink. (Make sure you sanitize your sink before using it again.) Dry any extra moisture off of the meat with a paper towel. Then stuff the chicken cavity with apple and onion. Place the chicken on a baking tray, and put it in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue roasting the chicken for 40-45 minutes. Check the chicken after roasting for 40 minutes to see if it’s done. Use a meat thermometer in the middle of the thigh. If the internal temperature is 165 degrees then the chicken recipe is done, but if it’s lower, put the chicken back in until it reaches 165 degrees.

Chicken Brine chicken prepped for roasting

Variations on Chicken Brine

  • Seasonings: You can add different spices and herbs to brine ingredients for this flavorful chicken recipe. Try adding in paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, rosemary, oregano, sage, fresh cilantro, or cayenne pepper.
  • Brown sugar brine: For a warm brine with darker sweet flavors, you can use brown sugar to replace the granulated sugar in the recipe.
  • Type of meat: This brine makes the juiciest roast chicken ever, but you can use the same simple brine recipe for different cuts of meat if you don’t want to make a whole chicken. Try soaking skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or chicken wings. After brining, keep in mind that different cuts of meat cook at different speeds. For example, baked chicken breasts are usually ready in about 30 minutes. Keep the cooking times in mind, and watch until the meat is golden brown, then check it with an internal meat thermometer before serving.
  • Chicken broth: For an even more flavorful brine, you can use chicken broth to replace the salt-water solution in the basic chicken brine recipe. Just add the salt, sugar, and poultry seasoning to chicken broth instead of water. The liquid will soak the chicken same as the water does to make a flavorful and  juicy chicken dish.

What to Serve with Brined Chicken Dinner

Chicken Brine roasted chicken with potatoes

How to Store Chicken Brine

  • Serve: If you have any leftover chicken, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Slice the leftover chicken into small enough chicken pieces to fit in a plastic food storage container. The juicy tender chicken will stay good for 3-4 days. You can also make the brine ahead of time and store it before brining the chicken. Put the simple brine in glass jars or a plastic food storage container to keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze: You could also freeze the roasted chicken for up to 3 months after brining and cooking. Just be sure to let it cool to room temperature before carefully sealing it.

Chicken Brine roasted chicken pieces sliced

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Chicken Brine

Chicken Brine is the perfect way to add moisture and flavor to your roast chicken. Made with garlic, sage, peppercorn, apples, and onions.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 5 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 cloves garlic , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 5-6 pound chicken
  • 1 green apple , cored and quartered
  • 1 onion , quartered


To Brine:

  • In a very large stockpot add the water, kosher salt (do not use table salt), sugar, garlic, sage, basil, black peppercorns and bay leaves and bring to a boil on high heat.
  • Stir well until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  • Turn off heat and let cool naturally until water is at room temperature.
  • Add chicken to the pot and cover.
  • Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, up to 8 hours.

To Cook:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove chicken from brine and rinse under a very slow stream of water (sanitize your sink after rinsing).
  • Dry the chicken with paper towels inside and out and stuff the chicken cavity with apple and onion.
  • Place into baking pan and cook for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 degrees and cook for 40-45 minutes or until the middle of the thigh reads 165 degrees on a probe thermometer.


Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 3229mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

Chicken Brine collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. It’s a really good recipe, the only thing I would adjust for next time is to add two more cups of water on the brine because otherwise it doesn’t cover the whole chicken, unless you let it marinate for 6 hours and then you turn it the other side; another thing is to rub olive oil on the chicken before you put it in the oven and the chicken has to cook at least for 1 hr to 1hr and 20 minutes if you don’t have a thermometer to ensure is fully cooked.

  2. Can I leave the chicken in the Brine for longer then 8hrs we also use cut up fresh chickens a lot and make things like chicken and rice , shake and bake chicken , etc. Is this brine good fore that also . thanks

  3. This sounds delicious! but I have two questions I hope you might help me with.

    Since my household consists of just my husband and I and we are elderly, we rarely ever purchase a whole chicken. How would this recipe work by making less brine and soaking cuts of chicken (breasts or thighs) instead of a whole chicken, and then cutting back on baking time.

    Also, after soaking the cuts of chicken and rinsing and each piece, what about grilling them instead of baking them in the oven? I’m just wondering if the results would still ensure juicier and more tender chicken. Thank you for your time.
    Thank you

      1. Thank you for your response. I am excited to try this and will return to rate and comment once we do. 🙂