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Whole chicken in brine solution

Chicken Brine Recipe

This quick and easy chicken brine is made with onions, fresh herbs, carrots, and celery. These classic flavors are well suited for baked and smoked whole chickens or chicken pieces.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ, American Food
Keyword: chicken brine, chicken brine recipe, poultry brine
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 2 quarts
Calories: 180kcal


  • 2 quarts cold tap water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 medium yellow onion halved
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cinnamon sticks optional


  • In a medium stockpot, simmer for 1 minute over medium heat, 2 cups of water with sugar and kosher salt.
  • Once they have dissolved, remove the stockpot from the heat.
  • Add remaining brine ingredients to the pot, stir through, and add the remaining cold water.
  • Let the chicken brine cool for 40 minutes. Then place the stockpot into the refrigerator for 75-90 minutes.
  • Once it is sufficiently cold, submerge the whole raw chicken into the brine liquid. Cover the pot and place it back into the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
  • Once brined, remove the chicken from the solution, blot it dry with paper towels, and let it air dry in your refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Season with low salt or no salt rub, and cook as directed.
  • Brine boneless chicken breasts for 2-3 hours
  • Brine bone-in pieces like legs and thighs for 4 hours.


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 18920mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 10304IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg