Recipe: Basic Brined Chicken

Brine chicken, salt, Kosher salt, salt and soak

While pastured chickens are incredibly healthy birds, sometimes they can be a little tough due to all that running around outside. To rectify this, I brine the chicken overnight before roasting. It does add a step to the cooking process, but it really tenderizes the meat and keeps it very moist. A simple brine is just salt water. Some recipes add sugar to the brine, but that is not something I would do. By soaking the meat in a salt solution, it allows the cell membranes to open up and the salt can enter the cell, followed by the water. This plumps up the proteins and allows it to retain moisture while cooking.

Use coarse Kosher salt measured at one cup of salt per gallon of water. Use a non reactive container, like a stock pot and be sure it will fit into your refrigerator. The chicken will be much juicier and more flavorful than an unbrined bird. You may also add other flavors to the brine, such as herbs, slices of lemon, peppercorns, or allspice berries. Add whatever flavors you like. Brining is also appropriate for chicken parts and, of course turkeys. The larger the bird, the longer the brining time. However, ten hours is the upper limit for any brine, as too long will cause the meat to get too salty and/or mushy.

Brined Chicken


3-4 pound chicken

1 cup Kosher salt (make sure there are no additives to the salt)

Stock 3/4 full of water

Other seasonings of your choice (optional)


  • Dissolve the salt in a small amount of warm water in a separate pot
  • Add it to the large pot of water and stir until combined
  • Be sure the water in the pot is cool before you submerge the chicken
  • Place chicken in the pot and put a plate on top to keep the chicken under the water
  • Cover the pot with the lid
  • Put the pot into the refrigerator and let soak for 4 – 10 hours
  • After brining, remove chicken from pot and rinse
  • Let the chicken air dry for 30 minutes before roasting  or wrap and keep refrigerated until you are ready to cook

This  post is linked to: Sugar Free Sunday, Real Sustenance, Seasonal Saturday, Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac, Make Ahead Meals, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Tasty Tuesday, Weekend Gourmet, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s on the Menu, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food Weekly, Tip Day Carnival, Frugal Follies, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Food Trip Friday, Friday Potluck, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fight Back Friday


  • Tina

    Timely, I’m roasting a chicken for Easter. Have brined turkeys but never thought to brine a chicken. Thanks for the idea!

  • Jill

    Hi Tina,
    Thanks so much for your comments. Please let me know what you think!

  • thepsychobabble

    A good point! Most people wouldn’t think of it:)

  • Bess

    This is perfect timing! I am going to cook my first whole chicken today.
    Now, I am off to the kitchen to brine my bird.

  • Jill

    Hi Bess,
    Good luck!

  • Bess

    Quick question: Do I roast the organs, as well, or should I use them in another dish?

  • Jill

    Hi Bess,
    Sure, you can roast the organs with the chicken. (if you mean should you brine the organs…. I have not done that but I do put the feet in the brine). If I make chicken soup or stock, I put the organs in that, except the liver — I find I do not like it in the soup. As long as it is from a pastured bird, the organs are great to roast with the chicken or use elsewhere. Hope this helps!

  • Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

    Sounds Easy! Thanks.

    Come check out my recipe? I’ll be back to follow your blog.

    Have a great day. Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

  • Kankana

    Very nice post . Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul Hop. Please visit next week too to share your recipe :)

  • christy larsen

    great tip on brining the chicken. i have only brined a turkey, and once i used brine on extra thick pork chops. i just love how juicy brined meat comes out. thank you for sharing this great way of preparing chicken with tuesday night supper club!

  • Jill

    Hi Traci,
    Thanks so much!

  • Jill

    Hi Kankana,
    Thanks so much!

  • Jill

    Hi Christy,
    It really does come out so juicy!

  • Linda

    I’ve never brined a chicken or turkey, but have heard great things about it. I really need to give it a try some time.

  • Jill

    Hi Linda,
    I think you will find it tasty!

  • Miz Helen

    Hi Jill,
    There is a big difference in the way a bird taste when it have been brined. It is usually more moist and has a great flavor. Your method and recipe looks very good. I will sure have to give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope you have a special week end. Hope to see you next week!

  • Jill

    Hi Miz Helen,
    I hope you do try it!

  • Sassy Chef Recipes

    I always do this with my cut chicken, but I’ll have to try this yet with a whole one!

    Please check my FTF entry for this week: Hap Chan
    Much ♥,
    Sassy Chef Recipes and Reviews

  • Michele@FitFoodista

    This is great – I like the idea of avoiding the additional sugar.

    Thanks for linking to the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  • Jill

    Hi Sassy Chef,
    Thanks for the comments! I’ll check out your entry!

  • Jill

    Hi Michele,
    There is truly no reason to add sugar to this brine.

  • Tina

    Jill, I had to tell you how wonderful my roast chicken came out using your brining method. It was so tender. I combined your method of brining with slow roasting (Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen) and it came out just falling off the bone and had a “melt in your mouth” feel. I only had time for a 4 hour brining, but still worked wonders. Thank you so much, I never would have thought of brining a chicken!

  • Jill

    Hi Tina,
    Thanks so much for the feedback! Can you send me the link to Jenny’s recipe — or would I be able to search her site for it? What is it called? I will try that next time.