Brined Turkey Breast

For Thanksgiving (yes, I know I’m a little late here) I made my first turkey. Well, turkey breast. There were only three of us eating it, so a whole turkey seemed both silly and scary. Normally K and I go home to Maryland for Thanksgiving. This year, with the baby, going for Christmas seemed stressful enough. (And future Aly, you’re already there, so hopefully you’re not freaking out…yet…?) We talked about having a big dinner, but that also seemed stressful. Then, we realized that Melissa and her husband (with their toddler) also were not going home for Thanksgiving, and it would be fun to get together and combine forces. So, I teamed up with Melissa to have a Thanksgiving feast. We each contributed some food, and then ate with our husbands. (And you might wonder about the math, but her husband is vegetarian, so he did not eat the turkey!) It was nice to be able to have all of the normal dishes, but only have to make some of them!


Anyway, I want to document what I did for the turkey since it was my first ever, and I am told that it was good.

Directions for Brined Turkey Breast


  • Cold water
  • 6 pounds (or so) turkey breast, fresh
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • A few twigs of fresh rosemary
  • A few twigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

Place the turkey in a large pot. Pour enough cold water on top to cover it. Dump in everything else, and give a bit of a stir. Store in the refrigerator overnight.


When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the pot and pat it dry.

Cooking the Turkey

  • 1 stick butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, room temperature
  • Fresh thyme, pulled off of the twigs
  • Fresh thyme twigs
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • Oil
  • Vegetables for roasting
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the thyme, butter, salt, and pepper.


Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the butter mixture under the skin of the turkey, and over the outside. Stir together the lemon juice, wine, and garlic. Pour over the top of the turkey. Rub the outside of the turkey with a little oil. Place the twigs of thyme on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees.


Add vegetables to the pan. Feel free to season them as you wish. Then, add 1 cup chicken broth, pouring over the turkey, and some more water. Bake for about 2 hours until the turkey is cooked through. While the turkey cooks, every 20-30 minutes, take a spoon and get some liquid from the pan and spoon it over the turkey.


Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.



Adapted from The Faux Martha

  • 2 cups pan liquid, separate the fat
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper

Stir together the flour and wine until smooth. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pan liquid, wine and flour mixture, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes or until thick enough for you.



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