Chicken Brine (For The Juiciest Roasted Chicken Ever)

brined and roasted chicken on a platter

If you’re tired of roasted chicken that’s dry, this chicken brine recipe is for you. I’m telling you, using this chicken brine will produce the most juicy and flavorful roasted chicken you’ve ever eaten.

In this blog I’ll cover not only the brine recipe, but also why brining a whole chicken is the most effective way to season a whole chicken.

This recipe is done in the oven, but you can also use the same brine recipe for cooking chicken on the grill or smoker.

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Why Should You Brine A Whole Chicken?

Earlier I mentioned that wet brining is the most effective way to season a whole chicken. The reason is pretty simple: it allows the salt and seasoning in the brine to penetrate into the chicken.

chicken sitting in brine

Seasoning the outside of a chicken does a fine job on the surface, but doesn’t get into the meat as deep as a wet brine; especially on a whole chicken. As chicken sits in the brine, the seasoning penetrates deep into the innermost part of the meat, seasoning it all the way through.

Not only will this result in a well seasoned chicken, it will also add moisture to the bird. Chicken breast is notoriously dry, because it’s so lean. After brining, it will literally be bursting with juice.

carved brined chicken on a tray

How Long Should You Brine Chicken?

Brining chicken for 12 hours to 24 hours is preferable, but the flavor and moisture difference is noticeable even after a few hours if you’re in a hurry.

With a four pound chicken, I don’t recommend going more than 24 hours. I’ve tried it, and find it gets too salty. A 14-16 pound turkey would be fine going 48 hours, but for a smaller chicken I recommend at least six hours, but no more than 24.

roasted chicken on a wire rack

Do You Dry A Chicken Before Cooking It?

When roasting a chicken, the goal is to cook the chicken through, while developing a crispy golden brown skin. If the surface of the skin is wet when it goes in the oven, browning becomes a challenge.

So, always pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and get as much moisture off the surface as possible. Then, lightly coat with olive oil to help create the beautiful crust we all love on roasted chicken.

Chicken Brine Ingredients

The main ingredients in this chicken brine are salt and sugar. In fact, if you want to use only salt and sugar, it will still result in a seasoned and juicy chicken.

After salt and sugar, the ingredients can change based on preference. I LOVE using Aleppo pepper. It’s somewhat fruity, with a slight tang, but not hot at all. I also love the color it adds to the chicken.

If you prefer more heat, try using two tablespoons of red pepper flakes. That sounds like a lot, but mixed in five quarts of water it’s not burn you down hot. More importantly, it will add a nice smokiness to the chicken.

How To Roast Incredibly Juicy Chicken

Serves: 2 | Active Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 40 mins

Ingredients
1 4 lb whole chicken
1 tbsp olive oil

Brine:
5 qts water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
8 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 ½  tbsp Aleppo pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika

Step 1: Bring one quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the remaining brine ingredients to the boiling water and whisk till the salt and sugar have melted. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Fill a large pot with four quarts of iced water. Add the brine to the ice water, stirring the brine till the ice melts. 

chicken brine being poured over ice

Step 3: Remove any giblets from inside the chicken, and submerge the chicken completely in the cold brine. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the chicken to brine for six hours, or overnight if possible.

Step 4: Preheat your oven to 425°F.  While the oven is preheating, remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels and remove the spine of the chicken to spatchcock it.

Step 5: Spray a wire cooking rack with a light coat of nonstick cooking spray, then place the rack in a large cast iron skillet or raised edge baking sheet. Place the spatchcocked chicken on the cooling rack.

spatchcock chicken in a cast iron pan

Step 6: Place the chicken in the preheated oven. Allow the chicken to roast for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Allow the chicken to continue roasting until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature in the thigh reaches 155°F is indicated with a reliable quick read thermometer. About 20-25 minutes.

chicken roasting in oven

Step 7: Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then carve the chicken and serve hot.

brined whole roasted chicken on a platter

Chicken Brine – For Juicy Roasted Chicken

5 from 4 votes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 4 lb whole chicken
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Brine

  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • tbsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Bring one quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the remaining brine ingredients to the boiling water and whisk till the salt and sugar have melted. Remove from the heat.
  • Fill a large pot with four quarts of iced water. Add the brine to the ice water, stirring the brine till the ice melts.
  • Remove any giblets from inside the chicken, and submerge the chicken completely in the cold brine. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the chicken to brine for six hours, or overnight if possible.
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F. While the oven is preheating, remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels and remove the spine of the chicken to spatchcock it.
  • Spray a wire cooking rack with a light coat of nonstick cooking spray, then place the rack in a large cast iron skillet or raised edge baking sheet. Place the spatchcocked chicken on the cooling rack.
  • Place the chicken in the preheated oven. Allow the chicken to roast for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Allow the chicken to continue roasting until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature in the thigh reaches 155°F is indicated with a reliable quick read thermometer. About 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then carve the chicken and serve hot.

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