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+ servings

Healthy Chicken Brine for Juicy Flavorful Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 cups of brine
I call this my healthy chicken brine because I omit the sugar or sweetener component to the brine and I think it is just as delicious without it. By all means the recipe can also be made with it just add the same amount of sugar as you do salt.


  • 1 cup Water (boiling)
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed (about 1-2 Lemons)
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Whole Peppercorns, You can leave these out if you don't want to go digging for peppercorns before cooking.
  • 2 whole Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder, or 2 whole smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Dried Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 cups Water (cold)


  • Start with 1 cup boiling water and add you salt stir until you see it starting to dissolve.
  • The add all the other ingredients, finishing with the cold water. Be sure that the mixture is cold at this point. If it isn't, set it in the fridge for a bit. You just don't want to add hot or warm brine to chicken that you will then put in the fridge again. It all has to be cool.
  • Once your brine has cooled add it to your chicken in a glass dish. Cover and set the glass dish in your fridge until ready to cook.
  • Timing: I like to brine bone-in chicken from 24 to 48 hours. Boneless chicken 4-12 hours, (especially if it is a thin breast or tenders). Basically, the thinner your cut the less brining time.
  • Once you are ready to cook remove chicken from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, and be sure to remove all peppercorns (they're not so fun to bite down on).
  • Cook the chicken according to the recipe instructions. Note: Do not season the chicken with additional salt as the brine already seasoned the chicken for you through and through.
  • For my favorite way to cook up Chicken thighs check out my recipe on those...link in notes.


I make this for about 12 bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs. If you're cooking less or have a smaller bowl for brining just reduce the ingredients. With a brine what is most important is that you reduce the spices by the same amount as you do the water...otherwise your brine will be over-seasoned and salty which leads to over seasoned Chicken = No good!
  • Curry: Add 2 tablespoons Madras Curry Powder
  • Smoky Paprika: Add 1 tablespoon Paprika Powder & 1 tablespoon Cumin Powder