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Top view of sage leaves in a buttermilk brine with raw turkey.

Buttermilk Turkey Brine

Brine your next turkey with this easy recipe for Buttermilk Turkey Brine. It only takes 5 minutes to make and needs at least 12 hours to rest refrigerated. Brining your turkey will result in a tender and flavorful meat.
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 107kcal
Author Katie


  • Stock Pot


  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorn
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves smashed
  • 10 cups warm water
  • 1 quart buttermilk


  • Place kosher salt, whole peppercorns, fresh sage leaves and garlic cloves in a large stock pot (large enough to cover your turkey breast with a lid on). Then pour in warm water. Whisk water until salt has dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  • Pour the buttermilk into the pot. Whisk again then place the turkey inside the pot. Turn the turkey breast so that only a small piece is exposed. Place lid on pot and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and no more than 24 hours.
  • After turkey breast has sat in brine for at least 12 hours. Rinse turkey breast off thoroughly and pat dry before baking.


  • Brine quantity - This brine recipe is made for a 5-7 pound turkey breast. Double or triple if needed.
  • Plan ahead - Make sure you plan at least 12 hours in advance if not the night before your big feast. This is when I'll start the brining process on my turkey breast. Making sure you have ample time for soaking turkey in brine is key!
  • Herbs for a turkey brine - There are so many different herb and spice blends you can use for a turkey brine. I like to use fresh sage, thyme, and even rosemary but not all together. I select one star fresh herb and stick with that flavor profile. I personally love to use my sage turkey brine recipe the best. Or you can check out my Buttermilk Thyme & Garlic Turkey Brine.
  • Containers for Brining -
    • Brining Bag - Let me tell you that brining a turkey can be a little tricky in a brining bag. If you choose to brine in a brining bag, I highly suggest you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen to help. When I have used a bag it's been a life saver.
    • Large Stock Pot - I own a very large 10 quart stock pot so I almost always use a large stock pot for my turkey brining. This makes it easier and I don't need to rely on a second set of hands to help me.
    • Cooler - If your turkey is really large and you forgot to buy a brining bag or don't have a large stock pot the next best thing to use is a cooler. My recipe can easily be converted so that you can brine a turkey in a cooler. This recipe is made for a 5-7 pound turkey breast. You can double or triple if needed.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 3674mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 1mg