Holiday Honey Brined Turkey Recipe

A few years ago, my girlfriend raved about the Honey Brined Turkey Recipe she used for Thanksgiving. I jotted down the details and roasted this mahogany bird for the holidays!  Honey Brined Turkey Recipe | The perfect way to get succulent meat from your holiday turkey

Holiday Honey Brined Turkey Recipe

I have been brining my Thanksgiving turkey for about the last five years. It virtually guarantees moist and tender white meat. And when my dear friend, Mary Ann, recommended this simple turkey brine, I knew I’d give it a shot.  The soy and molasses provided the beautiful, dark sheen, and this perfect combination of sweet and salty gave the meat a delectable flavor.

If you’re not up for dealing with wet brining, check out my Dry Brined Turkey recipe. It’s also fabulous with less mess!

 Honey Brined Turkey Recipe | The perfect way to get succulent meat from your holiday turkey

Why Brine?

Soaking or “brining” any meat allows the salt from the brine to infuse into and plump up the meat. Remember high school chemistry? The process of osmosis allows the saltier brine solution to cross over and enter the less salty turkey cells until both sides are balanced. A bonus of brining your own turkey is that no chemicals are involved, just wholesome ingredients!

A bit of sugar (in this case, honey and molasses) helps balance the flavor. I started this bird in a 425º oven and decreased it immediately to 350º. With a combination of butter and white wine, I basted now and again, then covered the turkey with foil once the skin developed its gorgeous, brown lacquer. This honey brined turkey was a real winner, and perfect for any holiday!!!   Honey Brined Turkey Recipe | The perfect way to get succulent meat from your holiday turkey

Tips for Brining Your Turkey:

The first time I made this brine, I was nearly out of mild molasses so supplemented with blackstrap molasses, which is darker and much stronger in taste and smell. I was worried that it might impart an intense flavor into the turkey meat, but it was wonderful as usual. The turkey skin took on a lot of the color from the brine, but the meat was moist and succulent despite the bronzed exterior.

  • My brining bag sprung a leak when re-testing this recipe. Make sure you use the largest brining bag available and I’d recommend double bagging.
  • Mix in the salt first while the water is still at its hottest to help it dissolve. Then add the rest of the ingredients. You can also add aromatics and herbs if you’d like.
  • Let the brine cool a bit before adding to the brining bag.
  • Brine about 12 hours or overnight. Brining longer may result in darker meat and skin, which will taste just fine.
  • I will brine my bird in the refrigerator if I have room, but on Thanksgiving, that real estate is precious and I use a large cooler filled with ice.
  • Truss your turkey to help is roast more evenly.
  • Cover your turkey with heavy-duty foil as soon as it is golden brown.
  • If you stuff your turkey, don’t forget to check the temperature of the stuffing before pulling your bird out of the oven.

Used in This Recipe

More Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love:

Honey Brined Turkey

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 mins



  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 6 quarts hot water
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • 5 pounds of ice


  1. Pour hot water into extra large brining bag, then add salt. Agitate bag to help dissolve salt. Add molasses, soy, and honey and mix to combine. Add turkey with giblets removed. Set in cooler filled with at least 5 pounds of ice. Allow to brine 12 hours or over night.
  2. Make sure to drain turkey well and pat dry before roasting as desired.



Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from my friend, Mary Ann.

Roasting time varies depending on the size of your turkey.

Due to the molasses, the turkey meat may be darker than normal. It will still taste wonderful.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 2143kcal Calories from fat 16
% Daily Value
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 20643mg 860%
Carbohydrate 544g 181%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 531g
Protein 22g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
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Honey Brined Turkey Recipe | The perfect way to get succulent meat from your holiday turkey

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  1. Thank you for this refreshing idea dear Liz !

  2. Your turkey looks amazing! I also see praline sweet potatoes in the ‘you might also likes’… Yes, I’m pretty sure I might also like them too:@)

  3. Can I leave this in fridge overnight? I noticed there’s stuffing in the bird..anything special you used there?

    • Yes, you can brine it overnight, Angie. I make the same stuffing I’ve made for years—dry bread cubes, sauteed celery and onions (in a good amount of butter), sage, oregano, poultry seasoning,salt and pepper, then moistened with turkey stock. I stuff right before roasting—watch the salt in your stuffing as the turkey juices are saltier than normal and can make the stuffing salty. Hope you give it a try!

  4. I’ve heard a lot about brining turkeys and chicken but I’ve never tried it! This looks so good.

  5. This is one gorgeous bird Liz! I wish you were making my turkey this year 🙂

  6. That turkey is posing so sexily!! It’s making me not able to wait for the glorious day that is… THANKSGIVING!!!

  7. I’m a firm believer in brining a turkey so that it is moist. Your brine certainly does give the skin a beautiful sheen and I’m sure it is a good as it looks.

  8. I have wanted to try brining for ages and your recipe sound wonderful. I’m not doing the turkey this year (we’re celebrating US thanksgiving this year!) but I will give this a go on chicken. I’ll report back on how it worked out. BTW, I would put the brining meat onto a roasting pan, in case it leaks!

  9. I always put a bit of sugar in when I make a brine for any meat, but I’ve never thought about honey! sounds really yummy… I love your tip about brining the turkey in a cooler to save room too! I can’t the believe the holidays are almost here, Liz! 🙂

  10. This is one of the most beautiful turkeys I’ve every seen Liz! That color is gorgeous and I love the idea of using honey and molasses in the brine.

  11. That is one absolutely gorgeous turkey! I can smell it! Now I’d love to taste it.

  12. This sounds like a winner Liz, thank you!

  13. Sounds lovely Liz. We always smoke a turkey outside and I think this brie would be perfect for that too!

  14. So pretty, Liz! I think I’m inviting myself to your Thanksgiving. 🙂


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