Can You Brine Frozen Chicken? [How To Make It Extra Flavorful]

Full question

I’m going to try the Spiced And Superjuicy Roast Turkey recipe this year but in a effort to keep costs down, would it be ok to use a thawed frozen turkey instead of a free range one?


Whats The Easiest And Cleanest Way To Brine A Turkey?

Honestly, I find brining a turkey to be a life-saver several days before Thanksgiving or Christmas. After all, refrigerator space is limited, so I want to move the turkey out for other items.

Therefore I always brine the turkey in a cooler. I wash the cooler. Mix the brine in it. Then submerge the turkey in the brine and cover it with ice. It can stay in the cooler for several days, leaving more room in the fridge for pies and side dishes.

You can even dry the turkey in the cooler, resting on ice.

When I’m done with the cooler, I simply dump the brine in the garden, spray the cooler with a disinfectant kitchen cleaner, and spray the cooler out with the hose. Simple.

How Do You Brine Already Thawed Chicken?

Brining already thawed chicken is easy and quick. You can do it in as short amount a time as fifteen minutes or let it take as long as six hours. 

Just put the saltwater solution into a bowl and then add the chicken. Now is also the time to add anything else you would like to the brine. This includes herbs and spices or even sugar. 

You can let it sit just like that for as little as fifteen minutes before you grill it. You can also prepare the solution earlier in the day and add the chicken. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator. Chicken breast can sit up to six hours, and chicken wings can sit up to two days.

However, if you are brining an entire chicken, it will need more than six hours to brine. A whole chicken will need to sit in the brine for a minimum of twelve hours and a maximum of two days.

When you are ready to cook it, you do have one more step to do. Remove your chicken from the salt water solution and rinse it off with cold water. This will remove any excess salt that didn’t get soaked into the chicken. Pat it dry after rinsing with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture.

Can You Cook a Frozen Turkey

Believe it or not, you certainly can cook a frozen turkey. The only difference is that it will take a lot longer to cook than normal, 50 percent more time. For example, a 10 lb turkey will take about 5 1/4 hours to cook. Best way to check if it’s cooked is still to use a meat thermometer.

The turkey cooks as it thaws, with the legs and wings cooking faster. If cooking a frozen turkey, you won’t be able to do any fancy rubs or brines.

Can you brine a frozen turkey?

Yes, you can brine a frozen turkey. Keep in mind that you want to allow enough time for the turkey to fully thaw.

A good rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 20 pound bird can take up to four days to thaw!

With that being said, we recommend that if you want to brine a frozen bird, it should be at least semi-thawed unless it is a smaller bird so that you do not over-brine the meat.

Should I Brine My Thanksgiving Turkey?

In short, YES you should always brine your turkey. It makes a huge difference in taste and texture.

I have heard many arguments over the years that brining isn’t worth the time and effort. Or that it doesn’t really enhance the flavor of the bird. But after roasting well over 50 turkeys in my lifetime, I can firmly state, brining makes all the difference.

In fact, every time I try a different method of preparing my turkey, I’m always disappointed. Always.

In my opinion, a simple brined turkey, without any extra seasoning, stuffing, or glamor is always the ultimate winner at any holiday gathering.

How long to brine a turkey:

How long should you brine a turkey? With this recipe, we recommend 12-24 hours. You want to give the brine enough time to unravel all those protein chains and really tenderize and moisturize your turkey. 

Can you over brine a turkey?

Yes, you can over brine a turkey! If you leave the turkey in the salt bath beyond the recommended time, your bird may end up too salty and the texture may be adversely affected. 


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How To Brine A Frozen Chicken?

Brining a frozen chicken takes some preplanning. Put your chicken in a large pot or bowl and cover it with your brining solution and a lid. Place the chicken in the refrigerator to thaw and brine at the same time. Depending on the size of your chicken, it could take 8 to 12 hours or more to thaw completely. 

Once the chicken is thawed, pour out the brine and rinse the chicken. This removes any excess salt on the surface. Then pat the chicken dry and cook it as you planned. Your chicken will be tender, juicy, and flavorful. 

Cooking Times for Roasting a Turkey

Turkey WeightServesRoasting Time
10-18 lbsLess than 10 people3 – 3 1/2 hours
18-22 lbs10-15 people3 1/2 to 4 hours
22-24 lbs16-20 people4 4 1/2 hours
24-29 lbsmore than 20 people4 1/2 – 5 hours

Things You’ll Need

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large pot
  • Spoon
  • 5 US gal (19 l) food-safe cooler or bucket with lid
  • Roasting pan
  • Paper towels
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Oven mitts
  • Aluminum foil

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  • Avoid brining the turkey for more than 24 hours or the meat will toughen.

    Thanks! Helpful 1 Not Helpful

  • Do not use a self-basting or Kosher turkey because they already have salt added.

    Thanks! Helpful 1 Not Helpful

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