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Overhead photo of roasted orange sage turkey brine

Orange Sage Turkey Brine

Orange Sage Turkey Brine is the easiest way to get juicy turkey this Thanksgiving. Sweet orange flavor with herbaceous sage will tenderize your bird overnight in a salty brine.
Course Marinade
Cuisine American
Keyword citrus and herb turkey, easy brining recipe for beginners, orange and sage, thanksgiving turkey, turkey brine
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Brining Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 20 minutes
Servings 1 brined turkey
Calories 6509kcal
Author Lauren


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 large sage leaves
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ gallon orange juice
  • 1 quart warm water
  • 6 quarts cold water
  • 3 large oranges
  • 12 to 18 pound turkey
  • brining bag or 5 gallon bucket


  • Toast the spices.  In a large saucepan, add the fennel seeds and mustard seeds, heat over medium heat about 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Add pepper flakes and peppercorns, bay leaves and sage and toast for 30 to 60 seconds.  (Sage will crackle).
  • Dissolve.  Add the salt and sugar to the pan, followed by the 1 quart of warm water.  Bring to high heat and stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the orange juice.
  • Prepare the brining vessel.  If using a 5 gallon bucket, clean it well before adding your turkey.  If using the brining bag, place the turkey in breast side down.  Add the brining liquid with the spices and herbs and the cold water.  Slice up 3 large oranges and add to the brining container.
  • Let rest.  Allow the turkey to brine overnight up to 24 hours.  Remove from the brine and pat dry.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before baking.


  • Pickling spice is a cost friendly substitution for buying individual spices (i.e. mustard seeds, fennel seeds, etc.) . If using pickling spice, use 1 tablespoon and omit the first 5 ingredients.
  • If using a brining bag place the bag wi9th the turkey inside a roasting pan before filling with liquid.  Otherwise, once the bag gets full it will be hard to keep it contained and close up by yourself.


Calories: 6509kcal | Carbohydrates: 256g | Protein: 848g | Fat: 222g | Saturated Fat: 57g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2783mg | Sodium: 117892mg | Potassium: 11536mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 226g | Vitamin A: 5266IU | Vitamin C: 683mg | Calcium: 1093mg | Iron: 38mg