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Apr 20, 2011 05:22 PM

brine for one chicken breast

what would be the approximate amounts of water and salt to brine one half chicken breast?
how long should it be in the brine?
I usually marinade in teryaki sauce with brown sugar and thought I'd like to try something new.

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  1. For a basic brine, mix one quart of water with 1/4 cup of kosher salt. Let the chicken breast soak in the brine for 1-2 hours for a bone-in, skin-on breast. 30 minutes to an hour for boneless, skinless. Maybe someone else can confirm. I usually look it up in one of my cookbooks to double-check because I can never remember and don't want to end up with overly salty food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alliebear

      alliebear, thanks for your response...I tried to find find my answer, but all the recipes were for larger quantities of meat/chicken.

      1. re: alliebear

        Try 1 cup of hot water.Add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar,20 peppercorns, 1 tbsp red chilli flakes and 2 bay leaves and the 1/4 cup of salt.Whisk until salt and sugar dissolve.Pour over chicken.Stir in 3 cups cold water,2 garlic cloves(crushed),1small onion sliced and 1 lemon sliced.Put in fridge for 2 hrs. turning once.

      2. Hi you two,

        I've been using a brine of 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar in 2 cups of water for a half boneless/skinless breast, also a 4-5 ounce pork sirloin cut, leaving the meat in the brine for only 30-45 minutes depending on size.

        Takes maybe a minute to mix it up. I poke the meat all over with a fork after it is in the brine.

        The results have been very good. The chicken turned out juicy and tender instead of tough and stringy. The pork the same. Sirloin is not as tender as loin. My guess is for loin it would take less time, maybe 20 minutes.


        3 Replies
        1. re: I used to know how to cook...

          Interesting. I'm not a fan of chicken breasts but my family likes them a whole lot. I never brine breasts and they never come out tough and stringy. I just try to never over cook them. I did brine BSCB once before tossing them on my smoker but found them more salty than I cared for.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Hi scubadoo97,

            The breasts I had trouble with were the boneless-skinless kind that are vacuum packed in plastic. (I had bought some to grind and didn't use all of them...)

            I don't have problems with the bone and skin on kind. That's what I generally buy.

            Not wanting the breast to be salty is why I used just a teaspoon of salt and the same of sugar with two cups of water. Worked for me!

            Anyway, whatever works, right?? : )


            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

              Yeah I'm going to have to try it with the salt cut back but there is a point where you need a certain amount for the movement of water out and then back in to occur.

        2. The ratio from "alliebear" works for any quantity of meat. You just need to stick to the timing.
          The strength of the brine does not change for the size of the meat only the time. You may only need half the quantity for one breast but the salt to water ratio will still be the same for a 2 hour soak.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chefj

            Hi Chefj,

            Gosh, that seems like a lot of salt. I guess kosher salt doesn't 'measure' the same as regular salt but that would be, what, four tablespoons to a quart of water?

            Not that I'm an expert in any way. Just seems like a lot...


            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

              Kosher salt is double the volume of table salt.
              The basic ratio I have always used is 1qt. of water and .5 C of D.C.Kosher salt. If desired .5 C of sugar for roasting or 2T for grilling or saute.

                1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                  Oh I forgot to mention that a weaker ratio (to a point) works but you need to increase the brine time.

          2. Speaking only in generalities, the ratio of Kosher salt to table salt runs about 3 to 2, with a given amount of table salt weighing about 1.5 times as much as a the same amount of Kosher salt. But Kosher salt doesn't dissolve as readily as table salt and the actual ratio between the two will vary depending on the size of the granules produced in the manufacture of brand of salt selected.
            I don't use Kosher salt a brine because I find it to be quite difficult to dissolve in cold water; the choice is yours.
            Using alliebear's formula, I'd try 1/8 cup of table salt to replace the Kosher and see how that worked and work on a trial and error basis from that point on. It is, after all, only one chicken breast.

            1. I've always boiled my brine first to make sure everything is nice and dissolved, but I guess if you're only cooking one chicken breast, it would be a lot of work for a little pay off. I usually add garlic powder and other things though.

              On a side note (speaking of brine), I used this one this past Thanksgiving and it was FANTASTIC... just in case you were looking for something a little different...
              I tested it out on chicken a couple of days before and it turned out great.

              2 Replies
              1. re: thechefenamateur

                Hi, thechefenamateur:

                Now that's a fancy brine. But if you're going whole-hog, why not also add a little citric acid and some glutamates (soy, tomato paste, anchovy, etc.)? 1:10 with the kosher always works well for me.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  That would be awesome! Now that summer is coming back into swing and the grill is getting fired back up, I'm going to play around with some things and see what I can figure out. Thanks for the tip!