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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.

    1 Reply
    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.

    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!

            2. You could try 6-7 tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Brine for about an hour.

              Another nice combo is soy sauce and some pineapple juice and brown sugar. The pineapple adds flavor and helps tenderize.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Hank Hanover

                so many great ideas - I am too lazy/tired to go down to the fridge to check out how big the turkey breast that I have defrosted in the fridge is...... but....Hank Hanover --- are you recommending the soy sauce brown sugar mixture NOT utilizing the water? And the soysauce pineapple juice and brown sugar also sounds great! It gave me inspiration to perhaps use this, with very little brown sugar and adding coffee as a marinade for a steak! What do you think?

                1. re: smilingal

                  Brining with soy sauce can be done without the water if you aren't going to brine very long like less than an hour. That is how I brine Pork Tenderloins. A teaspoon of Soy sauce has 1/6 the sodium that a teaspoon of Kosher salt has so it would take a lot of soy sauce if you diluted it in water.

                  As far as doing it to a steak, Beef can be cooked to a lower temperature than pork and chicken so isn't generally considered a good candidate for brining. The purpose for brining is to get more moisture into the meat via the osmosis process. The purpose of a marinade is to flavor and to a small degree to tenderize. I will admit that the soy sauce and pineapple juice blurs the line between the two.

                  Quite frankly, the soy sauce mixture would do both even on beef if you did not add oil( the oil would mess up the osmosis process, I believe). The pineapple juice would provide the acid that a marinade would use to tenderize (break down cells).

                  You could do that with a steak but you very well might be breaking fairly new ground. You would have to be careful and document marinating a steak. If you go to long, you might get a limp piece of meat.

                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    I've used soy sauce in the past along with heavy spice rub to marinate steaks (predominately london broils) but I think a little pineapple juice might be an interesting addition - and recently I had a delicious steak at Capital Grille that touted their special rub which had coffee in the mix ---- so I thought a combination might be good.
                    My turkey breast is almost 8 pounds - I am now airdrying it in the fridge for a couple of hours - and then will use something on it for a couple of hours --- after reading these posts during my night of sleeplessness I came to realize that the turkey was indeed packed with some solution so no need for brining.

              2. Have you considered a dry brine? Aka pre-salting?

                You can do the Zuni Cafe method - complex but with many fans --


                Or, you can just presalt your chicken the night before, the day of - or even just an hour before - when you take it out of the fridge and get it to room temp before you cook it. Just a simple presalt makes it juicier and, well, more chickeny!