Classic Chicken Brine for Chicken with the Juiciest Flavor

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For the juiciest, most flavorful chicken, this classic brining recipe can bring your chicken to the next level! Never have dry chicken breasts again!

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I just started brining my chicken! Why have I eaten dry chicken breasts for the last 49 years? In fact, I always default to boneless, skinless chicken thighs, because I knew I could cook them without them becoming too dry.

But, now that’s all changed! Since starting my culinary program, my protein cooking game has moved up 10,000 notches!

I am now committed to always prepping containers full of chicken, recently cooked and brined.

The Basic Steps to Brining Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins

  • Mix water with sugar and salt. For 1 lb of chicken I use 2 cups water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup salt. If you are brining a full bird (like a turkey or whole chicken, use 20 parts water to 1 part salt, and 1 part sugar)
  • First, heat sugar and salt into water until the sugar and salt dissolves.
  • Add any herbs you want in your chicken (I like rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, a lemon, and garlic)
  • Remove the water from your heat source and let cool completely.
  • Add your chicken breasts to the brine in an airtight container.
  • Brine (or let soak) for 24 hours, no longer!
  • Cook brined chicken on a heated skillet with nonstick spray, butter, or oil.
process shots for brining a chicken breast

How many calories are added to brined chicken

So, you made a brine with salt, sugar, and herbs, yet you are on a low sugar/low carb/low salt diet. But, how much of the brine gets into your chicken any way.

Well, it isn’t that much. In fact, I weighed the chicken before and after brining. Here’s what I found:

  • Pre-brine weight of my chicken: 16.7 ounces
  • Post-brine weight of my chicken: 19.8 ounces
  • Calories and macros of the brine alone:
    • 200 calories,
    • 52 g carbs, and
    • 28,318mg sodium.
  • Post -brine, the calories and macros that ended up in the chicken was
    • 4 calories per ounce (66 calories for the full pound),
    • 1 g carb per ounce
    • and 36 mg sodium per ounce of chicken.

To further complicate things, the POST cooking weight of the chicken, when cooked on a skillet was 17.8 ounces. So, we lost 2 ounces of chicken during cooking. So, cooked weight of the chicken was:

  • 1 ounce raw, un-brined chicken=27.5 calories/0g carbs/11.25mg sodium for the chicken.
  • After adding brine, 1 ounce of chicken has= 31.5 calories/1g carb/46.25 mg sodium.
  • A 4 ounce piece of raw chicken contains = 126 calories, 4 g carbs/ 185 mg sodium
  • After cooking, a 3.5 ounce piece of cooked chicken would have the same as the 4 ounce piece of chicken.

So, in a nutshell! If you have a 3.5 ounce piece of brined chicken, plan on it having about 126 calories, 4 g carbs, and 185 mg sodium!!

Classic chicken brine recipe for the juiciest chicken breasts

Classic Chicken Brine

To stay on your high protein diet, use this classic chicken brine to make sure your chicken is the tastiest, juiciest, and most delicious chicken.
5 from 24 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Diabetic, Low Calorie, Low Fat
Keyword: chicken brine
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 pound
Calories: 200cal
Author: Amy Roskelley

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 clove garlic

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small pot and heat until sugar and salt dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  • Add 1 pound of chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins to a container and pour the brine over the top to cover it.
  • Refrigerate for 24 hours and then cook chicken on a skillet over medium high heat till done.

Nutrition

Serving: 1recipe | Calories: 200cal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 28318mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 52IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthbeet or tag #healthbeet!
Classic chicken brine for the juiciest chicken

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