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I have read a lot about how tender and juicy brining makes turkey, pork, chicken, etc. so I am currently attempting to brine a boneless chicken breast. I have found a-lot of different methods for brining boneless chicken, but they all differ in ingredients and time. I decided to do a basic brine (water, salt, and sugar), but I have no idea how long to brine it for. Some people say 30 minutes and some people say it's okay to brine for 4 hours to overnight.

Any advice on how long to brine boneless chicken for would be great!

  • The reason why different people say different things is that there isn't one "best" time period. It depends on what is convenient for you, and how much difference you are able to taste. – rumtscho Nov 26 '14 at 10:48
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It depends upon the strength of your brine, for boneless chicken breasts I recommend a 5% brine for 30 minutes to an hour.

Ideally, salt for brining should be measured by weight, especially since volumetric measurements for the same weight of salt will vary depending upon the coarseness of the salt. A 5% salt solution means you should use 20 times by weight the amount of water to salt. That's easy and foolproof if you have a scale. If you must use spoons or cups to measure salt, Morton's Kosher salt is very close to two tablespoons equaling an ounce, so 20 ounces (2.5 cups) of water to 2 Tablespoons of Morton's Kosher Salt would be a 5% solution. Use about 65% of the volume measurement if you must use table salt and measure by volume.

Incidentally, for larger, bone in pieces brine in a 5% solution for 3-5 hours, a whole chicken for 12-16 hours (roughly).

Also, be sure that your chicken does not have water added, as many frozen, bulk pieces do. In effect, those chicken pieces are already brined.

  • I +1, I also do 5-7% brine for 30-45 minutes. 50-70g salt, 930-950g water. – Ming Nov 26 '14 at 2:37
  • Per a recent "Fresh Air" podcast featuring Cooks Illustrated they recommend 30 minutes of brining with salt, sugar, and soy sauce. I use arbitrary amounts. Then heat water to 175 degrees and turn off heat source. Let chicken sit in hot water until it comes up to temperature. Reports from teenage son is that these are way better than the previous method I used to use (boil the heck out of them until I remember to take the heat off). Happy Thanksgiving. – april26 Nov 26 '14 at 14:27
  • @april26 Neat! Can you provide ratios? – Jolenealaska Apr 24 '16 at 4:12

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