Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast

Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe

November 11 , 2015 by: Jessica Pinney Holidays, Turkey

Though I’ve lived in California for almost a decade now, there are still occasions when you can see my Southern roots. It mostly shines through in my cooking, but also sometimes in my accent after I’ve had a few drinks. πŸ˜‰

When I don’t go home for the Holidays, I like to incorporate a few dishes that bring a piece of the South to my mouth. Sometimes I make a Cajun Turkey, but this year I thought I’d try something different.

My mother had recently told me how sweet tea brined chicken is very popular. I was very intrigued at the thought, but wasn’t planning on roasting chicken anytime soon. I did, however, have another bird thatΒ I needed to do something with…

And thus this recipe for Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast was born. This brine is really easy to put together and makes the turkey oh-so-tender. It practically fell apart when I was trying to slice it. If you’ve ever suffered from dry turkey, I’m writing you a prescription for this sweet tea brine recipe!

Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey

A whole turkey is just way too much meat for a few people so I chose to do a breast. If you want to brine an entire turkey, all you need to do is double this recipe.


Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe

Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast

5 from 2 reviews

  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 25 hours
  • Yield: 6-10


  • 3-5lb Boneless Turkey Breast
  • 1/2 – 1 gallon water
  • 6 Lipton Tea Bags
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Salt
  • 1/2 Vidalia Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Lemon, sliced thin
  • 1 Orange, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Tbsp Peppercorns (I used Hawaiian Rainbow)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add tea bags, turn off and let steep 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat back on medium-high. Add the salt and brown sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Add onion, lemon, orange, and garlic.
  4. Remove from heat. Add peppercorns. Let cool.
  5. Once brine has cooled completely, put your turkey breast in a turkey bag and cover with the sweet tea brine. If the brine does not completely cover the turkey, add some extra water.
  6. Secure bag and refrigerate submersed in the brine for 12-24 hours.
  7. Remove turkey from the sweet tea brine. Rinse, then pat dry. (It is important to pat dry so the skin gets a nice crispy skin when cooking!)
  8. Place turkey in a baking dish (mine fit perfectly in a9×9). It is optional, but you can place additional freshly sliced lemons and oranges around the turkey to help keep it juicy.
  9. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of your turkey breast. Sprinkle a little salt and crack some fresh pepper over the top.
  10. Roast at 450F for about 40-60 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 170F.
  11. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  12. Serve warm and enjoy!

Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Recipe

Southern Sweet Tea Turkey Brine


  • I’ve never heard of this type of brine but it makes sense. Sounds yummy!

  • What a great idea, your turkey breast looks delicious and juicy!

  • That turkey looks amazing! That color is just gorgeous! I live in North Carolina and I’ve never heard of the sweet tea brine, but is sure sounds like a great idea.

  • I just spent 2 years in the South, and was amazed at how popular sweet tea was! This is such a great use of it! I can tell just from the pictures that the turkey meat is super moist and tender. I know from experience that is not easy to accomplish!

  • The Turkey looks amazing! Adding it to my list for Thanksgiving 2016!

  • Jeeze, I would love to win that gift card. I would get a new laptop.

  • I love how juicy brining makes turkey. I have never brined with tea before, though, I have to say, this looks wonderful!

  • I’d probably buy movies. This post has made me thirsty for sweet tea…and I never even drink it.

  • There is so much i could do with $650 Amazon but I think I would share it with my family so we can have a nice Christmas. If I put it back to save for Christmas we could all have a really nice gifts

  • Hi! This sounds great πŸ™‚ Quick question – you have peppercorns in the ingredient listing but I don’t see them used in the instructions. Did I miss them? Or are they just ground up for the pepper? Thanks!!

  • Hi Keli!

    So sorry, I must’ve forgot to mention them. Add them to the brine when you remove it from the heat. Hope that helps!

  • Love the idea of the sweet tea. I have a turkey breast in my freezer, I might have to try this!

  • […] Southern Brined Sweet Tea Turkey Breast @Cooking with Janica […]

  • A sweet tea brined turkey breast? Sounds like GENIUS to me! Yum! πŸ™‚

  • I lived in the South my entire life up until the last 6 years and have never heard of this. What an interesting idea!

  • Love that you used sweet tea as a brine! Great idea

  • The brine you use is incredible yummy! I usually use tea brine for eggs. thx for sharing wonderful recipe.

  • What a unique recipe~never heard of sweet tea brine. Trying this one out for sure.

  • Janica, I love all of your recipes, and this is no exception!

  • Sounds absolutely divine. I can’t wait to try the brine with my Christmas turkey.

  • Does the cooking time change if its not a boneless breast? The turkey breast I have is 7lbs but its not boneless.

  • I imagine there would be a difference, but I’ve never cooked a bone-in breast, so I’m not sure. Start checking it a little early. When it is 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part, it is ready.

  • Could you use this brine recipe when cooking a whole turkey? If so, what would be the oven setting?

  • Yes, but you will need to at least double this brine recipe. Just roast like normal, at 325 F.

Add a comment

Most Popular Recipes