Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (2024)

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Posted by Jessica Pinney on , last updated

Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (1)

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. 😉

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.

Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (2)

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 thatI 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!

Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (3)

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.

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Southern Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe

Turkey breast marinated in a delicious sweet tea and citrus brine. Perfect for feeding smaller Thanksgiving crowds!

Author: Jessica Pinney

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 1 day day

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 1 day day 1 hour hour

Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (4)

Print Recipe

5 from 4 votes


  • 3-5 lb 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


  • Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add tea bags, turn off and let steep 10 minutes.

  • Turn the heat back on medium-high. Add the salt and brown sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.

  • Add onion, lemon, orange, and garlic.

  • Remove from heat. Add peppercorns. Let cool.

  • 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.

  • Secure bag and refrigerate submersed in the brine for 12-24 hours.

  • 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!)

  • Place turkey in a baking dish (mine fit perfectly in a 9x9). It is optional, but you can place additional freshly sliced lemons and oranges around the turkey to help keep it juicy.

  • Drizzle some olive oil over the top of your turkey breast. Sprinkle a little salt and crack some fresh pepper over the top.

  • Roast at 450F for about 40-60 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 170F.

  • Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

  • Serve warm and enjoy!


Calories: 254kcal (13%)

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  1. Karla says

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


  2. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks says

    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.


  3. Lindsey says

    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!


  4. lisa says

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


  5. kristi mcdaniel says

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


  6. Ramona @ The Merchant Baker says

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


  7. Ever D says

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


  8. Susan Broughton says

    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


  9. Keli says

    Hi! This sounds great 🙂 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!!


  10. Anne says

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


  11. Monica says

    Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (5)
    A sweet tea brined turkey breast? Sounds like GENIUS to me! Yum! 🙂


  12. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen says

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


  13. Jenni says

    Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (6)
    Love that you used sweet tea as a brine! Great idea


  14. Citra Kale @Citra's Home Diary says

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


  15. Erin says

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


    • LYNN says



  16. Michelle Ferrand says

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


  17. Lis @ The Fare Sage says

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


  18. Adam says

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


    • Jessica Pinney says

      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.


  19. K. Ford says

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


    • Jessica Pinney says

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


  20. Shanna says

    Does the turkey taste like tea?


  21. Ashley says

    This is the BEST sweet tea brine!! We use to to make smoked sweet tea chicken wings. Highly recommend!


    • Jessica Pinney says

      That sounds delicious! We’ll have to try it in our smoker this summer.


  22. Beverly Scott says

    Do I remove the tea bags onionds and fruit before adding to my Turkey?


    • Jessica Pinney says

      Remove the tea bags, but not the onion and fruit.


  23. Daniel Medrano says

    Is this recipe for a full gallon or a half gallon


  24. joe mattingly says

    Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (7)
    Wonderful brine. I didnt have oranges or lemons, but made due with dried orange peel and lemon juice. Love the flavor this added to my turkey breast. I smoked mine instead of roasting, but it was amazing!


  25. Candice Rene says

    Sweet Tea Brined Turkey Breast Recipe | Sweet Tea Brine (8)
    I’ve made this recipe 3 times now. The turkey has a great flavor and is so tender and moist!!


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