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How Long Do You Brine A Chicken Breast?

Norah Clark
Seasoning a chicken breast before brining

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

You should brine a chicken breast for 6-8 hours for the best results, but this depends on the size and weight of the chicken breast.

As a seasoned chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels, I can tell you that when you brine meat it is one of the best ways to add flavor and moisture to a chicken breast!

This cooking technique is simple and easy, but it can make a huge difference in the final result of your dish.

In this article, I will explain what brining is, how long you should brine chicken breast, and provide some tips for a successful brine.

What Is Brining?

Brining is a technique where meat is soaked in a solution of water, salt, and other seasonings for a certain period of time.

The salt in the brine solution penetrates the meat and helps to retain moisture during cooking. It also adds flavor to the meat by allowing it to absorb other seasonings in the brine solution.

The science behind brining is that the salt denatures the protein structure in the meat, allowing it to hold onto more moisture during cooking. This results in a juicier, more flavorful dish according to Cooks Illustrated.

Full chicken with herbs and seasoning for brining.
Full chicken with herbs and seasoning for brining.

The best length of time to brine a chicken breast is 1 hour brining for every pound of chicken, which is on average 6-8 hours. However, there are several factors that can affect the brining time as Bon Appetit Magazine mentioned.

The size and thickness of the chicken breast, the salt concentration in the brine solution, and personal preference can all play a role in determining the optimal brining time.

A recommended brining time for chicken breast is 6 to 8 hours.

This allows enough time for the chicken to absorb the flavors and moisture from the brine solution, while also avoiding over-brining, which can lead to a salty taste.

Cooking a full chicken in the oven, after being brined.
Cooking a full chicken in the oven, after being brined.

Tips For Brining Chicken Breast

Here are some tips to help you achieve a successful brine:

Use a brine solution with the right salt concentration: A brine solution should have a salt concentration between 15% to 20%. This will allow the chicken to absorb the flavors and moisture from the brine, without becoming too salty.

Add aromatics to the brine solution for extra flavor: Adding ingredients like herbs, spices, and citrus can add extra depth of flavor to the brine solution and, in turn, to the chicken.

Make sure the chicken breast is fully immersed in the brine solution: This will ensure that the chicken absorbs the flavors and moisture evenly, according to The Spruce Eats.

Refrigerate the brine solution to keep it cool: Brining should always be done in the refrigerator to keep the chicken and brine solution at a safe temperature.

Pat the chicken breast dry before cooking: This will help the chicken to brown more evenly and also prevent the brine from diluting the flavors of the chicken during cooking.

Deliciously cooked chicken breast on the BBQ.
Deliciously cooked chicken breast on the BBQ.


How long does it take to brine chicken?

Typically, it is recommended to brine chicken breast for 6-8 hours. Brining for 1 hour per pound of chicken is a good rule of thumb.

Is 2 hours long enough to brine chicken?

No, 2 hours is not long enough to brine chicken breast. A minimum of 6 hours is recommended for optimal results.

Can you brine chicken too long?

Yes, you can brine chicken too long, resulting in a salty and overly flavorful meat. It is important to stick to the recommended brining time of 6-8 hours to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and moisture.

Do you rinse chicken after brining?

Yes, it is recommended to rinse chicken after brining to remove excess salt and any residual flavors from the brine solution. Patting the chicken dry before cooking will also help with even browning and prevent diluting flavors during cooking.


Brining is an effective way to add flavor and moisture to chicken breast, making it a juicy and delicious dish every time. By following the recommended brining time and tips, you can achieve a perfectly cooked chicken breast that is both flavorful and juicy.

I highly recommend giving brining a try the next time you cook chicken breast and see the difference for yourself.

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