Apple-Spice Chicken Brine Recipe

The best way to add flavor to your chicken is with a nice brine. The process of brining a chicken is simple: you just load all the liquids and spices into a pot, cook it for a short amount of time to dissolve any sugars or salts, and then submerge the chicken in the brine and let it sit for a few hours to soak up all the wonderful flavors. This process adds both flavor and moisture to the chicken when you cook it, and this apple spice rendition, courtesy of recipe developer Susan Olayinka, is very fall-forward, though you can make it year-round.

"The day that we don't brine chicken and have it for dinner is a very sad day! So a recipe like this came very naturally," Olayinka says. "It makes all the difference in the end product's taste." She also notes that "this recipe is pretty straightforward," though there are a number of ways that you could customize it, whether it be with seasoning or a different type of vinegar. "If we're feeling adventurous, we'll swap out the apple cider vinegar for another type of acid like white wine vinegar or even red wine vinegar," Olayinka says. If you want a little taste of fall, however, you should follow this recipe as-is — it won't disappoint!

Gather the ingredients for this apple-spice chicken brine recipe

This recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. You will need apple cider vinegar, water, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, black peppercorns, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and ice cubes.

Add nearly all the ingredients to the pot

For this recipe, be sure to select a large pot to fit the liquid and the chicken itself. Go ahead and add in all of your ingredients, aside from the ice cubes. This includes apple cider vinegar, water, both sugars, salt, black peppercorns, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks. "The apple cider vinegar and sugar give the chicken a great sweet and tangy flavor, while the spices add a nice depth of flavor," Olayinka notes. Place the pot on your stove and crank up the heat to medium.

Wait for sugar and salt to dissolve and remove from heat

Continue cooking the mixture on medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve into the liquid. This should only take about 3 minutes or so. Once dissolved, remove the pot from heat and add the ice cubes. Stir until the ice cubes melt.

Add chicken to the pot and refrigerate

Now it's time to add the chicken to the pot with the brine. Be sure that the chicken is fully submerged in the liquid so it can soak up all the wonderful flavors. "The key to this recipe is ensuring the chicken is completely submerged in the brine," Olayinka explains. "If not, it will not absorb all of the flavors and will be very bland,"

Place the pot in your fridge and keep it in there for at least 4 hours. Alternatively, you can leave it there overnight. "If you're short on time, you can always cut the brining time down to 2 hours. But we find that 4 hours is really the perfect amount of time to let the chicken absorb all of the flavors," Olayinka adds.

Remove the chicken from the brine and cook as desired

When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Then, you can cook it according to whatever recipe you choose.

We hope you love the flavor infusion this adds to your meat! 

Apple-Spice Chicken Brine Recipe
5 from 15 ratings
Add some fall-inspired flavor to your chicken with this apple-spice brine recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken brine in pot
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ gallon water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cups ice cubes
  • 1 whole, uncooked chicken
  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the ice cubes and chicken, in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. This will take 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the ice cubes. Stir until they have melted.
  4. Place your chicken in the pot. Make sure that the chicken is completely submerged.
  5. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  6. When you're ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Proceed with your recipe as usual.
Rate this recipe