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How to Brine Chicken Thighs

by Mark S. Baker, studioD

For many cooking methods, poultry can dry out very quickly. Because poultry, like chicken, is relatively low in fat, any fat that is present melts away quickly at high heat, such as when grilling, frying, pan searing or roasting. Even though chicken thighs have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, the thighs can dry out quickly, too. One way to preserve and even add moisture, as well as flavor, is through brining.

Remove chicken thighs from package and rinse under cool running water. Set aside.

Remove any excess fat, especially between the skin and thigh meat and near the joint, using a knife on a cutting board. Pull away the skin with your hand if you do not want to have skinless thighs for your recipe.

In a large resealable container, such as a bowl or plastic bag, add water and salt in a 4-to-1 ratio. For example, for eight chicken thighs, use 1 quart of water and a cup of salt, such as kosher salt. Add any additional flavorings, such as brown sugar, to help caramelization; or seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, ground sage, ground thyme, or ground cayenne pepper. Mix well using a whisk.

Put the chicken thighs in and seal the container tightly, using plastic wrap if a lid or resealable plastic bag is not available. Place the container in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can also let it sit overnight.

Remove the chicken thighs from the container and discard any excess brine.

Items you will need
  •  Chicken thighs
  •  Knife
  •  Cutting board
  •  Container with lid or plastic wrap
  •  Salt
  •  Water
  •  Seasonings
  •  Whisk


  • Do not reuse brine, especially when used for chicken, due to the risk of salmonella poisoning.

About the Author

Based in Virginia Beach, Mark S. Baker has been working in editorial for more than 20 years. He has served as a writer and editor for publications such as the "Houston Post," "Boca Raton News" and "Interactive Week," among others. Baker also has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and has his own catering business.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images