How to Brine Chicken Breasts for Grilling

July 25, 2023   16 Comments

Do you know how to brine chicken breasts for grilling? It is so easy!

How to Brine Chicken Breasts for Grilling

You can transform bland, boring skinless, boneless chicken breasts into a fast meal that everyone will love.

I buy my chicken breasts at Costco because they are affordable and I can freeze them. My plan is to make sure I always have something healthy in the freezer when I start thinking about dinner.

Brining is an excellent way to ensure that your chicken breast does not turn into a hockey puck on the grill.

I like using my slow cooker for a slow cooker chicken taco filling and for making a slow cooker whole chicken. I find that when I plan (and manage to get the chicken into the cooker in time), my chicken stays moist. Slow cookers are great for keeping liquid inside the dish.

Brining, on the other hand, enhances juiciness by ensuring that the meat absorbs liquid before it is cooked. This “extra liquid” protects the chicken from getting too dry as chicken will lose liquid as it cooks.

You use kosher salt for this step because it has large crystals (unlike fine, table salt). Kosher salt is for “koshering”. The Torah forbids the consumption of the blood of an animal. The two accepted methods of extracting blood from meat, a process referred to as koshering or “kashering,” are salting and broiling (that is why it is called kosher salt for the salting process).

You simply sink the chicken breasts in salted water.

After 15 minutes (really), you take them out and rinse them off. The difference is quite amazing from simply tossing the chicken breasts on the grill.

These will be juicy!

I check the temperature to ensure that my chicken is done. The FDA says to cook chicken until it is 165 F. I take mine off at about 150 and let the temperature rise outside of the grill. Also, I cut the chicken through the thickest part to ensure doneness (if I want to double check).

Chicken breasts have different thicknesses in their shape which makes them a little tricky to judge for when they are fully cooked.

Have you ever tried brining chicken breast?

Brined Chicken Breast Recipe

2.5 from 37 reviews

Makes 7 breasts

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7 boneless, skinless chicken pieces about 6 ounces each (2.5 pounds)
¼ cup kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil


First, mix ¼ cup kosher salt in a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water. Immerse chicken breasts in salted water for 15 minutes and then rinse.

Heat grill to medium high. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix black pepper, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Brush chicken on both sides with the olive oil and them rub the spice mixture on both sides.

Grill chicken breast for 4 minutes and then flip to other side. Cook for another 4 minutes and check the internal temperature. The FDA says to cook chicken until it is 165 F. I take mine off at about 150 and let the temperature rise outside of the grill. Also, I cut the chicken through the thickest part to ensure doneness.

Nutrition Facts

One breast is 163 calories, 6.4 g fat, 1.9 g saturated fat, 0.3 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 25.4 g protein, 0 g fiber, 234 mg sodium, 1 SmartPts

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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I’ve gotten tired of big chicken breasts that cook up tough even when I cooked them in an instant pot. I used to pound the heck out of them, which didn’t help much, but now I buy smaller, thinner breasts or chicken tenderloins that I don’t have to brine. I’m on a low salt diet for Ménière disease so I count sodium.

My husband would agree with you on internal temperature of chicken. He cooks the breasts to 145 degrees then let’s them sit for a bit. He likes juicy but I think they are undercooked and don’t even taste grilled. After having great tasting chicken breasts at our daughter’s he’s thinking he may be wrong. 🙂 She pounded, marinaded, and cooked until the chicken had nice grill marks.

Pork chops are really good when brined. I used to brine with equal amounts of salt and sugar and refrigerate until dinner the next day.

I haven't brined chicken breast, but will be giving it a try. Brining adds more flavor and tenderness to poultry as I have brined a turkey. I was surprised at the short time needed to brine.

Looking forward to trying this out (especially since it doesn't take very long). I do struggle with keeping grilled chicken pieces from drying out, so ... hopefully this will be a simple solution. Thank you!

I too like tender, moist chicken. Why eat dry?

What concerns me is handling the chicken so much. And the clean up required after rinsing. The potential for contamination and sickness.

I put the same breasts in gallon bag, with 1/4 cup olive oil, dash onion powder, dash garlic salt, oregano or basil, over the garbage can out of the original packing into the bag, piercing each with a large fork, antibacterial wipe handy to clean that fork before washing. Tender, moist chicken, YAY!

I, too, have experienced those hard, tough chicken breasts. You can tell the texture is wrong even while you are cleaning them. I have found them in all packages, all brands, and usually there is only one or two in a package of four. I don't get it. The organic ones from Costco seem to be better. Does anyone know why this happens? I have read that it has something to do with the "solution" in which they package the chicken, but why is it only a few (thank goodness!)?

I use a brine of pure pickle juice!!! It's delicious for making your own chicken nuggets in the air fryer!

Save your pickle juice for brining chicken, you will get tender chicken with a vibe of whatever kind you use. My personal favorite is Pittsburgh Pickle juice, lots of garlic mold and a touch of dill. Then I just grill.

I , too, use pickle juice to brine. It gives such a great flavor to the meat. I season with cayenne, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder , and put it in a ziploc bag with about 2 tbsps italian dressing and let it sit over night.


Do you defrost the chicken breasts first or put them in the boiling water frozen?

I buy my chicken breasts at Shoprite. If I went to Costco the difference in price would be less than the cost of gas to get there.


I’ve brined chicken with the liquid left from draining a jar of sauerkraut!

sounds so delish, & looks even more delicious. thank you snack girl. I'll add more of my own seasonings.


Your explanation about kosher salt was very interesting and something I didn't know. It made me wonder about drumsticks. In recent years, whenever I buy them, they seem to ooze blood from the cut end to the point that I find them unappetizing. Yes, it dries in the cooking process but still.... Brining them in kosher salt sounds like that might help remove the blood. Yes?

I always brine chicken breasts in a mixture of pickle juice and buttermilk. I don't season the brine but wait until I cook the chicken. It always comes out very tender and juicy.

I too have finally started soaking mine in table salt and water and I let them sit overnight . I make several and cut in to cubes after cooked for making different dishes during the week.

They are juicy and moist.

I cook mine in the air fryer .

Hi Lisa - this sounds great but just wanted to double check re sodium. I am on 3 different blood pressure meds and the DASH diet. I think I could use this recipe which sounds great to ensure moist chicken. And I think the z234 mg sodium is workable so long as I use low sodium ingredients with it. Am I right in these thoughts.

Incidentally. I bought your cookbook when it first came out and you really do come to the rescue. Any chance of another cookbook??

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