How Long To Brine A Chicken? Timing to The Best Flavor

Since chickens are one of the most consumed poultry. Having a good dinner or not depends a lot on timing. Therefore, knowing how long to brine a chicken is needful.

Brining is a miraculous technique in cooking. It’s osmosis, which will bring balance to salt and water between the outside and inside of the meat.

A little salt and water can make miracles

Your meat would preserve good moisture even when somehow you overcooked it. Thus, you’ll have a tenderer and more flavorful chicken to serve.

Yet, people are usually confused about the timing part. How long do I need to brine chicken breasts? Should I leave it overnight?

I will help you answer all of it.

How long to brine a chicken?

Since poultry is natural to get dry, turkey, pork, and chicken are the most commonly brined meat.

Brining time will depend on size, part of the chicken in which you want to brine, and also the technique ( wet/dry ). A whole chicken or partly brine required different timing.

It also depends on your recipe, how much salt did you put in the mixture. After trying, adjust it adapted to your taste.

So how long we need to brine?

For the whole chicken

More meat required more time. As for an entire chicken being well-seasoned and moisture, we can brine it from 12 hours and up to 3 days with the dry brine. But if you are in a rush, we can consider to shorten it to about 6 to 8 hours .

Wet brine needs more time for the miracle to work. Make sure you keep it in the refrigerator at least 12 hours , and the top is two days .

For the chicken breast

Chicken breast

Chicken breasts take the least time to brine compared to other parts of the chicken. With both wet and dry techniques, you can quick brine with only 15 to 30 minutes, and up to 6 hours at max.

Since this part of the chicken doesn’t need too much time, make sure you always pay attention to the clock. Don’t let your meat become too salty.

For the legs, thighs, and wings

Chicken wings

The recommended time for chicken legs, thighs, and wings is 30 to 40 minutes. You can brine these part  s of a chicken up to 2 days .

The longer you brine, the more flavorful and more moisture the chicken will be. Yet, remember to unbrine it before the maximum limit. If you left it too long, it would reverse the result so your meat will become too salty.

The timing might confuse you. I will summarize it again later. Now, the second most question people are asking is that should they brine a chicken overnight.

What do you think?

Is it OK to brine a chicken overnight?

The answer is YES .

Brine tonight, cook tomorrow.

As I mentioned above, it depends on what you are brining. If we are talking about the whole chicken here, so yes. The longer, the more flavorful your chicken will become.

I usually leave my chicken in the fridge through the night and then start cooking it the next morning.

But remember if you are brining the smaller parts, the time needed is much shorter. Especially chicken breasts, don’t leave it too long.

Should you rinse chicken after brining?

People are regularly mistaken about this. It’s not that you “should” or “shouldn’t” rinse your chicken. It depends on the recipes which you are using.

Cooks usually add sugar to make the skin browner. If it contains sugar, you should rinse your meat after brining because sugar might be burned while you cook. Otherwise, you could continue without rinsing.

Anyhow, neither you rinse your chicken nor not, pat it dry before you cook it.

How to rinse

In case you have to rinse your chicken and haven’t known how to do it. Here are some instructions.

Always pat your chicken. Neither you rinse it or not.

Always pat your chicken. Neither you rinse it or not.

After brining, get rid of the mixture and then rinse your chicken under cold water both inside and outside. Pat it dry, put it in the refrigerator to dry the skin in about 1 hour .

Then take it out, let your chicken rest 30 mins – 1 hour before you season and cook it.


I believe that’s all you need to know about how long to brine a chicken.

You can follow recipes, but after one or two runs, let’s figure yourself out how long it is suitable for you. Make your own recipe!

If you have any better recipe or you want to adjust anything in our post, can you leave a comment below? Our purpose is only to help other cooks become better.