ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Brown Sugar-Brined Chicken

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 35 mins

Makes 8 to 12 servings


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 (4-inch) rosemary sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 to 12 (6- to 8-oz.) skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. Stir together first 7 ingredients and 2 qt. water in a large stockpot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat, and cool 1 hour. Place chicken breasts in brine; cover and chill 1 to 3 hours.

  2. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Drain chicken, discarding brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with desired amount of black pepper. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

  3. Note: This brine will season up to 12 chicken breasts.