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Can You Brine a Turkey in a Metal Pot? [Explained]

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Your turkey has turned out dry in the past so you’ve decided to brine it. But now you’re worried whether your everyday metal pot can be used for brining. 

Can you brine a turkey in a metal pot?

No, you can’t brine in a metal pot. Metal pots are usually reactive. The high concentration of salt in the brine can, therefore, exacerbate the reactivity. Which would damage the pot and the taste of your turkey. However, if marked “non-reactive”, the pot can be used for brining. 

That’s the gist of the answer you’re looking for. Let’s keep moving as we’re about to cover the topic in a lot more detail. 

Turkey Brining in Metal Pot – Yes/No?

It’s a strong no! You need a non-reactive pot for brining. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a solution that tastes of metal. And a pot that is damaged. 

Brining is a slow process. The highly concentrated salt solution is kept in the pot for hours. Such long exposure to the solution will cause the metal to start releasing atoms. Which will end up in the solution. 

This will give the brine a metallic taste and damage the pot by thinning it out. Using a metal pot for brining might also cause discoloration of the turkey. 

And you’re gonna hate it as much as the wrong color of your brisket.

The problems don’t just end with discoloration and metallic taste. When you’re dealing with heavy metal ions in food you risk more than bad taste. These ions are also carcinogenic!

That means in high enough concentrations or with continued exposure they can cause cancer. 

All of this means brining in a metal pot is a terrible decision. And it’s especially bad if you’re brining a turkey. Because the process requires a long time. 

But if the pot is labeled “Non-reactive”, then it is okay for use. Sometimes, reactive metals are lined with a non-reactive one such as tin. And it bars the reactive metal from coming in contact with the food. 

If you’ve not used a “Non-reactive” metal pot before, buy one of these. 

Product 1
Product 2

Both of these will last a long time and will heat up equally all over. Thus, cooking your food evenly and perfectly. 

Brine Ready Pots- 3 Options 

Do you know the process of brining? The first thing you need for brining is a pot that won’t react with the solution. There are a few options you can choose from. 

Option 1: Tampered Glass Pots 

Glass is almost chemically inert. It doesn’t react with acidic substances regardless of their strength. This makes it a perfect option. 

However, there’s one drawback. Most glass cookware can’t be put on the stove. 

Which means, when creating your brine, your best bet is dissolving via stirring. It will take longer but will not leave any odd tastes in the liquid. If you do choose to heat up the solution, do so gradually. 

Gradual heating over a low fire will keep your glass pot from exploding.

Option 2: Stainless Steel Pots

Stainless steel is non-reactive and it can easily be heated. Which means it’s your best bet for brining. However, stop the pot from sliding or it won’t be heated like usual.

The low reactivity will keep the metallic taste out of the brine. And the good conductivity will allow you to safely heat the solution. 

Meaning, you can dissolve the salt in the water faster if you’re using stainless steel. Any additional spices you add will also release more flavor, since the steel allows heating. 

Another benefit of stainless steel is the ease of cleaning it. 

Option 3: Food-Safe Plastic Bag 

The last option available is a food-safe plastic bag. Obviously, using a plastic bag will add a few steps to the process. But, this will keep your pots safe. 

And it’ll also allow you to stick it in the fridge with greater ease. 

You won’t have to worry about storing the bag after use either. Just dry them, fold them up and store them anywhere you want. 

However, using the plastic bag completely removes your ability to the heat solution. 

If that isn’t a problem, put a large sealable food-safe plastic bag over a pot. Then fill it with water and add the salt. You’ll need to dissolve the salt by stirring. 

Once everything is dissolved, put your turkey in it and seal the bag. 

All of these are good options for brining your turkey in. But is there a workaround to all of this? 

Dry Brine – Work Around the Pot Conundrum

You can avoid the entire problem of finding a pot by simply leaving out the water. Making the solution is not essential for the brining process. It decreases the time required but you can definitely do without it.

In fact, leaving out the water helps concentrate the flavors too. The water in the solution adds a lot of moisture to the meat. This dilutes the inherent tastes in the turkey. 

And much like the runny watery pudding in the fridge, nobody likes the diluted flavor. 

Moreover, dry brining adds no moisture but adds to the taste. You’ll also need less storage space. 

So, how do you dry brine? The process is simple. You prepare a mixture of salt and your preferred spices. 

Then rub the mixture in and leave it to rest for 48 hours. It’s easy to do and will help you work around the pot requirement too. 


How much kosher salt do you need to brine a turkey?

It depends. If you’re doing a wet brine, you’ll need 1 cup per gallon of water. For a dry brine, you’ll need 1 tablespoon per 5 pounds of meat.  

How much table salt do you need to brine a turkey?

You’ll need ¾ cups of table salt for every gallon of water, for a wet brine. In the case of a dry brine, you’ll have to use 1 tablespoon per 5 pounds of meat. 

Do I need to score the turkey for brining?

No. Scoring is not essential to the brining process. Since the meat is left untouched for several hours, the flavors easily penetrate the meat. 


Well, we’ve finished discussing the topic – “can you brine a turkey in a metal pot?”. In this content, we covered every possible answer to the question.

However, a little tip for you. If you’re using a stainless steel pot for the brining, don’t use metal spoons to stir. 

That covers all our wisdom on the topic.