Stupid Easy 3 Ingredient Grilled Chicken Breast Brine

Chicken breasts in brining solution

Cooking chicken breasts doesn’t have to result in dried out, bland pieces of meat. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of time you can add some flavor and moisture. This grilled chicken breast brine is easy and adds a remarkable amount of taste to you pieces of yard bird.

The three ingredients you will need are salt, brown sugar and a few peppercorns. Additionally, you will need some water, ice, a container and about 4 hours of time. I’m not lying when I tell you it’s stupid easy.

Grilled chicken breast brine ingredients in a pot

How Does A Brine Work?

The science behind it is rather simple. If you remember back to grade school, everything has a way of coming to an equilibrium. Keep that in mind as you read through the process below.

  • The chicken breast does not have a lot of water or salt inside of it.
  • On the other hand, the salt, sugar solution has a ton of water and salt.
  • As the chicken breast rests in the brining solution, this imbalance causes the salt/water/sugar to be drawn into the chicken.
  • The muscle fibers will then expand and hold onto the brining solution giving you more moisture and flavor once cooked.
  • The sugar adds flavor and also enhances browning on the grill.

You can read more about the process in this in-depth article.

Brined chicken breasts on the grill

Tips for the Grilled Chicken Breast Brine

Like I’ve said a millions times on this blog, the easier the recipe the more the technique matters. Use these tips to make sure you get the most out of this recipe.

  • Cool the brining solution – You don’t want to stick the chicken breasts into the solution when it’s hot so give it plenty of ice/time to cool down.
  • Don’t over-brine – Yes, there is such a thing. 4 hours is all you need other wise the texture and flavor will start to suffer.
  • Add additional ingredients! – This is the bare minimum recipe. Feel free to add whatever else you would like: garlic, onion, hot sauce, beer, etc. It really is a blank canvas.

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Chicken breasts in brining solution
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Stupid Easy 3 Ingredient Grilled Chicken Breast Brine

This super simple brine will not only add moisture but flavor to those chicken breasts.
Prep Time5 minutes
Brine Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brine, chicken breast, chicken breast brine, chicken brine
Servings: 1
Cost: $1


  • 1/2 ounces kosher salt per pound of chicken breast approximately 1 tablespoon = 1/2 ounces
  • 1/2 ounces brown sugar per pound of chicken breast approximately 1 tablespoon = 1/2 ounces
  • 2 whole peppercorns per pound of chicken breast doesn't have to be exact
  • 1 cup water per pound of chicken breast
  • 1 cup ice per pound of water
  • additional water as needed to cover the breasts at the end


  • Calculate the amount of ingredients needed
    2 pounds of chicken breasts would require
    1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of kosher salt + 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of brown sugar + 4 black peppercorns + 2 cups of water + 2 cups ice
  • Combine the water, salt, sugar and peppercorns in a pot and bring to a boil. Make sure all the sugar and salt have been dissolved. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Afterwards, combine the brine solution and ice in a non-reactive pan or food grade plastic container. Then add the chicken breasts making sure all are submerged. Add more water as needed.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for about 4 hours. Afterwards you can remove and pat dry before cooking.
    If you do want to apply additional seasoning use something that does not contain salt as the breasts will already have plenty of salt.