Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast

November 4, 2019

This Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast is not only flavorful, but juicy to boost. Brined turkey breast combined with a sweet and savory sweet rub make for a turkey breast that is just as good for a weekday dinner as it is served on a special occasion.

sliced turkey breast on a cutting board next to a fork, knife, and fresh herbs

Smoked Turkey Breast

This recipe is for (no bias here) the best smoked turkey breast you’ll ever have. We begin with a delicious apple cider brine, season with my KILLER turkey rub, and finish up with a few hours in the smoker. These three elements combine to bring you a smoked turkey breast that is like no other. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!

turkey breast floating in a brine

Smoked Turkey Breast Brine

Let’s take a moment to talk about the turkey breast brine in this recipe. This isn’t your mama’s turkey brine. No, no. It’s packed with so many amazing ingredients with the main goal of adding flavor, moisture, and tenderness to your turkey breast.

Make sure you have the following on hand prior to making this brine (scroll down to the recipe card for amounts).

  • Apple Cider
  • Water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Signature Sweet Rub
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

wooden bowl full of Smoked Turkey Breast Rub

Smoked Turkey Breast Rub

When seasoning this turkey breast, I find that a good sweet rub is best to compliment the apple cider brine and smoke flavor. There are a couple of options here. If you want to combine BBQ and traditional turkey flavors, I highly recommend my new Smoked Turkey Rub Recipe. It’s got BBQ zing with a great addition of traditional turkey herbs and spices. I think it’s pretty bomb!

If you like that sweet heat BBQ flavor, you can go with my homemade sweet rub. It combines 8 ingredients (including brown sugar and smoked paprika) that never overpowers the flavor of the meat. You can make your own Sweet Rub at home by following my recipe on this site.

For those of you who have been long-time Hey Grill Hey followers, you likely know how often I use this sweet rub. It’s my go-to, and one that I’m happy to share with my friends. If you want to stock up on this great rub, you can purchase my Signature Sweet Rub from Patio Provisions. We also sell 2-pound refill bags so you never have to worry about running out!

smoked turkey breast on a cutting board

How to Smoke a Turkey Breast

Guys, this turkey breast only requires 4 steps to make. It’s sooooo easy! This is one that you can’t mess up! It’s a good one to try when you’re ready to branch out from simple turkey, and you want to try something that takes a little more time and effort.

  1. Brine the turkey. Whisk all ingredients for the brine in a bowl. Submerge the turkey breast in the brine, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  2. Add some flavor! Remove the turkey from the brine, and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the turkey breast with my Best Sweet Rub Recipe or my homemade turkey seasoning. You can also purchase my Signature Sweet Rub pre-made and delivered straight to your door from Patio Provisions.
  3. Put that turkey in some smoke. Get your smoker going at 275 degrees F. You can use whatever wood you have on hand, but apple wood goes great with this turkey breast (it compliments the cider brine perfectly!). Smoke for 3 hours, or until the internal temp of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees F with an internal thermometer.
  4. Rest and enjoy. Remove the turkey from the smoker, cover with foil, and rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

How Long to Smoke a Turkey Breast

It will take approximately 3 hours to fully smoke a turkey breast when your smoker is consistently running at 275 degrees F. Keep the ol’ meat thermometer on hand (I used my ThermoWorks Mk4 for this smoke) and pull the turkey breast off the smoker when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees F.

The FDA recommends turkey be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F, and for this turkey breast, that’s the exact temperature you want to be watching for. The turkey will come off safely cooked and beautifully moist.

Sliced Smoked Turkey Breast on a wood cutting board

More Smoked Turkey Recipes

It’s turkey season, baby! Turkey for me, turkey for you! And yes, I would highly consider eating turkey in my big brown shoe. Not only is turkey the quintessential main course for Thanksgiving, but it’s great on Christmas, and for Sunday dinner.

And with Hey Grill Hey by your side, you can make a different turkey for each occasion, and each one will come out bursting with flavor and perfectly cooked. Check out more smoked turkey recipes below:

Smoked Turkey
Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Smoked Turkey Brine

Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

Making dinner for your family should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on InstagramYouTube or our Facebook Page.

Smoked and sliced cider brined turkey breast lined up on a wooden cutting board.

Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast

Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast is flavorful and oh-so juicy! Brined turkey breast combined with a savory sweet rub make for a killer turkey breast.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 3 hrs
Brining Time : 8 hrs
Total Time : 11 hrs 15 mins
Servings : 6
Calories : 93.9kcal



  • 1 4-5 pounds boneless turkey breast (fresh, not previously brined)
  • 1 Tablespoon Signature Sweet Rub

Cinder Brine

  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub (or your favorite BBQ seasoning)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder


  • Combine all ingredients for the brine in a large bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  • Submerge the turkey breast in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  • Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. Apple wood goes great with this meat.
  • Remove the turkey breast from the brine and pat dry. Sprinkle the turkey breast on all sides with the sweet rub seasoning (or your favorite seasoning).
  • Place the turkey breast on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for approximately 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker. Cover lightly with foil, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.


Calories: 93.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.45g | Protein: 1.21g | Fat: 0.73g | Saturated Fat: 0.28g | Cholesterol: 0.09mg | Sodium: 14.87mg | Potassium: 226.23mg | Fiber: 1.37g | Sugar: 11.85g | Vitamin A: 194.6IU | Vitamin C: 2.22mg | Calcium: 92.85mg | Iron: 2.95mg
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35 thoughts on “Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast

  1. Due to health issues I must keep all sugar from diet…is it absolutely necessary to add the brown sugar to brine and rub?

  2. I plan on trying this recipe while smoking a prime rib (your garlic butter recipe is awesome and will be using that method again.) Since I want to stay more true to the prime rib temp of 225, how long do you think the turkey would take at that temp and do you see any cons to smoking the turkey breast at 225 with oak/cherry?

      1. One other question… I see you left the skin on during the brine but couldn’t tell if you removed it before smoking. I am leaning towards removing the skin before smoking as I think it will be rubbery at 225?

        1. I used this recipe on a bone in, skin on turkey breast . It took about 5 hours to reach 165, but it was perfect. The skin was not rubbery at all. The brine really soaked into the meat. It was delicious.

  3. Sounds great I will be trying this for Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the recipes. You did great on the show earlier

  4. I will be traveling traveling for the holiday and want to smoke in advance. What is the best method to reheat and not dry out the turkey?

  5. I am having trouble finding boneless turkey breasts that aren’t brined or frozen, please help! Love your website and all of the wonderful recipes.

  6. Hi! I made this for Thanksgiving camping trip. I smoked it in a Dutch oven over campfire coals. It was amazing! Super juicy and flavorful. A great centerpiece to my exclusively campfire-cooked Thanksgiving!

  7. I’m a newbie to smoking and a subscriber to your channel. I soaked this recipe today with a 6.7 lb frozen breast from Giant. Thawed in and brined it overnight with your recipe less salt, since it stated it came already brined. My family thinks this is the best ever. Thanks so much for sharing

  8. Hi! I plan on making this for Thanksgiving. Can you use apple juice in place of apple cider or will that alter the taste too much?

  9. Your recipe sound amazing! Sounds so good it might make me a convert from the dark side! However, can same recipe and procedure be used for turkey legs?
    Also we don’t have a smoker, an item we don’t choose to buy; so can your recipe be converted to gas grill or oven? Any other ideas? Plus I can’t find a fresh breast, any modifications if it is frozen?
    Need this for this weekend (11/14)
    Thank you.

    1. It should work great for legs! You can cook this on any grill or in any oven, just follow the provided times and temperatures. If it’s frozen just make sure it’s thawed before using it with this recipe.

  10. I am having trouble finding whole turkey or boneless turkey breasts that don’t come pre-brined. What suggestions do you have?

  11. Absolutely delicious! Tried the apple cider brine on a turkey breast as a test for a full turkey for Thanksgiving. Also made the sweet rub for the turkey breast. Both were absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to try both on our turkey. The taste truly was as good as advertised. I had no idea what to try for the turkey breast but thought I would give this one a try. So glad that I did. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes on the smoker

  12. Would I be able to use this recipe on a bone-in turkey breast? I can’t find any boneless fresh (non previously brined) turkey breasts in my area. If it will work, what would it alter in the recipe? Cook time?

  13. OMG. So I did a couple breasts last weekend to see what I wanted to do for Thanksgiving and this brine won. The thing was it wasn’t super strong, maybe because they were previously company brined frozen breast. This time I did a fresh, still 3% prebrine, and brined for 24 hours. If this neck meat is any indication of how it will go…… I have to admit I split the turkey into halves and did half your sweet rub and half a competitors hot rub, but both look and smell AMAZING. Thank you for this recipe!

  14. Due to a timing issue there’s going to be almost a full day between when I take my turkey breast out of my brine and when I smoke it. Can I just put it in the refrigerator for overnight and smoke it the next day?

  15. I have a 3 lb boneless breast I’m smoking for thanksgiving. I’m terrified of over brining (ruined some pork once!) but I also don’t want to get up at 3am to take this thing out of the brine!

    How long is ideal? Have you ever gone over and had it be way too salty? Is that even possible or did I somehow mess up my pork a different way? LOL

  16. I did this on one of my 2020 fresh (whole) turkeys and it came out fantastic. Everyone said this is a must. such a good Apple cider taste to the turkey. So delicious and juicy. Would love to do the breast alone. keep up the good work!!!

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