Can You Brine In Aluminum?

You can brine your chicken in aluminum foil and it will still turn out crispy. The issue is that the aluminum will react with the salt and acids from the brine causing them to become unstable. If left on too long, these chemicals can combine to create metallic limescale deposits on non-stick cookware, showering grease with salty lime crystals, or even worse – releasing hydrogen sulfide gas that smells like rotten eggs.

To keep your chicken moist without adding any extra water so that you don’t end up with a soggy mess, you need to slowly dehydrate it instead of wetting it thoroughly. At high temperatures (72°F) the liquid will evaporate faster than at lower temperatures (50°F), so there’s a balance you need to find between time and temperature in order to keep your brine stable. This is why we always tell you not to leave your chicken in the marinade longer than two hours at room temperature and three hours if refrigerated.

How to brine in aluminum foil

You’ll need a heavy duty aluminum foil tray and you’ll also need to add a small amount of oil to the tray for the foil to keep the chicken from sticking. Place the tray on a plate and pour the brine over the chicken in the tray. Place a heavy object on top of the chicken to keep it submerged in the liquid. Place the tray in the fridge and let it sit for at least two hours or up to 24 hours.

The best way to ensure that your chicken is completely submerged in the liquid is to place a tray cover or lid on top of the chicken. However, if you don’t have a lid available, don’t worry. The chicken will still turn out just fine!

What you need for a one-time brine

– Heavy duty aluminum foil tray – – Kosher salt – coarse sea salt flakes is a better choice than table salt as it’s already got a larger grain size and is coarse enough to absorb the extra liquid that we’re adding to the brine 

 – Oil – olive oil is best as it’s not only rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, but also high in antioxidants that will help keep the chicken tender, but it’s not recommended for frying 

Bottled lemon juice – make sure it’s not from concentrate, as it will react with the salt to create metallic limescale deposits on non-stick cookware, showering grease with salty lime crystals.

Make the marinade

In a large bowl, combine the salt and oil and whisk until the salt has been completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice and whisk until the marinade is smooth and combined. Add the chicken and mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the chicken and place in the fridge for at least two hours or up to 24 hours.

How long does a one-time brine last?

If you are keeping the chicken in the marinade for 24 hours, the brine will begin to turn bitter. After 24 hours, the chicken should be removed from the marinade and placed in a bowl with fresh water. The chicken should be rinsed a few times and then allowed to air-dry before cooking. The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the more bitter it will become, so always remove it from the marinade at least two hours before you plan to cook it.

Why is it important to use two different types of salt?

The main purpose of the brine is to add extra liquid to the chicken. However, the type of salt that you use is also very important.

There are two types of salt – coarse sea salt flakes and kosher salt. Coarse sea salt is much finer and because it is broken into a lot smaller grains, it has a greater surface area that is exposed to the air.

This is why coarse sea salt is the preferred choice for making brines. On the other end of the spectrum, kosher salt is a more uniform, larger grain size and does not have as much surface area, making it a weaker choice for brines. When making a one-time brine, you want coarse sea salt as it has a greater surface area and will absorb the extra liquid, making it a much more stable brine.

For long-term brines, however, kosher salt is preferred as it gives you a more consistent level of salinity and is less likely to be depleted by the salt water.

Tips for making a more stable long-term brine

– Use different types of salt – always use kosher salt for long-term brines and coarse sea salt for one-time brines.

– Add more liquid to the brine – always make sure you add much more liquid than you think you need.

– Use a heavier tray – heavier trays will allow the salt to stay submerged for a longer period of time.

– Use a tray cover – a tray cover will keep the chicken submerged and help to protect the surface from getting damaged from the salt crystals.

– Let the chicken rest – when you cook the chicken, it is best to rest it for at least 15 minutes before serving.

– Store any leftover brine – if you have any left over brine from a long-term brine, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. It can be used as a marinade for other meats.

– Don’t re-use a long-term brine – after using a long-term brine, you must discard it and make a new one.

Final thoughts

Chicken is a delicate dish and is even more susceptible to becoming too salty than other meats. Adding a long-term brine to your chicken will make it much more salted than it would normally be, but will also allow you to keep the chicken moist.

However, we do not recommend re-using a long-term brine. After a long period of exposure to salty water, the surface area of the salt will have been significantly reduced and will be much less stable than a brine that had fresh salt added to it. If you’d like to learn more about our line of brining solutions for various foods, including how to brine your chicken, please visit

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