Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

Sweet tea is awesome! I fell in love with it once I tried it a few years ago. It is great for a summer day. But sweet tea and chicken? It sounds a bit scary and weird. No no no… Let me tell you. They are perfect together! The tea flavor was definitely not strong, just a hint. It was not overpowering. The flavors of the chicken was unexpected. It was absolutely delicious. This recipe turns out to be one of my all-time favorite. Give this a try! You will be happy you did.

Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken (Adapted from Fake Ginger)

2 servings


–   2 ½ pound chicken thighs and drumsticks

–   3 regular black tea bags

–   ½ sweet onion (thinly sliced)

–   ½ lemon (thinly sliced)

–   2 garlic cloves (halved)

–   ¼ cup light brown sugar

–   1/8 cup kosher salt

–   1 fresh rosemary sprigs

–   ½ tablespoon ground black pepper

–   1 cup ice cubes

–   salt


  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and cover. Steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags. Stir in onions, lemon slices, garlic, brown sugar, salt, rosemary and black pepper. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature, about 45 minutes. When the mixture is cool, add the ice cubes.
  3. Place the chicken into a large Ziploc bag. Pour the tea mixture into the Ziploc bag over the chicken. Seal and place the bag in a large bowl or medium baking dish. Refrigerated for 24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the skin-side of the chicken with little bit of salt.
  6. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear for 4 minutes until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook in the oven for 18 – 22 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.


  1. I used lipton black tea bags.
  2. It is important to marinate the chicken for 24 hours.
  3. Bryan and I love dark meat, so we used thighs and drumsticks. You can use white meat as well.
  4. Make sure to pat the chicken really dry before going in the pan. Then you will have some good crispy skin.

Source: Read


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