This Turkey Breast Recipe makes the most delicious roast turkey breast. It turns out moist, delicious, and perfect every single time.
You guys my house has smelled like Thanksgiving for the last two weeks! It’s been amazing. I have to say, I truly love the smells of rosemary, sage, and thyme, so this is a great time of year to be in the kitchen.
This Turkey Breast Recipe is a riff on my post How to Brine a Turkey – a recipe that I have used for about a decade. That recipe came to me courtesy of my brother’s mother in law. And it is absolutely perfect.
If you are nervous about cooking a turkey breast, take a deep breath and print out this recipe. It doesn’t have to feel intimidating. These are easy to follow steps, and you are sure to turn out the perfect roast turkey breast.
Please note: You need to buy your turkey breast at least three days before you plan on eating it. You need time to thaw it as well as time to brine it.
WHAT SIZE TURKEY BREAST TO BUY
The rule of thumb for turkey is one pound per person. So if you are having a small dinner party, like 7 people or less, this turkey breast recipe is perfect.
HOW TO THAW A TURKEY BREAST
Before we can get on to this amazing recipe, we must thaw the turkey!
It will take 1 to 3 days for a turkey breast to thaw in the refrigerator.
If you are pressed for time, you can fill a bucket with cold water, add the turkey breast (still in it’s packaging), and change the water every 30 minutes. During this process the turkey can remain on the countertop.
Using the water method, it will take about 5 hours to thaw an 8 pound turkey breast.
HOW TO COOK A TURKEY BREAST
The actual process of roasting a turkey breast is pretty simple. You put it in a pan that is fit with a rack so air can circulate, and pop it in the oven. (See photo of pan I am referring to below.)
(As a side note, these pans are about $20 and make all the difference in the world when roasting meat. Once you buy it, try my Top Round Roast Beef Recipe.)
But what takes a turkey from ho hum to AMAZING is everything that happens before you put the turkey in the oven.
This would be the importance of brining a turkey.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BRINING A TURKEY BREAST
What is brining? It is the process of putting the turkey breast in water that has been infused with salt.
Because the concentration of salt is higher in the water than it is in the meat, the power of osmosis works to help balance that and bring the water into the meat. The second important part about the salt is that it helps the meat hold on to the water.
This turkey breast brine takes the process a step further. We add black tea, brown sugar, and lime juice, which deepens the flavor of our final turkey.
THE MOST MOIST TURKEY BREAST EVER
While you might be tempted to skip the brining, I urge you not to.
I have used this recipe so many times, and each and every time we end up with a perfect turkey.
In fact, one time I forgot about the turkey in the oven, cooking it about an hour longer than I was supposed to, and the turkey was still moist and delicious.
HOW LONG TO COOK A TURKEY BREAST
Such an important question when you are figuring out the timing of Thanksgiving dinner. According to the USDA, here is the timetable breakdown for turkey breasts based on size:
- 2 to 3 pound Turkey Breast Half – 50 to 60 minutes
- 4 to 6 pound Turkey Breast Whole – 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours
- 6 to 8 pound Turkey Breast Whole – 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS TURKEY BREAST RECIPE
Since a turkey is only the beginning of a Thanksgiving feast, here are some other ideas for what to serve your guests.
- These Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes turn out perfect and creamy every single time. (You can easily cut the recipe in half!)
- Is there anything better than Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon? I think not.
- This is the absolute perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe.
Turkey Breast Recipe
- 3 to 8 pound frozen or fresh bone in turkey breast thawed
For Turkey Breast Brine
- 12 cups water (see note)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup salt
- 3 black tea bags strings and paper removed
- 2 whole limes
For Turkey Rub
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
For Turkey Basting Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (see note)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
To Use While Roasting the Turkey
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- limes reserved from brine
To Brine the Turkey Breast
- The day before serving your turkey, combine the water, salt and brown sugar in a large dutch oven or reusable container that is big enough to hold your turkey breast. Whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve to create the base of your brine mixture.
- Juice the limes into the brine mixture, and then put the remainder of the limes into the brine mixture. Add the tea bags and stir to combine. Add in the thawed turkey, making sure that is at least 90% covered by the liquid. Place the dutch oven or container in refrigerator for at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
- When you are ready to roast the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator. Rinse it, pat it dry and set it aside.
To Create the Turkey Rub
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the turkey rub. You will likely have just a little more than you need.
To Create the Basting Sauce
- Whisk together the ingredients for the basting sauce and pour into the bottom of a roasting pan.
To Roast the Turkey
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small roasting pan fitted with a wire rack, place the brined turkey breast. Rub the turkey with the turkey rub, covering all of the surfaces.
- Place rosemary sprigs and the reserved limes (you will likely fit one or two halves) into the cavity of the turkey breast. Put the turkey in the preheated oven.
- Check your turkey at one hour with an instant read thermometer (we are looking for 165 degrees internal temperature). Baste the turkey with the basting sauce. If the skin is browning too quickly, tent it with some alluminum foil.
- Continue checking your turkey at 20 minute intervals. Remove the turkey from the oven when it reaches 165 degrees or when the juices run clear. Check the temperature at the thickest part of the meat, but not next to the bone.
- Allow the Turkey Breast to stand for 20 minutes, while tented, before slicing.