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Turkey Breast Recipe

5 from 5 votes
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posted: 11/11/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Turkey Breast Recipe makes the most delicious roast turkey breast. It turns out moist, delicious, and perfect every single time.

a cooked turkey breast from the best turkey breast recipe sitting on a platter with greens and orange slices under it

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.

Reader Review

This was the best turkey I have ever made, thanks to your brine recipe!! It was soooo moist and didn’t have that turkey smell. I made a 6lb boneless turkey breast had to leave it in a little longer, but well worth the wait! I would use this recipe again.

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.

cut up baked turkey breast on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

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.

a raw turkey in a stock pot with turkey brine being poured over it

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.

overhead view of a teal stock pot full of raw turkey breast in a brine with lime wedges and tea bags

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.

a raw turkey breast that has been brined and has a rub on it sitting on a wire rack in a roasting pan

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.

turkey breast that has been cooked and is cut up sitting on a cutting board with orange slices and rosemary sprigs
turkey breast that has been cooked and is cut up sitting on a cutting board with orange slices and rosemary sprigs
5 from 5 votes

Turkey Breast Recipe

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
A Turkey Breast Recipe that is easy to follow and creates a moist perfect roast turkey breast.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Notes

Turkey Brine Note: If this amount of water does not cover your turkey breast at least 90% of the way, you will need to make more. Combine 4 cups cold water with 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Dissolve and add to the brine. Repeat until your turkey is covered.
Chicken Stock Note: I like to buy chicken stock baste that I am able to store in my pantry. While not as high of quality as canned or homemade chicken stock, it works just fine in a recipe like this.
Please note that the nutritional information is based on a 6 pound turkey feeding six people.
Calories: 538kcal (27%) Carbohydrates: 4g (1%) Protein: 88g (176%) Fat: 16g (25%) Saturated Fat: 6g (38%) Sodium: 3343mg (145%) Potassium: 21mg (1%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 1IU Vitamin C: 9mg (11%) Calcium: 6mg (1%) Iron: 9mg (50%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
turkey breast that has been cooked and is cut up sitting on a cutting board with orange slices and rosemary sprigs

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Turkey Breast Recipe

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Isabella says

    5 stars
    This was the best turkey I have ever made, thanks to your brine recipe!! It was soooo moist and didn’t have that turkey smell. I made a 6lb boneless turkey breast had to leave it in a little longer, but well worth the wait! I would use this recipe again.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you liked it as much as I do! Thank you for coming back to tell me!

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