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This Roast Turkey Breast recipe is made with a dreamy garlic herb butter for the most flavorful, juicy meat and crispy skin. It roasts in about 90 minutes and is ready to eat in less than 2 hours.
A roasted turkey breast is perfect for a small family Thanksgiving when you don’t want to cook a whole turkey, or as a secondary entree for a larger holiday gathering. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday spread, served alongside Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Stuffing and the best, from scratch Green Bean Casserole. Don’t forget the Pumpkin Pie Bars for dessert!
Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year for a lot of families. With smaller gatherings becoming the norm, we’re all looking for ways to keep Thanksgiving traditions alive while feeding less people. If you’re wanting to make a whole Thanksgiving turkey, you’re going to have a ton of leftovers so this roast turkey breast is a perfect compromise. Roasted turkey breast is perfect for my small family of 5!
The holidays can get pretty crazy, so having an extra turkey breast on hand can also feed the extra 5 cousins who showed up last minute.
To flavor the meat and keep it juicy and moist, I made a compound butter with flavorful herbs and seasonings and stuffed it underneath the turkey breast skin. This does two things – adds incredible flavor to the meat and helps to crisp up the skin. It’s a trick I learned a while back and I always get amazing results with a Whole Roast Chicken and with my Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a lot of juices pouring off so you can make some creamy turkey gravy!
Most grocery stores sell turkey breast year round, not just at the holidays. It’s the perfect size for a week’s worth of sandwiches or for adding a few people to the holiday dinner table without having to cook a second turkey. But what kind of turkey should you buy?
For this method, I recommend a bone-in and skin-on turkey breast. The size is dependent on how many people you need to feed. A good gauge is roughly 3/4-1 pound of turkey per person (remember this accounts for the bone as well). A half-breast runs around 3-5 pounds and will feed 3-6 people. A whole turkey breast (two breasts joined at the breast bone) will be about 6-8 pounds and will feed 6-8 people. When there are lots of sides, people tend to eat less of the meat, so if you want to stretch it a little farther make sure you have plenty of Dinner Rolls, Cranberry Orange Sauce and Sweet Potato Casserole to serve with it.
If you want crispy skin, you’re going to roast the turkey breast skin side up. You don’t need a special roasting pan; just a regular 9×13″ baking dish. When roasting a whole turkey, you’ll want to cover the breast with foil because it’s in the oven for twice the amount of time. Since you’re only cooking for about 90 minutes, leave it uncovered with the breast facing up so the skin will get crispy.
I’ve tested this recipe a few different ways and with different times and temps. For the best roast turkey breast, roast at 325 degrees F . You’ll get juicy meat and a crispy skin with an incredible flavor. If you need to cook it a little faster, you can raise the temp to 350 degrees and cook for about 15-18 minutes per pound. It should shave about 20 minutes off of the cooking time.
The cooking time is based on the weight of the turkey breast and a roasting temp of 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes per pound. We used a whole breast which is typically about 3-6 pounds, but you can also use a whole breast (both sides of the breast) which tends to run about 6-8 pounds. The most important thing is to cook the meat to a safe temperature of 165 degrees. Use a digital meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. I recommend pulling it out of the oven at 160 degrees then covering with foil and letting it rest for 10 minutes before carving. A boneless turkey breast will take about 5-10 minutes less per pound.
Roast a turkey at 325 degrees following the time chart below. Keep in mind these numbers are approximate and could vary based on the actual temperature of your oven.
Some people are intimidated by cooking a turkey (I was one of them!) but once you learn how to roast a turkey breast you’ll never fear again!
Let your bird rest for at least 10-15 minutes for the juices to redistribute. This rings true with any kind of meat. The larger it is, the longer it will need. Chicken breasts and steaks will need 5-10 minutes, while a larger turkey breast needs 12-15. Tent with foil to keep warm.
Place the roast turkey breast on a cutting board. I recommend sharpening your knife first, then use it to remove the turkey breast from the bone by sliding the knife along the bone to separate. Once removed, lay the breast, skin side up, on your cutting board. Slice against the grain using a sharp knife.
If using a boneless turkey breast, still let it rest and use a sharp knife. Simply place the breast skin side up on a cutting board and slice against the grain.