The best roast turkey breast recipe isn’t cooked in the Crock Pot, but is roasted in the oven with wine, lemon, and butter for a moist and juicy turkey breast every time.


Cooking a full-blown turkey for a crowd is usually reserved for just one time a year—happy Thanksgiving! But if you’re having a smaller gathering, or even just for two, knowing how to cook a roast turkey breast instead is a really good idea. But while it’s a popular protein over the holidays, roasting a turkey breast is as easy as cooking a chicken, so it should totally be considered a dinner contender any time of year.

My roast turkey breast recipe yields a perfect oven-roasted turkey breast— juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and ready to gobble down. Whether it’s served with all the fixins’ for Thanksgiving, or for leftovers like in my favorite turkey pot pie, or grilled cheese turkey sandwich, this recipe won’t steer you wrong. The best part (other than how simple and delicious this is)? Because you’re not dealing with a whole turkey, there’s no need for a roasting pan and you don’t have to stress over carving.

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What’s in This Roast Turkey Breast?

When it comes to cooking roast turkey breasts, I’ve found that keeping things simple is the way to go. There’s no need for brining or a dry rub, just a handful of fresh herbs and aromatics.

The only ingredients you’ll need for this roast turkey breast recipe are:

  • turkey breast (best with bone-in and skin on)
  • butter (salted or unsalted, I use salted but it’s your choice)
  • white wine—always use the same quality you would drink (I use pinot grigio). If wine isn’t your thing, chicken stock or broth, or even plain old water will add moisture to the oven and the bird.
  • lemon
  • garlic cloves
  • fresh thyme—fresh sage and rosemary would be great additions as well (or feel free to use those instead of the thyme if you prefer)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

see more: 31 Days Of Comfort Food Favorites To Make Now


How to Prep This Turkey Breast

I use the same technique to cook turkey breasts as I do when roasting chicken. And just like my whole roast chicken or my best baked chicken breasts, it’s a recipe that’s easily adapted for boneless turkey breasts too. There’s no need to rinse your turkey—it’s not advised, as it could spread bacteria in your kitchen.

Keep the skin on and bone in for max flavor and moisture. Cooking meat on the bone helps keep the poultry from drying out. The skin holds in moisture as well.

Add softened butter under the skin for flavor. There’s no need to make a butter mixture here—the seasonings will come later. Gently work your fingers under the skin and pry it away from the turkey meat before sliding the softened butter under the skin. Press and pat the butter onto the top of the skin as well. As the turkey cooks, the butter melts into the meat and helps brown the skin.


How to Cook a Turkey Breast

Cooking a roast turkey breast is an excellent idea whether you’re looking for an easy dinner any night of the week, or having a smaller holiday gathering and don’t need as much turkey.

Add aromatics and wine for steeping in the flavor. Before or after buttering, place the turkey breast on a high-rimmed baking sheet (no need for a baking dish or roasting pan), and pour the wine over the turkey. Use a decent white wine, something you’d be happy to drink. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to the turkey and scatter fresh thyme leaves and a few cloves of garlic to the wine for an even more succulent flavor. If the liquid evaporates as the turkey cooks, add more wine, water, or chicken stock to the pan so the aromatics don’t burn.

Always season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Even if you skip all of the steps above, always season with these. Kosher salt has a flatter surface than table salt and is less acrid with a mellower taste.

Roast at a high temp. Preheat your oven to 400°F (this is the perfect temp to seal in the juices and brown the skin. Be sure to place your turkey on the middle rack of your oven.

Let it rest. Allow the turkey to rest for 10 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board and slicing it with a sharp knife. You want to allow time for the hot juices to settle back into the meat. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, eventually reaching the 160°F recommended internal temp once you insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.

Tip: This turkey breast doesn’t yield enough pan drippings for gravy, and I think it’s super flavorful on its own, but if you still want gravy, you can buy some turkey wings or drumsticks and make my easy turkey gravy recipe to go with.

see more: 21 Easy Recipes for Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey


How Long Does it Take to Cook Turkey Breast

  • I usually cook two bone-in turkey breasts trimmed into two split breasts totaling 3 pounds (1 1/2 pounds each).
  • If you can’t find the smaller, split breasts, look for a 6 1/2-7 pound breast and split the breast in two. 
  • If cooking one 3-pound, bone-in breast half, the cooking time will be longer.

How Do You Keep Turkey Breast Moist

The secret to a juicy bird that doesn’t dry out is to roast it at high temperature in a 400°F oven. Cooking at high heat seals in the juices while creating a skin that’s crisp and browned.

Should a Turkey Breast Be Covered or Uncovered

Depending on the size of your turkey breast, as well as your oven, you may not need to cover your turkey. However, if you find the skin is getting too brown, you can always tent it with foil.

see more: 50 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Boneless Turkey Breast Cooking Time

Cooking split, boneless turkey breasts at 400°F, I estimate about 12 minutes of cooking time per pound for boneless turkey where two 1 1/2 pound cutlets should cook in 30 minutes or when it registers 150-155°F internal temperature when tested with a meat thermometer.

If cooking a rolled turkey breast with skin on (shaped and tied into a roast) allow 20 minutes of cooking time per pound. Tied into a roast, the meat is dense and takes longer to cook. Begin checking the temperature at about 45 minutes, knowing it may take 1 hour to cook.

Bone-in Turkey Breast Cooking Time

For a single, 3 lb bone-in turkey breast, allow 17-20 minutes per pound at 400°F, or 45-60 minutes until the thickest part of the breast registers 150-155°F.

  • Begin checking the temperature for doneness at about 45 minutes.
  • Again, two split bone-in breasts that total 3 pounds will cook faster than a single 3 lb bone-in breast.
  • Tent the bird with aluminum foil if the skin begins to brown too much.
  • If you cook the bone in split turkey breasts at a lower temperature of 350°F, roast for 20 minutes per pound.


What to Serve With This Roast Turkey Breast


Roasted Turkey Recipe Ideas

GET THE THANKSGIVING PREP GUIDE: Get your FREE Thanksgiving plan, timeline, recipe and menu inspiration, plus all the tips & tricks you need to pull off the best Thanksgiving yet. AND! FREE printable. 

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