The best turkey breast recipe isn’t cooked in the crockpot but is roasted in the oven with wine, lemon and butter for a moist turkey breast every time.
The Best Turkey Breast Recipe
Cooking a full-blown turkey for a crowd is usually reserved for just one time a year—happy Thanksgiving! But if you’re cooking for a smaller gathering, or even just for two, cooking a smaller roasted turkey breast instead is a really good idea. And really, Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to talk turkey. Sure, it’s a popular protein over the holidays, but when roasting a turkey breast is as easy as cooking a chicken, it should totally be considered as a dinner contender any time of year.
Turkey. It isn’t just for sandwiches anymore.
My turkey breast recipe tricks result in a perfect oven roasted turkey breast that’s juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and ready to gobble down, whether it’s served with all the fixins’, in my favorite turkey pot pie, or yes, even as an awesome grilled cheese turkey sandwich.
What’s in This Roast Turkey Breast?
When it comes to cooking 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)
- garlic cloves
- fresh thyme
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Prep the 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.
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 the moisture as well.
Add softened butter under the skin for flavor. Gently work your fingers under the skin and pry it away from the turkey meat before sliding the softened butter under the skin. Press 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
Add aromatics and wine for steeping in the flavor. Before or after buttering, place the turkey breast on the the high rimmed baking sheet, 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 even more succulent flavor. If the liquid evaporates as the turkey cooks, add more wine, water, or chicken broth 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 the turkey with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Kosher salt has a flatter surface than table salt, and is less acrid with a mellower taste.
Roast at a high temp then rest. Cook the turkey at 400°F to seal in the juices and brown the skin. Allow the turkey to rest for 10 minutes before slicing for the hot juices settle back into the meat. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, and come up to the 160°F recommended internal temp turkey breast should be cooked to.
How Long to Cook a Turkey Breast Per Pound
I usually cook two bone-in turkey breast 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 to 7 pound breast and split the breast in two.
If cooking one 3-pound, bone-in breast half, the cooking time will be longer.
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.
Boneless Turkey Breast Cooking Time
Cooking split, boneless turkey breasts at 400°F, I estimate about 12 minutes 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 cooking time per pound. Tied into a roast, the meat is more 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 pound bone-in turkey breast, I give it 17-20 minutes per pound at 400°F, or 45-60 minutes until the thickest part of the meat 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 pound 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 the lower temperature of 350°F, roast for 20 minutes per pound.
see more: 50 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Do I Have to Use White Wine?
For this roast turkey breast recipe, I used a boxed pinot grigio I keep on hand for cooking. If wine isn’t your thing, chicken broth or even plain old water will add moisture to the oven and the bird.
Can I Use Other Herbs?
Of course! Oven roasted turkey breast tastes delicious with most fresh herbs. Fresh sage and rosemary would be great additions to this turkey as well.
Side Dish Recipes to Complete the Meal
- Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Recipe
- The Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Skillet Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
- How to Make the Best Potato Salad
- Mashed Cauliflower With Parmesan and Chives
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- The Best Homemade Mac and Cheese
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Juicy Roast Turkey Breast
- 1 3 pound bone-in turkey breast , with skin on
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 head of garlic sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 cup white wine
- 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- kosher salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. With your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the turkey meat, then spread the softened butter under the skin.
- Place the turkey breast in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the wine over the breast, then juice the lemon over the breast. Season with the kosher salt and pepper then scatter the garlic cloves and thyme in the wine.
- Roast the turkey for 30 minutes for boneless breasts or 45-60 minutes for bone-in breasts or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast reaches 150-155°F. If needed, add more wine to the pan as the turkey cooks so the aromatics don't burn.
- Cover with foil and rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing, the internal temperature will rise to 160°F as it rests. Reserve pan drippings for gravy if desired.
Boneless Turkey Breast Cooking TimeCooking split, boneless turkey breasts at 400°F, I estimate about 12 minutes 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 cooking time per pound. Tied into a roast, the meat is more 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 TimeFor a single, 3 pound bone-in turkey breast, I give it 17-20 minutes per pound, or 45-60 minutes until the thickest part of the meat 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 pound bone-in breast. Tent the bird with aluminum foil if the skin begins to brown too much.
Roasted Turkey Recipe Ideas
- Curry Turkey Pot Pie
- Grilled Brie, Turkey, Cranberry & Avocado Sandwich
- Roasted Turkey Breast with Lemon And Oregano
- Turkey Pot Pie Soup
- Spinach Salad with Turkey, Apples and Butternut Squash
- Turkey and White Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Grapes
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