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How to Cook A Turkey Breast

Buttery, Garlic and Herbs flavor this delectable turkey breast with delightfully crunchy skin and JUICY PERFECTION awaits you when you know how to cook a turkey breast!

As a bonus, I share what to do if your turkey breast isn’t completely thawed either! What if the turkey breast is STILL FROZEN?

crispy skin on turkey breast

Why This Recipe Works! 

  • You Cook the Turkey to the perfect internal temperature of 165 degrees
  • Use a roasting pan to roast the turkey
  • This roast turkey breast recipe is fast, easy and delicious! 

How It’s Done

STEP 1. Place the turkey breast onto the roasting pan with the breast side down. Remove bag of items inside the breast cavity.

Paint the skin with the melted butter, garlic and herbs. Salt the bird inside and out. 

Turkey breast in roasting pan

STEP 2. Put your turkey into the preheat oven and roast the turkey. The cooking time will vary based on weight. Figure 15-25 minutes per pound at 325. 

weight tag from a turkey breast

STEP 3. After one hour of cooking, turn the breast over so that it is breast side up. Baste with the butter and pan drippings. 

roasted turkey breast turned breast side up in pan

STEP 4. Use a quick read thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. It is done at 165 degrees. 

thermometer in breast of turkey reading 169

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). 

How Long to Cook a Turkey Breast 

When roasting turkey, you REALLY need a good thermometer. Feel free to access my Resources Page to see which one I recommend.

But I know you really want to know how long in general: 

With the oven set at 325…

4-6lbs…… 1 ½ to 2 1/2 hours 

6-8lbs……. 2 ¼ – 3 1/2 hours

8-12lbs….. 2 ¾ – 5 hours

12-14lbs… 4- 6 hours

14-18……. 3 ¾ – 7 1/2 hours

***These temps are for an unstuffed breast. I don’t recommend stuffing the turkey breast for food safety reasons***

Bone In Turkey Breast Recipe

For a Bone in Turkey Breast, the main idea is for the breast to be cooked all the way through AND to be at the proper temperature while avoiding overcooking the rest of the breast or undercooking it! 

The main idea is to…

  1. Keep the breast moist by using broth in the roasting pan. 
  2. Baste the breast frequently while cooking
  3. Keep the pan covered.
  4. Check the temperature with a thermometer. 

Baked Turkey Recipe

Baking a turkey breast is the same thing as roasting a turkey breast and that is what we are covering here. You’ll want to print out and refer to the recipe listed below. 

Do You Cook a Turkey Breast at 325 or 350? 

The main idea for cooking a turkey breast is to roast it low and slow! Therefore, we love the 325 setting! This helps ensure that the meat cooks at a slow temp keeping it as moist as possible. 

Do You Cook a Turkey Breast Up or Down?

Both! How’s that for an answer? I like to roast the breast for the first part of the recipe in the upside down position to make sure that the bottom part of the breast gets all the right heat. 

Then half way through, flip that bad boy over so that the skin crisps to perfection and the thickest part of the turkey breast roasts through. 

Do You Cook a Turkey Breast Covered or Uncovered? 

For moisture sake, I like to cover the breast for the first half of cooking, then remove the foil and baste the skin well to crisp it up. 

Do I Put Water In the Bottom of the Roaster for A Turkey Breast? 

For more flavor, add broth to the roasting pan. This steams the breast and adds lots of flavor. Plus, it smells heavenly! 

How Do I Cook a Moist Turkey? 

That’s what this recipe is all about. You’ll want to keep the breast in moist heat, turn it appropriately and cook it on a low temperature very slowly!

What If the Breast Is Still Frozen? 

Are you like me, got the turkey breast out of the fridge and it was still frozen? No worries!

  1. Set the oven on 325. 
  2. Rub the turkey skin with oil.
  3. Put the turkey upside down in the roasting pan (breast side down). 
  4. Add the broth to the roasting pan
  5. Cover the pan tightly with foil.
  6. Cook for an hour upside down.
  7. Turn the breast over, leave the foil off and put back in the oven. 
  8. Baste the turkey with the pan juices every 30 minutes and continue at 325 until internal temp is 160. You REALLY need a thermometer if the breast is partially frozen. 
  9. The turkey will probably take an extra hour to come to temperature this way. 

full turkey breast in a roasting pan

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Turkey Breast

  • You’ll want to get a good thermometer because that is what REALLY will tell you that your turkey is done. I recommend a specific brand of thermometers and you can find that information on the resources page. However, if you can’t afford one or don’t have time to order one, then buy a decent one at WalMart, Target or Williams’ Sonoma.
  • You can roast a turkey in a pyrex or baking dish, but it is SO MUCH EASIER if you have a proper roasting pan. You DO NOT have to spend a fortune on one. I bought mine at Big Lots and am super happy with it. Look for one with a V shaped rack that fits inside of it. 
  • Aluminum foil and a turkey baster are two other tools you’ll want to have close by as well. Turkey basters are inexpensive and you can find those at any WalMart or other discount store. Don’t waste a lot of money on an expensive one.
  • Use heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Turning the turkey as the recipe indicates really is important. It allows the meat to cook evenly AND allows the juices to run over the parts of the breast which just adds more deliciousness! 
  • Allow time for the breasts to cook AND time for it to rest. The resting is what helps the juices to go back into the meat and increase the juiciness of the turkey! 
  • You DO NOT need to wash the turkey before cooking it. The latest information from the USDA states that unless you plan to brine the turkey then there is no need to wash it. 
  • The point of the garlic heads and lemons is to perfume the meat, you will not be eating these items. 

If You Enjoyed THIS recipe, You Might Also Enjoy….

Ya’ll Help Me Out, OK? 

Please leave me a comment and 5 STAR ( 🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟 )   review, I ALWAYS love to hear from you and your comments MAKE MY DAY! (Plus, it helps me out by letting everyone know that this is the place to find good recipes!)

crispy skin on turkey breast

How To Cook A Turkey Breast

Buttery, Garlic and Herbs flavor this delectable turkey breast with delightfully crunchy skin and JUICY PERFECTION awaits you when you know how to cook a turkey breast!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook a turkey breast, how to cook a turkey breast without brine
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 147kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 1 bone in turkey breast
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Cup of oil
  • 1 Tbs Rosemary dried
  • 1 Tbs Thyme dried
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 4 Tbs of butter
  • 2 heads Garlic cut in half at the equator(no need to remove the papery skin)
  • 2 lemons cut in half at the equator

Instructions

  • Two days before you plan to cook the breast, place it into the refrigerator to thaw.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 unless the turkey breast seems to be somewhat frozen. If somewhat frozen, increase temp to 350.
  • When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the packaging and remove any extra parts that may be included such as neck, wings, etc. Set those aside. Drain the turkey and pat dry with paper towels (not kitchen towels). Discard the paper towels.
  • Sprinkle kosher salt over the surface of the breast and on the inside cavity of the turkey.
  • Rub the turkey inside and out with the oil. You may not need the entire ¼ cup of oil.
  • Sprinkle the breast, inside and out, with the rosemary and thyme.
  • Pour the broth into the bottom of the roasting pan and place the butter there as well. Place the garlic and lemon into the pan beneath the rack and then place the turkey on the rack of the roasting pan breast side down.
  • Bake uncovered for one hour.
  • After an hour turn the breast over, breast and skin side up. Baste with the broth and oils that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan. If at any point the broth evaporates, pour another cup into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Continue baking breast side up until internal temp of 160 is reached (about 2 hours total, depending on size). Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the pan drippings.
  • When internal temp has been reached, remove the turkey from the oven and loosely tent aluminum foil over the top of the pan. Allow turkey to rest this way until the meat is cool enough to handle and slices.

Notes

  • You’ll want to get a good thermometer because that is what REALLY will tell you that your turkey is done. I recommend a specific brand of thermometers and you can find that information on the resources page. However, if you can’t afford one or don’t have time to order one, then buy a decent one at WalMart, Target or Williams’ Sonoma.
  • You can roast a turkey in a pyrex or baking dish, but it is SO MUCH EASIER if you have a proper roasting pan. You DO NOT have to spend a fortune on one. I bought mine at Big Lots and am super happy with it. Look for one with a V shaped rack that fits inside of it.
  • A turkey baster is a tool you’ll want to have close by as well. Turkey basters are inexpensive and you can find those at any WalMart or other discount store. Don’t waste a lot of money on an expensive one.
  • If using foil, then use heavy duty aluminum foil.
  • Turning the turkey as the recipe indicates really is important. It allows the meat to cook evenly AND allows the juices to run over the parts of the breast which just adds more deliciousness!
  • Allow time for the breasts to cook AND time for it to rest. The resting is what helps the juices to go back into the meat and increase the juiciness of the turkey!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How To Cook A Turkey Breast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 147 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 626mg26%
Potassium 200mg6%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 167IU3%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A VERSE TO SHARE

Sometimes we are lonely, right? Remember when Jesus was giving his commission as they stood on the mountain in Galilee? He promised then to never leave us alone. I believe He doesn’t. Sometimes we have to be still and listen though.

Matthew 28:20

and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Recipe Rating




AntKathy

Friday 25th of November 2022

Wow! I followed the simple directions and used the ingredients as listed and my bone-in turkey breast came out perfectly! The family raved about it and requested the same recipe for all future turkey breasts. Thank you for making it so simple!

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

So glad you loved it!

Sandra

Wednesday 12th of October 2022

My take- you said to add broth to the roasting pan. This steams the breast. To me it automatically takes it out of the category of roasted turkey. I never do that and my turkeys are always moist and flavorful without adding liquid.

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Hi Sandra, that's fine to do it your way. This is just the best and most reliable way I've found for cooking a turkey breast that ends up juicy, moist and flavorful. You are right, it isn't an actual "roasting" of the turkey, but I wasn't looking to do a roasted turkey, I was looking to cook a turkey breast and get a lot of flavor and still have it be moist and juicy. If yours turns out great how you do it, keep doing it that way. No harm.

Beverley

Monday 10th of October 2022

Going to try this today. Looks awesome!

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Great! I hope you enjoy it!

Judy

Saturday 25th of December 2021

Without a doubt, this was the best turkey I have ever made...and I'm 80 years old. Thank you so much!

Wendi Spraker

Monday 3rd of January 2022

How sweet! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Jay

Friday 24th of December 2021

I cooked my Turkey according to your 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees formula and it came out raw. I had to put it back in for another hour-thank God it was well before dinner time. Please fix this issue for the sake of other visitors to your site. Thanks

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 25th of December 2021

Always cook your breast to an internal temp of 165. The times will vary based on the weight and size of the breast and how frozen/thawed the breast is when you start cooking.

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