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Oven-roasted turkey breast is butter-coated and baked perfectly with juicy breast meat and deliciously golden skin. 10-minute prep and hands-free baking make this an easy turkey breast recipe for any cooking level.
Why you'll love this turkey breast recipe
- Always moist and tender with no dry spots
- Easy hands-off baking (no basting, no brining)
- Accommodates small or large gatherings
Oven-roasted turkey breast is a convenient alternative to a large turkey and is equally delicious! You can use bone-in turkey breast (as pictured) or a boneless roast. Either way, this recipe delivers such moist, tender, juicy breast results, you'll change your mind about breast meat for good!
This miracle roast turkey breast recipe is also great for beginners! The 10-minute prep and hands-free baking time slay any alternatives. There's no basting, no brining, and no flipping. You only need a baking sheet – a roasting rack is optional.
Baking turkey breast is great for smaller gatherings and even dinner for two. But, if you need more, you can bake more breasts since they're small and manageable, especially compared to a whole turkey. So many readers have told me they'll never cook turkey any other way for holiday dinners or Sunday meals.
- Uncooked turkey breast - 3 common varieties sold fresh or frozen:
- 5-8 pound bone-in whole breast (as pictured)
- 2-4 pound bone-in half turkey breast
- 3-5 pound boneless breast
- Garlic cloves - Fresh garlic cloves are recommended, but garlic powder also works here.
- Butter - There's nothing like slathering butter over turkey to make it golden and delicious.
- Sage, thyme, and rosemary - I prefer fresh herbs; however, dried herbs can be used in the amount of ½ teaspoon of each seasoning. Dried poultry seasoning can also be used.
- Salt and pepper - These are as important as the herbs when seasoning poultry.
Prep tips from the pros
1. Thaw turkey thoroughly before roasting to prevent undercooking. Do not thaw turkey breast at room temperature because this promotes bacteria growth, making it unsafe to eat even after it's cooked. Instead, rest frozen turkey breast in a refrigerator for 48 hours or until it has completely thawed.
2. Don't rinse the turkey - There is no need to rinse the turkey once the packaging is removed because it contaminates kitchen surfaces, which only adds cleaning tasks. The most effective way to kill bacteria is to cook turkey to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Remove excess moisture - Use paper towels to pat the skin dry. This removes excess moisture which prevents steaming and, in turn, promotes natural fat rendering, which crisps the skin.
4. Let turkey rest before baking - I always recommend that uncooked turkey breast rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to remove the chill. This isn't required, but it promotes more efficient heat distribution, which helps cook poultry more evenly and helps prevent drying out.
How to roast a turkey breast
Once you have completed the prep steps above, you're ready to bake a delicious, juicy turkey breast. Enjoy these step-by-step instructions and grab the printable recipe below.
Step 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and mash softened butter and herbs together. Rub this herb seasoning mixture over the turkey breast surface and under the skin.
Step 2. Bake turkey breast uncovered for 15 minutes in the preheated 400-degree oven on the center rack.
Step 3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking turkey breast. Bake a bone-in half breast or boneless breast for 20-30 minutes or bone-in whole breast for 60-75 minutes (as pictured). All turkey breast should be baked until the center reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit since it will continue to cook during carryover cooking in the next step.
Bonus tip: The skin gets nice and crispy using this method, but for even crispier skin, switch oven to broiler and place turkey about 8 inches away from the heat source for a few minutes or until crispy to your liking.
Step 4. Rest the turkey - Carefully remove the cooked turkey. Cover and rest for 5 to 10 minutes until carryover cooking brings it to the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Now is a good time to make turkey gravy from drippings. If you don't have enough pan drippings, you can still make this delicious 5-minute gravy without drippings.
How to carve turkey breast
If roasting boneless turkey breast, skip to step 3 in this section. Otherwise, enjoy this step-by-step photo tutorial on how to carve turkey breast, either whole or half-breast.
Step 1. Run a serrated or chef's knife along one side of the breastbone and cut downward to separate breast meat from the bone. Use your hands to expose the bone structure for the next step.
Step 2. Continue cutting the breast meat away from the bone by following the bone's natural curve and gently lift the breast meat away from the bone, ideally in one piece. Repeat this process on the other side for the whole turkey breast, as pictured here.
Step 3. Lay turkey breasts flat and slice against the grain perpendicular to the breast's length. Serve warm.
How to make turkey breast moist and NOT dry
The secret to juicy turkey breast is NOT to overcook it. I recommend removing the turkey from the oven when the center reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and letting carryover cooking bring it to the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do I need a roasting rack?
It's up to you. A roasting rack allows hot air to circulate under the turkey breast, which can help crisp the skin under the turkey breast. I've never found the rack necessary in my 14 years of roasting turkey breast.
How long to cook turkey breast
This turkey breast recipe starts at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes to help brown the skin. The remaining cooking time at 350 degrees Fahrenheit depends on the turkey breast type. Here's a quick reference:
- 5-8 pound bone-in whole breast = about 90 minutes total cook time
- 2-4 pound bone-in half-breast = about 45-60 minutes total cook time
- 3-5 pound boneless breast = about 45-60 minutes total cook time
Compared to a large turkey, oven-roasted turkey breast appears modest yet fills out every dinner just fine, especially next to a delightful cranberry orange sauce. Add in these air fryer Brussels sprouts, gravy, bread stuffing, and fresh green bean casserole, and nobody misses the big turkey, especially not the cook!
Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
- 1 (5-8 pound) Bone-In Turkey Breast (thawed) or breast half or boneless breast
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter softened
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh Sage finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh Rosemary finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Remove TURKEY BREAST from packaging along with any objects in the cavity.
- Place turkey breast on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and use paper towels to pat the entire surface dry.
- Rest the breast at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to remove the chill. (optional but recommended for more efficient cooking)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with oven rack centered.
- In a small bowl, mash together BUTTER, GARLIC, HERBS, SALT, and PEPPER until well-combined.
- Spread the herb butter mixture all over the turkey, using a spoon or your hands to gently lift skin as needed for coating.
- Bake turkey breast 15 minutes uncovered at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue baking turkey breast uncovered using these guidelines 30 minutes for boneless breast or bone-in half-breast60-75 minutes for bone-in whole breastIMPORTANT: No matter which one you're cooking, you want the center (next to the bone) to reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.
- Remove turkey breast from the oven and rest at room temperature draped with aluminum foil about 10 minutes, or until it registers a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone.
- To serve, cut the breast meat away from the bone and slice against the grain. Serve warm.See photo tutorial above: How To Carve Turkey Breast
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