Easy Roast Turkey Breast

Easy Roast Turkey Breast

This is a fine alternative to roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving that also works well for a weekend meal. Makes a good amount of breast meat that works well for sandwiches. Using a brined turkey breast is preferred. If you have a natural turkey breast, brining instructions are included, but you need to start early in the day.
Based on a recipe by Charles Kelsey, Cooks Illustrated Magazine, November & December 2007.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Resting time20 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: < 30 Min Prep w/Longer Cook Time, Main Course - Chicken - Poultry
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6-7 pounds whole bone-in skin-on turkey breast preferably brined; remove excess fat and pat dry with paper towels
  • 1 cup water


Brining Instructions

  • For a natural turkey breast (not kosher or self-basting turkey), brine as follows. Dissolve 1/2 cup of table salt or 3/4 cup of kosher salt in 4 quarts of cold water in container large enough to fit breast. Submerge turkey breast, cover, and refrigerate 3 - 6 hours. Brining any longer will make it too salty. Rinse breast under cold water; dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Roasting Instructions

  • Place oven rack in center, preheat to 425 °F. Line a roasting pan with foil. If you have a V-rack, spray with cooking oil and set inside, otherwise set in ordinary rack.
  • In small bowl, thoroughly combine butter and pepper. Using hands carefully separate turkey skin from meat, taking care to not tear membrane around perimeter of breast; release skin on either side of breastbone.
  • Using spoon, work half of softened butter under skin on one side of breast. Repeat on other side. Rub skin to evenly distribute butter. Place turkey in rack, skin side up; pour water into roasting pan.
  • Roast 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue roasting until thickest part of breast registers 160°F on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to carving board, let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.


Reserve any bones with extra meat for soup.
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