Close up of the finished roasted turkey breast.

Basic Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

A yummy roast turkey breast recipe...and how to use it

We love making this simple turkey breast recipe every so often. It gives us a delicious dinner that evening, then easily three more meals — more if we opt to use the leftovers for sandwiches! Few roasted meats are easier to make, cheaper, more nutritious or more versatile.

When I say turkey breast, I do not mean a boneless breast. The most flavorful roast turkey will be one that is bone-in and skin-on.  If possible, choose a turkey that at least declares itself as hormone or antibiotic free. If you can find an organic one at a good price, do not hesitate; snatch it up! In fact, if you see any bone-on turkey breast while you're shopping...don't pass it up.

Below is our basic turkey breast recipe — it's ridiculously simple so that you can easily modify it per your taste.

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Turkey Breast Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 Turkey Breast
  • A heavy drizzle of Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Basil
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp Butter, softened

Mise en Place:

  • Suitably Sized Roasting Pan (Standard 11x9 usually works)
  • Preheated Oven, 350°F
  • Basting Brush
  • Dish for the Butter
  • Instant –Read or Digital Thermometer

Turkey Breast Roasting Instructions:

  1. Rinse the turkey breast under a gentle stream of cool, running water. Gently oat dry and place in a roasting pan, taking care not to drip on anything outside the sink. (Scrub your sink when you're done too!)
  2. Drizzle the entire surface with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle salt and basil over the breast and rub it in gently.
  4. Crack pepper over the breast until you're happy.
    1. Tip: If you want to encrust it, crack it into a separate dish and press it on the surface of the skin after spreading the olive oil and salt over the skin.
  5. Pop it in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes.
  6. Baste the bird with soft butter, lightly pressing the brush on the high points instead of brushing, so as not to disturb the seasonings.
  7. Continue roasting and periodically basting until the internal temperature passes 155°F.
  8. Total roasting time will vary based on the size of the breast and your roasting temperature. Average cooking time is 18 minutes per pound.
  9. Remove the breast and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.


Ideas for Leftover Turkey Breast:

Limits are not a thing for this versatile meat. Our favorites are roast turkey dinner and turkey sandwiches.

  • For simple roast turkey dinners, make a couple of simple sides, such as baked potatoes and steamed veggies.
  • Serve with simple turkey gravy and rice; just pour the gravy over the rice and meat…it's quite tasty.
  • Pour Hazelnut Buerre Noisette (from episode #70 Northwest Manicotti) over reheated turkey and then savor every bite — see this concept: Fun with Leftovers
  • When fully chilled, slice into ultra-thin slices and layer between 2 pieces of sourdough bread with a bit of brown mustard, mayonnaise, and lettuce. For a deluxe sandwich, add avocado, onion, and tomato.
  • Chop it up and add it to a green salad, toss it with pasta, or turn it into a soup.
  • Make stock! Here's a primer: how to make stock.  Simply work with the chicken stock formula, subbing some or all of the chicken bones with the turkey breast bones.

For more fun with Turkey, please see:
Episode 77. Turkey Schnitzle with Portobello Reduction and Cran-Shallots, Warm German-Style Potato Salad, and Baby Stuffed Peppers
Episode 32. Medieval Turkey

Turkey Breast Cooking and Reheating Tips:

  • Cook it on a rotisserie, which cuts down the cooking time by as much as 40 percent.
  • You can make it in advance. To store it, first let it cool completely, then cut the meat off the bone. It should almost peel off.
  • Be careful when reheating it — don't overdo it. Turkey dries out in the blink of an eye. Rewarm sliced leftover turkey by placing it in a pan with a thin layer water or stock. Cover with a tight lid. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then cut the heat. This will result in warm, moist turkey.
  • Make a big batch of gravy when you roast so that you have leftovers for sandwiches and easy meals.

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