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Homemade Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

  If you are having a small gathering or if you just have the taste for turkey any time of the year, consider roasting a breast. The all-whi...


If you are having a small gathering or if you just have the taste for turkey any time of the year, consider roasting a breast. The all-white meat breast is the most popular part of the turkey in most households and they are much smaller and easier to cook than the whole bird.

Julian's Juicy Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey Selection

If you can get a fresh bone-in breast (not frozen) that's always best. American white turkeys are bred to have large breasts so they typically come in big sizes. A typical breast half makes four adult portions with no left overs. A 5-7 pound whole breast serves 4-6 adults with left overs.

Julian's Plated Turkey Dinner

If you are using supermarket (non-local) turkeys, look for free-range, non-GMO birds. Vegetarian diets are preferred without antibiotics. All of these characteristics make for the best tasting turkeys in the Cook's Illustrated "Best Supermarket Turkey" tasting.  Also avoid birds injected with a salt-based saline solution. This 'pre-brining' as they sometimes call it, causes the tissues to break down and you end up with meat that has texture issues. Whether buying a whole supermarket turkey or just the breast, I would recommend the Bell and Evans, Plaineville Farms and Marry's Free-Range as among the very best. Today I'm using a fresh breast from my local butcher who gets them at a farm here in Illinois, so they are always flavorful and free range. Fresh is always preferred over frozen. 

Salted and Ready to Refrigerate for 24-hours

Advance Preparation (24 hours before cooking)

Roasting the whole breast in your oven is challenging as it wants to fall over. Therefore, it's best to cut it in half and remove the backbone and use that for gravy base. Today I'm only doing a half breast, so this isn't an issue. Like all poultry, I use a dry salt rub 24 hours in advance of roasting, as this dry brine technique insures a juicy result. It does not make the turkey salty tasting.To do this, place the turkey breast, skin side up on a cutting board. Using your fingers, carefully loosen and separate the turkey skin from the breast(s) without removing or damaging it. Then rub 1-2 teaspoons of course salt all over the meat, under the skin. Turn the breast(s) over and salt the rib cage side. Lastly sprinkle a light dusting of salt onto the skin and put the breasts on a plate in the refrigerator uncovered for 24 hours.

Julian's Roasted Half Turkey Breast


Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Place the turkey breast(s) in a shallow pan, oven-safe dish or skillet. The breast should cover most of the surface without touching the sides. Do not use a deep roasting pan and do not put the breasts on a rack, as these will all for evaporation and burning of the drippings. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Brush melted butter evenly over the turkey and sprinkle with salt, pepper or other favorite seasonings.Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Roast until the breast is 130F degrees, about 1 hour.

Optional Stock: If you are planning to make gravy, now is the time to get that started. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan and brown the turkey back you removed from the whole breast. Add onion, carrot and celery (one small each, chopped) along with 4-5 cups of water to cover the bones. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for the remainder of the turkey breast roasting time (about 1 hour). Strain through a sieve and reserve the broth off heat but not refrigerated.


Remove the 130F degree turkey breast(s) from the oven and increase temperature to 500F degrees. When temperature is reached, put the turkey back into the oven and roast until skin is brown and crispy and internal temperature is about 160F degrees.   Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes.

Optional Gravy:  While the turkey rests, use the fat drippings from the turkey to make the gravy. To do this, you will need about 1/4 cup drippings. If the turkey didn't render this much fat, then add vegetable oil until you have 1/4 cup. Place the drippings in a skillet or sauce pan and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour evenlythe fat and cooking, whisking constantly until flour is coated with fat and browned, about 1 minute. whisking to scrape up any bits and cook has evaporated, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in stock prepared previously and cook over medium-high heat until it is reduced to about 2 cups (which takes about 20 minutes.)  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hope you enjoy 😍😍