This roast turkey breast recipe is the answer to getting beautiful turkey meat without too much hassle. No flipping, no basting, not a whole lot of fuss. And I have a complete guide for fool-proof, extra juicy turkey breast…with perfectly crispy skin, of course!
Mediterranean spices, lots of garlic and fresh parsley take this humble turkey breast to a new level of YUM!
Why Roast Turkey Breast and Not the Whole Darn Bird?!
Turkey is hands-down the prized holiday meat here in the U.S.A. And for the health-conscious, it’s a great lean-protein for any night of the week. But why would you want to roast turkey breast as opposed to the whole bird?
For some of us (that’s me), roasting a whole turkey is not necessary. If you’re hosting a smaller dinner, one-half roast turkey breast will easily feed 4 people (maybe even 6). Or maybe you want to have extra roast turkey for a larger dinner. Or maybe you just want great, juicy turkey for lunch sandwiches. Whatever the reason, this roast turkey breast recipe will come in handy!
How to Cook a Turkey Breast: Tips and Tricks
1- Salt the Turkey in Advance. If you have the time, generously salt the turkey breast and chill uncovered in the fridge for 2 hours or even overnight (I use a lower-sodium kosher salt.)
Here’s why I do this. Salt does it’s quite work of tenderizing and flavoring the turkey meat, while the circulating air dries out the skin The constantly circulating air dries out the skin so that it cooks up golden and glassy…the crispiest! (I shared this tip before with my spatchcocked chicken recipe.)
If you don’t have a ton of time, even salting the turkey breast 30 minutes before roasting will help the flavor and texture.
2- Add More Flavor. because who likes bland turkey?!
In this turkey breast recipe, I rub a few warm Mediterranean spices–allspice, paprika, and a hint of nutmeg— all over the turkey (and please don’t forget to apply the spice rub underneath the skin, so important for flavor!) Then I follow that with a mixture of EVOO with garlic (a whole head, minced) and fresh parsley. Oh yes, this is not a one-note turkey breast!
3- Tip for Roasting Turkey Breast. For this recipe, since it’s not the whole bird, you don’t need a roasting pan. I spread some shallots and celery in the bottom of a 9 1/2 x 13 baking dish, to act as a bed for the turkey breast.
After some experimenting, I’ve found that to achieve tender juicy turkey breast with crispier skin, first, heat the oven to a high 450 degrees F. This helps start the browning process, but then, quickly turning the heat down to 350 degrees F so that the meat will cook nice and easy from there.
4- Before You Serve. One important thing to remember before digging into the roast turkey breast is to loosely cover and leave undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute.
How Long will this Roast Turkey Breast Keep?
If you end up with leftovers (or if you make more by doubling the recipe…see recipe notes), you can easily store leftovers for later use. Refrigerate in tight-lid glass containers for up to 4 days. Or divide leftovers into individual portions and freeze. Thaw in fridge overnight. Use cold or warm.
What to Serve along this Turkey Breast Recipe?
I took advantage of the heated oven and roasted some grapes (if you haven’t tried roasted grapes, you simply must). They’re a simple sweet touch that I like in lieu of cranberry sauce.
But the options for sides and salads to go along with turkey are endless. I love Greek potatoes (which you can prepare the night before and heat up before serving.) A big festive salad like Balela is definitely a plus!Print
- 2 1/2 lb bone-in turkey breast (this would be 1/2 of a whole turkey breast)
- Kosher salt (this is the one I use)
- 1 tsp/2 g ground allspice
- 1 tsp/2.3 g paprika
- 1 tsp/ 2.3 g ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp/ 1.2 g nutmeg
- 1 head garlic (about 14 cloves), peeled and minced
- Large handful of chopped fresh parsley (about 2 ounces)
- Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- 7 to 8 small shallots, peeled and halved
- 7 celery sticks, cut into large pieces
- 1 lb/450 g seedless red grapes
- Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Salt turkey. Pat turkey dry and season generously with kosher salt on both sides (be sure to carefully lift the skin up and season with salt underneath as well.) If you have the time, chill turkey in fridge uncovered for 2 hours (or overnight.) Or set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. (see recipe notes)
- If you have chilled the turkey, take it out and set it aside at room temperature while you work on the rest of the ingredients.
- Roast grapes. To do so, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add grapes to a 9 1/2 x 13 baking pan (this is the one I used.) Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt. Roast in heated oven for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer grapes to a plate for now. Leave the oven on.
- Flavor Turkey with Spice Mixture, Garlic and Fresh Parsley. In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Season turkey with spice mixture on all sides (again, carefully lift skin and rub spice mixture underneath.) In a large bowl, combine garlic, parsley and about 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Add the turkey into the bowl and apply the garlic and parsley mixture all over (again, very important to apply mixture underneath the skin.)
- Prepare Turkey Breast for Roasting. In the same pan you used earlier to roast the grapes, add shallots and celery to make a bed for the turkey. Simply season with kosher salt and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil. Place turkey breast on top.
- Roast Turkey Breast. In your already heated oven, position oven rack to the bottom third. Place the pan with the turkey breast in. Immediately lower heat down to 350 degrees F (from previous 450 degrees F.) Roast for 45 minutes or until turkey’s internal temperature registers 165 degrees F and it’s juices run clear (could be up to 1 hour.) If at some point during roasting, you notice turkey skin turning too dark, cover with foil and continue roasting (I ended up covering the turkey after 35 minutes of roasting.)
- Add Grapes Back In. At the very last 5 minutes of roasting the turkey, carefully add grapes back in the pan to warm through (this is optional, but recommended.)
- Remove from Oven and Let Rest. Cover very loosely with foil and let turkey rest undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- To carve, transfer turkey to a clean cutting board. Starting at the breast bone, and continue carving from there making sure to keep your knife close to ribs. Once the meat is off the bone, you can slice the breast crosswise into slices.
- See suggestions in the post or recipe notes below for what to serve along with this garlic herb roast turkey.
- Pro Tip. Your turkey breast should be fully thawed for this recipe. It will typically take 1 day or so to thaw out in the fridge.
- Pro Tip. Do not skip salting the turkey. If you have the time, salt generously and refrigerate the turkey uncovered for 2 hours or even overnight. The kosher salt will do its work of tenderizing and flavoring the turkey. And because it is chilled uncovered, the result is a juicy turkey with perfectly crispy skin. If you don’t have so much time, at least salt it for 30 minutes or so uncovered at room temperature while you work on other things.
- Pro Tip to Double The Recipe. If you are planning to feed more people, you can use a whole turkey breast in this recipe rather than 1/2 turkey breast. The method remains the same, but you can double the amount of spices and increase the garlic and fresh parsley mixture a bit to cover the full breast. It will take about 1 hour or a little more to fully cook. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temp registers at 165 degrees F.
- What to serve along.The options for sides and salads to go along with this turkey breast are endless. Greek roasted potatoes are a favorite (and you can do these the night before if you like and simply warm them through before serving.) This butternut squash quinoa; or this fall rotini pasta are also great options. And a big festive salad like Balela!
- Storing leftovers. If you’ve roasted turkey breast to use for sandwiches, for example, or if you have leftovers, you can refrigerate for later use. Store roast turkey breast in tight-lid glass containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Keywords: Turkey Breast, Roast Turkey Breast Recipe, How to Cook Turkey Breast