This roast turkey breast recipe is the answer to getting beautiful, never-dry turkey meat without too much hassle. No flipping, no basting, none of that! And I have a complete guide for fool-proof, extra juicy turkey breast with perfectly crispy skin!
Mediterranean spices, lots of garlic and fresh parsley take it to a new level of YUM!
Why roast turkey breast instead of the whole bird?
Turkey is hands-down the prized holiday meat here in the States. And for the health-conscious, it's a great lean-protein for any night of the week!
But why would you want to roast just the breast as opposed to the whole bird?
For some with smaller families like myself, roasting a whole turkey is not necessary. If you're hosting a smaller dinner, one-half roast turkey breast will easily feed up to 6 people. Or maybe you just want great, juicy turkey for lunch sandwiches or to add on top of your orzo salad.
Whatever the reason, this recipe will come in handy!
How many minutes per pound should you cook a turkey breast?
First, what temprature you roast the turkey breast will determine how long you need to roast it.
At 350 degrees F, you can roast the turkey for about 15 minutes per pound or until the turkey juices run clear. Turkey breast is cooked when it's internal tempature reaches 165 degrees F. But, I like to take it out of the oven when the temprature reads somehwere between 150 to 155 degrees F, then I cover it losely and let it sit for a few minutes (it will continue to cook and the temp will eventually rise).
How to cook a turkey breast: Tips and tricks
- Salt the Turkey in Advance. Start by seasoning the turkey with a lower-sodium kosher salt all over (and get underneath the skin too). Leave it at room temprature for 30 minutes while you do other things. Even better, if you have the time, generously salt the turkey breast and chill uncovered in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
What does salting do? Salt does it's quiet work of tenderizing and flavoring the turkey meat, and if you let it air-chill for a few hours, the circulating air dries out the skin so that it cooks up to perfectly golden and crispy (I do the same trick with my spatchcocked chicken recipe.)
But like I said earlier, if you don't have a ton of time, even salting the turkey meat for 30 minutes before roasting will help the flavor and texture.
- Add More Flavor. because who likes bland turkey?! We do a couple things in this recipe to amp up the flavor. First, 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, follow that with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, garlic (a whole head, minced) and fresh parsley.
Oh yes, this is not a one-note turkey breast!
- Heat your oven to high then reduce to 350 degrees F. 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 ½ x 13-inch baking dish to act as a bed for the turkey breast.
But what temprature is best to roast 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, as soon as you put the turkey in quickly turning the heat down to 350 degrees F so that the meat will cook nice and easy from there.
You'll roast the turkey for 30 to 45 minutes (depneding on the size) or until a thermometer instered in the thickest part registers 150 to 155 degrees F.
- Allow the Turkey Breast to Rest Before Serving. When you take it out of the oven, it's a good idea to cover the turkey loosley with some foil and leave it undisturbed for 15 minutes or so. This allows the juices to redistribute, and the temprature of the meat will rise to 165 degrees F.
How long will it keep? Leftovers & storage
If you end up with leftovers (or if you make more by doubling the recipe. See notes), you can easily store leftovers for later use. Refrigerate in a tight-lid glass containers for up to 4 days. Or divide leftovers into individual portions and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Use cold or warm.
What to serve along?
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.
If you want something light and flavoful , serve the turkey with a big salad
JOIN MY FREE E-MAIL LIST for weekly meal plans and more!
Juiciest Garlic Herb Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
- 2 ½ lb bone-in turkey breast this would be ½ 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
- ½ 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 the Turkey. Pat the turkey breast dry and season with kosher salt on both sides (be sure to carefully lift the skin up and season with salt underneath as well.) Set aside at room temprature for 30 minutes BUT, if you have the time, chill the turkey in fridge uncovered for 2 hours or overnight (see notes).
- Roast the grapes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Add the grapes to a 9 ½ x 13 baking pan (mine is cast iron like this one <- affiliate link). Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt. Roast in the heated oven for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer the grapes to a plate for now. Leave the oven on.
- Flavor the Turkey with the 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 ⅓ to ½ 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.)
- Assemble the Turkey Breast in the Pan. In the same pan you used earlier, add the shallots and celery to make a bed for the turkey. Simply season with kosher salt and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil. Place the turkey breast on top.
- Roast the Turkey Breast. Put the turkey pan on the middle rack of the heated oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. Roast for up to 45 minutes or until its internal temperature registers somewhere between 150 to 155 degrees F. Check occassionally, if at some point during roasting, you notice the turkey skin turning too dark, cover it with foil and continue roasting.
- Add Grapes Back In. Closer to the end of your roasting time, carefully remove the turkey from the oven to add in the grapes. Return to the oven very briefly so the grapes warm through (if your turkey needs a little bit of color, stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes and watch carefully).
- Remove from Oven and Let Rest Briefly Before Serving. Cover the turkey loosley with foil and let turkey rest undisturbed for about 15 minutes before slicing through to serve. The turkey meat will continue to cook and its internal temparture should rise to 165 degrees F.
- To Carve or Slice the Turkey Breast. Transfer the turkey breast to a clean cutting board. Start 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.
- Make sure your turkey thawed before cooking. It will typically take 1 day or so to thaw out in the fridge.
- Salt the Turkey Breast First. Do not skip salting the turkey. If you have the time, salt and refrigerate the turkey uncovered for 2 hours or even overnight or for at least 30 minutes at room temperature while you work on other things. The kosher salt will do its work of tenderizing and flavoring the turkey. And if you do end up chilling it uncovered, the circulating air will dry up the skin some which will help it cook to a cripsy golden brown while the tukey breast stays nice and juicey.
- To Double The Recipe. If you are planning to feed more people, you can use a whole turkey breast in this recipe rather than ½ 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.
- The roasted grapes are optional and are not included in nutrition information (with grapes: 306 calories). If you skip the grapes, still, heat the oven to 450 degrees F to start with and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F when you insert the turkey in the oven.
- 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.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2018 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!