Hosting a smaller Thanksgiving? This Is How to Cook Your Turkey

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Roasting is nan easiest, simplest measurement to navigator juicy turkey breast.


Prep5 minutes

Cook1 hr to 1 hr 30 minutes

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Are you hosting a small, friendly gathering for Thanksgiving this year? Then perceive america out: You don’t person to fuss pinch cooking a full turkey. You tin conscionable roast a turkey breast. One half-breast aliases moreover a full turkey bosom makes much than capable for a mini statement of 4 to six. (And yes, you’ll still person plentifulness of pan drippings to make gravy.)

Turkey breasts are besides a cinch to roast. There’s nary flipping, nary basting, nary fuss. Here’s a look to show you really to do it, measurement by step.

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Ola Wadley

4 Reasons Why You Should Roast a Turkey Breast

A small-scale Thanksgiving isn’t nan only logic why you mightiness deliberation astir roasting a turkey bosom connected its own. Here are a fewer much times erstwhile turkey bosom is simply a bully idea.

  1. Extra achromatic meat: Does your family for illustration achromatic nutrient complete acheronian meat? Then roasting an other turkey bosom makes sense.
  2. A fewer other guests: If you person a fewer excessively galore guests for your turkey, but not rather capable to warrant a 2nd bird, past it’s turkey bosom to nan rescue.
  3. Trial run: If you’re reasoning of trying a caller spice rub aliases roasting method for Thanksgiving, but are tense astir really it mightiness work, do a proceedings tally pinch turkey breasts.
  4. Year-round turkey: A turkey bosom is nan cleanable size for a week’s worthy of sandwiches.

What Turkey Breast to Buy

Most market stores waste turkey breasts year-round. You’ll either find them successful nan thorax coolers aliases successful nan butcher’s show case. We urge bone-in and skin-on breasts, which is what we usage for this method.

How Much Turkey Breast to Buy

One (3-pound) half-breast will provender 2 to 4 people. A full (six- to seven-pound) turkey bosom (two breasts, still joined astatine nan bosom bone) will provender six to 8 people. This method will activity for either magnitude of meat.

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Ola Wadley

How to Prep a Turkey Breast for Cooking

  • Thaw it. Make judge to thaw your turkey breast earlier roasting. Generally, a wholly stiff turkey bosom will thaw successful astir 24 hours successful nan fridge. Once thawed, nan turkey tin beryllium kept refrigerated for respective days earlier roasting.
  • Brine it. Turkey breasts tin besides beryllium dry-brined aliases wet-brined, conscionable for illustration turkey. Be judge to commencement either of these methods nan time earlier you scheme to cook.
  • Cook it successful immoderate you want. I roast a turkey bosom connected a roasting rack successful a roasting pan to elevate it disconnected nan bottommost of nan pan. But because a turkey bosom is smaller, you don’t needfully person to usage a roasting pan. You tin besides usage an oven-safe skillet aliases immoderate baking crockery that will clasp nan breasts. Instead of a roasting rack, you tin roast nan turkey bosom complete thick-cut onions and potatoes (instant broadside dish!).

What’s nan Best Temperature for Cooking Turkey Breasts?

I navigator turkey breasts almost precisely nan aforesaid measurement I navigator a full turkey: I commencement it successful a basking 450°F oven to commencement nan browning, and past move down nan power to 350°F truthful that nan bosom nutrient cooks done slowly. Because it’s quicker to cook, I besides don’t fuss pinch basting.

How Long to Cook a Turkey Breast

Turkey bosom takes astir 20 minutes per pound to cook. The turkey bosom connected its ain will navigator much quickly than a full turkey, truthful commencement checking aft an hour. I urge checking nan soul somesthesia of nan turkey bosom aft an hr of roasting clip – you’re looking for nan somesthesia successful nan halfway of nan nutrient to registers astatine slightest 165ºF. If it’s not ready, return it to nan oven and proceed roasting, rechecking nan somesthesia each 10 to 15 minutes.

Roasting is nan easiest, simplest measurement to navigator juicy turkey breast.


  • 3 to 7 pounds

    thawed, bone-in, skin-on turkey bosom (1 half/split bosom aliases 1 full turkey bosom joined astatine nan bosom bone)

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted food aliases extra-virgin oliva oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly crushed achromatic pepper


  • Roasting pan, oven-proof skillet, aliases different baking crockery ample capable to clasp nan full breast

  • Roasting rack, aliases thick-cut vegetables to assistance nan bosom disconnected nan pan

  • Measuring spoons

  • Aluminum foil

  1. Transfer nan turkey to a roasting pan. Place nan turkey bosom connected a roasting rack group successful a roasting pan, aliases spot connected apical of vegetables successful a skillet aliases different baking dish. Set speech while nan oven heats.

  2. Preheat nan oven to 450°F. Arrange a oven rack successful nan bottommost 3rd of nan oven and power nan oven to 450°F.

  3. Rub nan turkey bosom pinch food and seasonings. Pat nan tegument of nan turkey bosom barren pinch insubstantial towels. Rub nan turkey bosom each complete pinch nan food aliases oil. If desired, loosen nan tegument and swipe immoderate food into nan nutrient nether nan tegument arsenic well. Season nan bosom each complete pinch brackish and capsicum (with immoderate nether nan skin, if desired). Rub nan seasonings into nan skin. If you're cooking a half-breast, propulsion nan tegument to screen nan nutrient arsenic overmuch arsenic possible.

  4. Lower nan oven to 350°F and roast nan turkey for 1 hour. Place nan turkey successful nan oven and instantly trim nan power to 350°F. Roast for 1 hour, past statesman checking nan temperature.

  5. Check nan turkey's temperature. The turkey is done erstwhile it reaches 165°F successful nan thickest portion of nan bosom meat. Start checking aft 1 hr of roasting and proceed checking each 10 to 15 minutes until nan bosom is cooked through.

  6. Cover nan turkey to forestall over-browning. If nan tegument complete nan bosom nutrient originates to brownish excessively darkly toward nan extremity of cooking, screen it pinch aluminum foil to forestall scorching.

  7. Rest nan turkey. When cooked, region nan turkey from nan oven and screen it loosely pinch foil. Let nan turkey remainder for 15 to 20 minutes; this gives nan juices clip to redistribute and nan turkey clip to patient up. (Pour nan drippings and juices from nan cookware into a measuring cup for making gravy!)

  8. Carve nan turkey. Transfer nan turkey to a cleanable cutting board. Starting astatine nan bosom bone, carve nan turkey. Continue carving, keeping your weapon arsenic adjacent to nan ribs arsenic possible, until nan full bosom is carved from nan bone; immoderate nutrient will still beryllium near connected nan bone. Once nary longer attached to nan bone, portion nan bosom crosswise into slices.

Recipe Notes

Seasoning options: Turkey breasts tin besides beryllium dry-brined, wet-brined, aliases seasoned pinch immoderate operation of herbs aliases spices desired.

Storage: Leftovers tin beryllium refrigerated successful an airtight instrumentality for up to 4 days aliases stiff for up to 2 months.