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Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

by victor

Cranberry glazed turkey breast sliced on a brown cutting board.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, but not quite. It doesn’t matter. This cranberry glazed turkey breast recipe is so good that I make it several times a year, Thanksgiving or not. I’ve perfected this recipe to the point where a turkey breast comes out of the oven so juicy, so moist that it’s hard to believe that super lean turkey breast meat can be like that. It’s a must try recipe if you like turkey breast meat.

Another cool thing about this turkey breast recipe is that no brining or injecting is needed. And the turkey is cooked at a higher temperature of 375F. I wouldn’t normally go higher than 325F when baking chicken or turkey breast, especially when cooking skinless breasts. But in this recipe, the turkey breast meat is protected by skin and a thick layer of cranberry sauce.  The risk of meat drying out during baking is much smaller.

Cranberry glazed turkey breast in a white baking dish, juices on the bottom.

Brining or injecting is also good for flavoring the meat inside out. Since we are not doing that in this recipe, I add some chicken broth and butter in the baking dish to create a dipping sauce that can be used later with the meat. The broth and the butter also help keep the meat hydrated during baking and keep it from drying out.

Another thing that I do differently in this turkey breast recipe is that I bake the turkey breast to 155F. Why not the USDA recommended 165F? Well, let me refer you ThermoWorks’ Cooking Chicken to the Correct Temperature blog post.  When I stumbled upon their post and did some additional research on this I realized that I’d been cooking my chicken and turkey incorrectly all along! I changed my approach and my chicken and turkey breasts now taste so much better. I could cook the meat to an even lower temperature, but personally, I like how the meat tastes at 155F. Pulled at this temperature, its super tender and moist.

That said, if you want to stay on the conservative side, bake your turkey breast to the recommended 165F. There is nothing wrong with that.

Besides, keep in mind that once you pull the turkey breast out of the oven its internal temperature will continue to rise by as much as 10 degrees. I pulled the turkey breast the in picture below at 155F and it finally stopped at 164F.

This is my go-to turkey breast recipe for Thanksgiving and any other time I crave cranberries. The turkey breast meat comes out super tender and juicy.

I used to love and praise my indispensable ThermoWorks Thermapen instant read thermometer, and use it while baking or roasting meat all the time. Not anymore! Not so long ago I’ve got into a habit of using my ThermoWorks thermocouple BBQ thermometer when cooking in the oven. It’s super convenient. I set the target temperature and it beeps to alert me when the food is ready, helping me avoid overcooking and saving me the effort of opening the oven multiple times to check the temperature.

Close up of cranberry glazed turkey breast slices.

If you have a BBQ thermometer give it a try in the kitchen oven. It will make your cooking much easier and stress free. It’s perfect for using with this turkey breast recipe. If you don’t have one, something like ThermoPro TP08 will be a great investment for kitchen use.

For the cranberry glaze not to be too dry, I split it in half and use the first half before I put the meat in the oven, and the other half about 15 minutes before the meat is done. I also sometimes cover the baking dish with foil at this time. This way I get a nice, thick layer of glazing on my turkey breast. If you want the glaze to be thin and caramelized, put all of the glazing on at the beginning and don’t foil unless the meat starts to brown too much.

 

Looking for more great turkey breast recipes? Check these out:

This is my go-to turkey breast recipe for Thanksgiving and any other time I crave cranberries. The turkey breast meat comes out super tender and juicy.

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast Recipe

5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry turkey, roasted turkey breast
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 455kcal
Author: Victor

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey breast (skin on, bone removed)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (at room temperature)
  • 4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

For cranberry glaze:

  • 1.5 cups cranberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or malt vinegar)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • To make the cranberry glaze, combine cranberries, honey (or maple syrup) and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the cranberries pop and become very soft, and the liquids start to thicken.
  • Remove the mix from the stove and pour into a sieve placed over a bowl. 
  • Using a spatula, push the pulp of the mix through the sieve and into the bowl, leaving skins and seeds behind. Set aside.
  • Now prepare the turkey breast. If the turkey breast has a bone, using a boning knife carefully remove the bone and discard it. Place the turkey breast into a baking dish. Prepare the spices.
  • Evenly rub the spices and salt all over the turkey breast. Pour the chicken broth into the baking dish. Put one small piece of butter on each of the walls of the baking dish.
  • Spread half the glaze over the top and sides of the turkey breast.
  • If using BBQ thermometer, insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast.
  • Place the baking dish on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully remove the baking dish from the oven, and spread the rest of the cranberry glaze over the meat. Cook for about 15 minutes more, or until the meat is fully done (internal temperature at the thickest part should read at least 155F). If you want the glaze to be softer and less caramelized, cover with foil during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or platter and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with your favorite side dish or steamed vegetables.
  • Save the juices from the baking dish, they are delicious. Use them to make gravy or use them as a dipping sauce for turkey meat or side vegetables.

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 826mg | Potassium: 665mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 7.3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3.5mg

This recipe was updated on October 1, 2017.

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16 comments

Sandra December 25, 2018 - 5:13 am

Im going to try this recipe but was wandering the wieght of the turket breast?

Reply
victor December 25, 2018 - 8:36 am

Mine was on a smaller end, about 2 1/2 pounds. For a larger one you will have to add just a touch more salt and cook a little longer.

Reply
Barb November 16, 2018 - 11:11 am

I made this cranberry glazed turkey breast for last Thanksgiving and it was a hit. I am making two this year by popular demand. Cheers!

Reply
FG September 20, 2018 - 9:41 am

Thank you so much for sharing. Made this turkey breast ahead of Thanksgiving to try it out and loved it. Will be making a couple of these breasts instead of a full turkey this year. Do you think I can bake two in the same pan? Will cooking time be affected?

Reply
victor September 20, 2018 - 9:59 am

Thank you for the compliment. I see no problem baking two breasts at the same time, just use a large roasting pan to avoid crowding. I suspect cooking time will increase, but I can’t say by how much. Just keep an eye on them and check the temp regularly after about 40 minutes.

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Maria August 31, 2018 - 3:21 am

What a delightful recipe, one of the best I’ve tried. The cranberry glaze was delicious and complemented the turkey perfectly. Highly recommend!

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Andy August 28, 2018 - 6:49 am

thanks for sharing! amazing recipe!

Reply
40 of the Most Festive Christmas Dinner Ideas Out There December 21, 2017 - 4:26 pm

[…] lot of my family are big fans of cranberry sauce, so I feel like with this Cranberry Glazed Turkey recipe you can combine two parts of your epic workload and maybe save yourself a bit of time. […]

Reply
Jessica November 22, 2017 - 11:22 am

Hello Victor I’m very excited too try this recipe this year!! Looks great but in the pictures it looks like you cooked to Turkey before adding the cranberry sauce?? I was also wondering I’ve seen that people are cooking their Turkey in a slow cookers would you think that this would come out good in a crockpot??

Reply
victor November 22, 2017 - 11:28 am

Jessica, half the sauce is applied before cooking and the rest about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking.

I haven’t tested this recipe in a slow cooker so I can’t speak to that. But I would be somewhat concerned about how that cranberry glaze sets in the steamy environment of a slow cooker.

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Melissa November 21, 2017 - 12:01 pm

This looks amazing!! I would like to try this and I was wondering if I had a turkey breast with the bone still what would change in this recipe ??

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victor November 21, 2017 - 12:05 pm

Thank you. No, I removed the bone to make it easier to slice after cooking but its OK to keep it and nothing would change. Perhaps the cooking time will be off by a few minutes so keep an eye on the temperature closer to the end of cooking.

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Camilla r November 2, 2017 - 3:41 pm

Hello! My question is, let’s say I triple the recipe (I live in Italy and am doing this for thanksgiving), do you know hownmuch extra time I would add?

Thanks!

Reply
victor November 2, 2017 - 7:53 pm

Hello to you too! It’s hard to say as it would depend on your oven. I assume that you want to bake three turkey breasts at the same time, which should not be a problem. I would put all three on a large baking sheet and bake like that. It’s likely that because of the sheer volume of meat baking time will extend, but I don’t think it will by a whole lot. Since I never tested this I don’t have any idea by how much so I would recommend using a BBQ thermometer or an instant read thermometer.

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DeniseinVA October 11, 2017 - 4:08 pm

Hi Victor, so happy to be visiting your blog. I have not had to cook too many turkeys in my life, and someone suggested cooking a turkey breast. This recipe looks delicious so I am going to give it a try. Thank you so much!

Reply
victor October 11, 2017 - 4:52 pm

Hi Denise, you are very welcome. I am glad you that you will be trying this particular recipe – it’s one of my favorite, I like the cranberry glazing a lot. Let me know how you like it.

Reply