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Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Butter

by victor

Well-browned turkey breast in a white baking dish garnished with fresh rosemary.

Roasted turkey breast is one of my favorite dishes, not only for Thanksgiving, and I am constantly experimenting with new cooking techniques and flavors for it. This recipe is definitely one of the best roasted turkey breast recipes I’ve ever tried. Ah, the wonders that garlic, butter and fresh herbs do to lean white poultry meat…

Prepared this way, the breast meat comes out of the oven very tender and moist, which is a huge accomplishment with such a lean type of meat.  The aromas of roasted garlic and herbs are irresistible, so be prepared to be uncontrollably cutting pieces off and devouring them, as if you just came off a hunger strike, before the turkey breast makes it to the dinner table.

Injecting turkey breast with infused butter for ultimate flavor

In this recipe a turkey breast is injected with butter infused with garlic and herbs. Did that make the meat taste greasy? Not at all! The butter made the lean meat taste extremely tender and moist, without greasiness. Besides, a lot of the butter will run out to the bottom of the pan, before and during roasting, so there won’t be a whole lot left in the meat. However, the buttery juices at the bottom of the pan proved to be so flavorful and delicious that we couldn’t resist using it as a dipping sauce.

Close up of a golden-brown turkey breast roast.

Turkey breast roasting temperature

The oven roasting temperature of 325F was chosen on purpose. As I mentioned in my  Slow Baked Chicken Breast post, I had experimented a lot before arriving at what I think is the optimal oven temperature for baking chicken breasts. Turkey breasts are not that much different and for them I use the same temperature.

Similarly, higher temperatures will dry out turkey breast meat. I would not go higher than 325F degrees. This temperature helps the meat retain its moisture and prevents it from drying out too quickly. Lower baking temperature doesn’t really add any other additional benefits.

Optimal final turkey breast temperature

I used to cook my turkey breasts to 165F and was quite happy with the results. After reading ThermoWorks’ blog post on correct chicken cooking temperature and doing some additional research, I changed my approach. I now cook lean turkey breast meat to 155F and love the much improved results.

155F is the temperature at which I get the exact texture that I enjoy. You may choose to go a little lower or higher depending on preference, and that’s absolutely fine. Note that if a turkey breast is pulled out of the oven at 155F the internal temperature will continue rising to about 165F. If you have a BBQ thermometer like many of us do, use it!  If not, get one! Something like a ThermoPro TP08 is a great, inexpensive tool every home kitchen will benefit from.

Roast turkey breast sliced, very juicy meat showing.

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

Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Butter

5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: roasted turkey breast, Thanksgiving turkey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 206kcal
Author: Victor

Ingredients

  • 1 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (about 2 - 2 1/2 lbs)
  • 8 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary (fresh, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme (finely ground)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (finely ground)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, garlic, rosemary, pepper and thyme.
    Roasted turkey breast - preparing butter for infusing with herbs and garlic. | ifoodblogger.com
  • Microwave the ingredients on high for 1 minute, or until the butter has fully melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave oven. Mix all ingredients really well and set aside for 5 minutes so the butter gets infused with the garlic and herbs.
  • Return the bowl back to the microwave oven and cook the mixture on high for another 30 seconds to ensure that the butter is fully liquefied.
  • Strain the butter mixture through a fine sieve. Save the garlic and the herbs.
    Roasted turkey breast - straining butter after infusing with herbs and garlic. | ifoodblogger.com
  • Place the turkey breast in a baking dish, skin side up. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the butter from accidentally squirting all over the kitchen. Fill the kitchen injector with the strained butter and inject the breast all over, in a diamond pattern, releasing about 1/4 - 1/3 of an ounce at a time.
    Roasted turkey breast - injecting infused butter into turkey breast. | ifoodblogger.com
  • Add the garlic and herbs that you saved earlier. Rub the garlic and herb mixture and the butter from the bottom of the baking dish all over the turkey breast.
    Roasted turkey breast - spreading herbs and garlic on top of turkey breast. | ifoodblogger.com
  • Evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt all over the breast and pat it down to make sure the salt sticks.
  • If using a BBQ thermometer (highly recommended), insert the probe into the thickest part of the turkey breast and connect to the thermometer.
    Roasted turkey breast - insert a BBQ thermometer into the turkey breast. | ifoodblogger.com
  • Bake at 325F for about 1 hour or so, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 155F. Brush the top of the breast with pan juices about 1 hour into roasting.
  • Remove from the oven and let the roasted turkey breast rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

If you want your roasted turkey breast to have nicely browned, crispy skin as shown on the pictures above, do the following:
1. Bake the turkey breast until internal temperature reaches about 10 degrees below the final temperature.
2. Brush the top of the breast with pan juices.
3. Turn on the broiler to low.
4. Continue cooking with the broiler function turned to low until the turkey breast's internal temperature reaches target temperature.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your turkey breast during broiling to prevent burning. If you see the skin has browned enough and the internal temperature has not hit the target, switch back from broil to bake, and cover the breast with foil.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1563mg | Potassium: 491mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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Leave a Comment

 

43 comments

Allison November 30, 2019 - 3:32 pm

My husband and I are newlyweds and this was our first year hosting Thanksgiving. Our family loved the turkey!! Will definitely be making this recipe again.

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victor November 30, 2019 - 6:50 pm

Very happy to hear that, Allison. Congratulations on your wedding!

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Roxy November 26, 2019 - 9:10 am

would you recommend dry brine-ing the turkey a day in advance?

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victor November 26, 2019 - 9:21 am

Roxy, it takes a couple of days to properly dry brine poultry, I would go with wet a wet brine instead in this case. If you brine, remember to adjust the salt in the recipe. I wrote about brining, including dry brining (at the end of the post). You may find that helpful.

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Nina Garner November 23, 2019 - 10:24 pm

I want to know if I have a 7lb breast do I triple cooking time?

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victor November 23, 2019 - 11:17 pm

The standard is 15 to 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F, to an internal temperature of 165F. That’s a rough approximation. To make things really easy, get one of these BBQ thermometers. They make cooking almost too easy. I have two, one for kitchen and one for backyard cooking.

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Ashley L November 18, 2019 - 4:09 pm

Last year I cooked this recipe for Friendsgiving, my holiday work party, and thanksgiving. Both groups are requesting I do it again this year! Old coworkers even texting me for the recipe. I can’t wait to do it again this year. I never loved turkey until I made it this way!!

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Jamie November 14, 2019 - 8:28 am

Can I do the injection/coating the night before and then roast the next day?

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victor November 14, 2019 - 9:01 am

Yes, you can. It will work just as well.

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Mike November 8, 2019 - 6:01 pm

What if I Wanted to do a whole turkey?

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victor November 8, 2019 - 6:54 pm

I haven’t done a whole turkey using this recipe but I don’t see a reason why you couldn’t. I would most likely butterfly (spatchcock) it, as it will cook more evenly and faster that way, and will have even browning across all top surface.

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Erin January 12, 2019 - 11:41 pm

I used this recipe to roast turkey breasts for Thanksgiving and it was AMAZING. Do you think this would have equally awesome results in a smoker?

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victor January 12, 2019 - 11:54 pm

Never tried this in a smoker so can’t really comment but sounds like a great idea.

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Emma November 23, 2018 - 3:20 pm

I don’t comment often but I needed to thank you for this great roasted turkey breast recipe!! My family enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got it saved as a favorite to make again in the future.

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Jannah November 22, 2018 - 6:17 pm

Can I use the drippings in the casserole dish to make gravy or will it be too greasy or buttery, any tips how to make it?

J

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victor November 22, 2018 - 6:19 pm

No, it wont’ be. Best gravy is made with butter.

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Berlena November 21, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Can this recipe work for a boneless turkey breast?

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victor November 21, 2018 - 10:34 pm

Yes, it will work with a boneless turkey breast. The bone protects the meat and keeps it moist, and so does the skin. You may find that boneless is a little less moist but that’s nit picking.

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Melissa November 20, 2018 - 8:17 am

I’m cooking a 6 lb double turkey breast. Do u recommend putting it in a v rack or breaking it down and putting in a casserole dish?

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victor November 20, 2018 - 1:48 pm

I would recommend breaking it up into two parts and bake in a casserole dish, leaving some space between the parts.

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jessi November 15, 2018 - 12:00 pm

If i am cooking 2 turkey breast in the same pan, would I double the time? Or use the same time listed?

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victor November 15, 2018 - 12:19 pm

Just because there will be more cold meat in the oven initially, I’d say the time will increase but not by much.

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Jessica November 6, 2018 - 2:34 pm

The recipe doesn’t say… do I need to use a roasting pan or can I just place it in a casserole dish?

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victor November 6, 2018 - 4:40 pm

A casserole dish will work perfectly well.

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Allison November 26, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Should the turkey breast be placed on a roasting rack?

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victor November 26, 2019 - 7:46 pm

I don’t put on a rack.

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Jay October 30, 2018 - 9:31 am

Not a bad turkey breast recipe at all. I made it last year and plan on making it for this Thanksgiving again.

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Sharon February 15, 2018 - 7:40 am

Made this turkey breast on Valentine’s (for the third time already) as both I and my hubby love it. The flavors are amazing and the meat is so succulent.

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Dena December 21, 2017 - 11:16 pm

Hi – I’m thinking of trying your recipe! Does the baking dish need to be covered with foil while turkey is cooking ?

Thanks

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victor December 21, 2017 - 11:25 pm

No, you bake uncovered. You only cover with foil if the top starts to brown too much before the internal temperature hits the target. I personally never needed it.

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Claudia November 23, 2017 - 6:55 pm

I usually don’t leave comments after making a recipe but this one deserves 10 stars ***** I made it tonight and everyone could not stop saying how delicious it was. Thank you! This is my Thanksgiving meal fron now on.

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victor November 23, 2017 - 7:26 pm

Hi Claudia! Thank you for taking time and posting your feedback. Your comment truly made my day! Come back again, I have several more really good turkey breast recipes I’ve been working on and will be posting them in time for next Thanksgiving (probably much sooner than that).

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Jennifer November 23, 2017 - 9:07 am

How would the cooking time/method change if I am using boneless turkey breasts?

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victor November 23, 2017 - 9:14 am

The cooking method should be the same, but the time may change a little. I never tested this so this only my speculation, but I would assume the cooking time will be slightly shorter. This is because you have a flatter piece of meat with a better contact with the bottom of the pan which allows for a more efficient heat transfer. If you have a BBQ thermometer (with a probe) use it and let the alarm tell you when its ready. Or insert a turkey thermometer and keep checking frequently.

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Melissa November 19, 2017 - 8:35 am

Hi Victor, if I get a 5 lb turkey breast, should I just double the recipe for the remaining items and double the cook time?

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victor November 19, 2017 - 9:36 am

Hi Melissa. Yes, with breast meat it’s a 1 to 1 scale. If you double the breast you would want to double the amount of infused butter.

As far as the cooking time goes, I don’t think it will necessarily double, though I’ve never tested myself. Most likely it will increase by about 20-30 minutes or so based on typical turkey breast roasting time tables. I’d say use a BBQ thermometer with a probe that will alert you – this is the easiest, or keep checking with an instant read thermometer.

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Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up – Eat. Drink. Lift. November 18, 2017 - 6:35 pm

[…] Roasted Turkey Breast with Infused Butter – IFOODBLOGGER […]

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Shaina November 17, 2017 - 11:04 pm

Hi!
I made this last year for Friendsgiving and everyone loved it. I want to make it this year but with a 14lb turkey. Would I just Times the recipe by 7?

Thanks!

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victor November 19, 2017 - 9:32 am

Hi Shaina, glad to hear that. I think multiplying by 7 would be a bit too much as with a whole turkey you get a lot of bones and wings/thighs/drums won’t take or need as much butter. I would say 3 (maybe 4) times the original recipe would be sufficient. If you feel it’s not enough you can always make more infused butter, it doesn’t take long to do that, but I feel you won’t be needing more.

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LL November 15, 2017 - 8:56 am

Do you think the results would be as good with a large turkey breast- like 10/12 lbs? Thinking about this for thanksgiving. Thanks!

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victor November 15, 2017 - 9:12 am

Hm, 10-12 lbs for a breast – that’s a seriously big bird. I don’t think there will be a big difference in results, if any, but the roasting time will be longer. I assume you are talking about a full breast here – two half breasts. I would make sure they are separated and cook them side by side with some space in between. Also, try to flatten them with your fist or a cast iron pan to get a more or less uniform thickness and you should be good to go.

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Lee-Anna November 2, 2017 - 4:28 pm

Do you think this would dry out if sliced and left in juices on the warm setting of a Crock-Pot? It would be prepared a few hours before serving.

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victor November 2, 2017 - 8:07 pm

Meat starts to lose moisture at a high rate after it reaches 150F. It starts to shrink and squeeze water out. Crockpot’s warm setting maintains the temperature of 145F-165F or 165F-175F, depending on the source. If left at in this temp range for a few hours breast meat will definitely lose quite a bit of moisture. Those buttery juices will mitigate the problem to a point. I would keep it in the crockpot whole and slice before serving if possible.

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