Best Holiday Roast Turkey Breast is a smaller and more simple main course classic recipe that’s flavor-packed, juicy, and tender.
The quintessential Thanksgiving main course is made super simple and easy for roasting a turkey breast. This Best Holiday Roast Turkey Breast recipe is juicy and flavorful. An instant-read thermometer is essential for the perfect doneness.
If you have a large turkey to cook for Thanksgiving, you need to have it thawing now! See chart below for thawing times.
Best Holiday Roast Turkey Breast
How should I thaw a turkey?
Thawing a turkey in the refrigerator is the preferred method. Allow one day for every five pounds.
How can I quickly thaw a turkey when time has run out?
There are two ways to thaw your turkey faster—in cold water, or in the microwave oven. If you use one of the quick methods just be ready to cook the bird as soon as it’s thawed.
- Cold Water Thawing – Allow about 30 minutes per pound. Be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water. Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
- Microwave Thawing (I recommend this method ONLY in an emergency) – Follow the microwave oven manufacturer’s instruction when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.
How much turkey per person?
I recommend you allow 1 and 1/2 pounds of turkey for each person. For smaller birds with more bone to meat ratio, allow 2 pounds for each person. For a breast-only bird (no legs), as I roasted, allow 1 pound per person.
Can I freeze leftover turkey?
Yes, a frozen turkey is safe to cook and eat. You can keep a turkey frozen indefinitely. However, I suggest to it cook it within 1 year for the best quality. For cooked turkey, consume within 3 months of freezing.
An alternate cooking method for turkey is to smoke it. I love love love smoked turkey! This Traeger Smoked Turkey recipe is a favorite.
Best Holiday Roast Turkey Breast
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- 5-6 pound turkey breast on the bone thawed, innards removed, rinsed in cold water, and patted dry
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, mustard, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Rub the mixture evenly over all the skin of the turkey breast. You can also loosen the skin and smear half of the paste underneath, directly on the meat. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Check the breast after an hour or so; if the skin is browning too much, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
- When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with the pan juices.