Roasted Turkey Breast


Roasting a whole turkey is no more difficult than roasting a whole chicken. The preparation is easy as well; not much more is required than seasoning and a little oil.

Perhaps, at least in the U.S., because the turkey is associated with Thanksgiving, people tend to only purchase turkeys for the “big” meal. And then, one feels obligated by their families to fix a stuffing or two, and all of the other side dishes that are expected on the Thanksgiving table. And that doesn’t include organizing hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and desserts. It’s a lot of work.

It’s sad, really. Because in reality, the roast turkey requires the least amount of time and attention compared to all of the other Thanksgiving dishes. One just has to estimate when the turkey is done, so as to time everything for the dinner table.

But I think once Thanksgiving is over, we tend to forget about the delicious turkey because we associate it with all of the hard work involved with the Thanksgiving meal.

Where I live, whole turkeys are only available prior to Thanksgiving. And that’s the case online as well, from my experience.

This year I planned ahead, sort of. When I purchased my Thanksgiving turkey from Lobel’s* in New York City (, I also bought a couple turkey “breasts.” The legs and wings have been removed, so you’re left with a breast-meat-only dismembered turkey. I only bought two, but that’s two more than I would have in my freezer post holidays.

I personally prefer dark meat, but my husband eats more meat than I do, so I got these turkey breasts more for him. And it doesn’t kill me to make a little sandwich with leftover turkey.

So we’re just in to the New Year, 2014, and I decided to roast one of these turkey breasts. Or, I guess you’d refer to these as two turkey breasts…

I’d love to offer you the pricing for this beast, but there’s no information online anymore. It disappeared. Once Thanksgiving is over, that’s it for turkeys! Perhaps I shall start some kind of write-in campaign to get turkeys year around! I think it’s sad that they only make an appearance once a year.

I actually contacted Lobel’s email service to see what they said about the availability of turkeys, and this is the response I received:

“Thanks for getting in touch about Lobel’s. The demand for their turkeys is heavily centered on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, which is why they are only offered in November and December.”

Okay, so maybe it was a dumb question. But I like turkey. If it’s properly cooked.

The key to cooking turkey, whether whole or sliced into cutlets, is to not overcook them. I think turkey might have a bad reputation as being dry, although turkey meat is only dry if overcooked. As in the case of my mother in law’s turkey, but that’s another story.

If you ever come across one of these turkey breasts, they’re worth a good roasting. I was very happy with the results.

Roasted Turkey Breasts


Thaw the turkey breast(s) out completely. I let mine get to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the turkey breasts in a roasting pan and cover with oil. Then season generously with salt, garlic pepper and pepper. Or, use what you prefer.


Begin roasting the turkey, and after 30 minutes or so of good browning, reduce the heat to 350 degrees. All of these directions of course depend on how precise your oven is, and at what temperature the turkey was when you put it in the oven. That’s why a good meat thermometer is a must. I remove turkey from the oven when the thermometer reaches 155 degrees.

Mine was done exactly one hour after I put it in. So don’t start poking the turkey with the thermometer after only 30 minutes. Give it some time. However, don’t let the turkey overcook, either. Then it will be a sad, dry mess. You’ll have to put it all in a soup to moisten the meat in order to choke it down.

My turkey breast(s) looked like this when it was done.

Let it rest, just like you would a roast chicken, before slicing it.

With this cut there are no legs or wings to remove. Simply slice along the middle bone, called the keel bone, that runs in between the breasts. Slice as far as you can downward, parallel to this bone. Then turn the breast sideways and cut perpendicularly towards your slice. You are left with a beautiful breast, that you can then slice crosswise for make beautiful, manageable pieces for serving.


If you prefer, remove the skin first. See how moist the turkey is?


And if you’re like me, it’s way more fun to enjoy the turkey in a fun sandwich, like on a jalapeno ciabatta bun, with melted Swiss cheese, and a cranberry-walnut salsa. Thank you Emita, for the fabulous salsa!


All of us turkey lovers just have to figure out how to get turkeys year ’round!


* I have purchased organic, free-range turkeys ever since we could afford to, and the difference between these and store-bought turkeys is astounding. Lobel’s has always produced a good turkey, as has D’artagnan. They don’t even need brining.

34 thoughts on “Roasted Turkey Breast

    • We had to go to my mother in law’s for about ten years in a row, and it was ghastly. She’d start cooking it at 3 in the morning. Horrible. She couldn’t cook anything else, either, but was very insulted when I offered to bring my own dishes!

  1. I don’t like the dark meat very much… so turkey breast is my best bet. The turkey breasts you found are pretty darn BIG! Quick story – we raised turkey one year when we had our farm in Quebec. They were so huge I had to cut the breast in half and that half took up the entire roasting pan. I wish I could include a photo…. maybe sometime I’ll post the photos.

  2. I never roasted a turkey breast only, I also prefer dark meat, but the idea of having a roast turkey breast all sliced up and ready for sandwiches is great…

    I think we still have a little package in the freezer with leftovers from our TXG dinner – good that you reminded me of turkey, I better plan to use that up soon

    • I have enjoyed nibbling on the turkey. It’s properly cooked, if I may say so myself! Otherwise I wouldn’t eat it at all. Glad you still have leftovers!

  3. You are so right. After Thanksgiving this year, I vowed to cook a turkey breast periodically this year. Soo good!

    • Isn’t that funny! It’s because turkey is so good! I can find turkey tenderloins and turkey cutlets at the local grocery store, but I real love the whole bird. Oh well!

  4. Quality turkey breast fillets are available all year round in Melbourne. They’re delicious cooked in all the same ways you prepare chicken breast. We don’t roast a turkey for Christmas, the weather is too hot, so we eat it throughout the year. I’m going to look out for it on the bone in the cooler months and enjoy a roast dinner. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. We had an enormous 8kg free range turkey breast for Christmas lunch this year. Brined and roasted it wasbeautifully moist and fed 16 for lunch with enough leftovers for our traditional Boxing Day toasted sandwiches. One of my daughters refuses to eat turkey so I popped a spatchcock in the oven for the last 30 minutes. That tiny spatchcock looked hilarious sitting on a platter against the turkey. I totally agree with you Mimi turkey is so very easy to roast. My butcher takes orders all year round. This year’s bird came from one of his favourite suppliers in South Australia. So strange to think turkeys are only available at Thanksgiving in the US.

    • Nice! I really do think I need to start a campaign to get turkeys available year round!
      What is a spatchcock to you? Here, spatchcocking is what we do to a bird, by removing the backbone, to make it lay flat which is better for roasting or grilling on a flat surface. Is it a specific little bird?

      • Our spatchcocks are little chickens the size of small poussins. We would “butterfly” a chicken to flatten it out rather than “spatchcock” it although I have occasionally heard the term here.even here. Isn’t it funny how the same word can mean something entirely different depending on where you are. I have only just realised that an English satsuma is a citrus fruit rather like our mandarins or tangelos. And I always thought they were a type of plum.

    • Well, it’s too late for that, but she really had no interest in cooking, so I don’t know why she insisted on being responsible for Thanksgiving dinner!

  6. Like you I prefer the dark meat so when I can I’ll grab turkey legs and roast them. Having said that it’s an age since I’ve managed to find them. It’s usually only mince/ground or turkey pieces that are available here all year. Better than nothing.

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