How To Cook A Turkey Breast In The Oven

How To Cook A Turkey Breast In The Oven

Turkey breast is one of the most versatile and delicious cuts of meat, and cooking it in the oven is a simple yet effective way to bring out its natural flavors and ensure a moist and tender result. Whether you’re preparing a Thanksgiving feast or a hearty weeknight meal, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook a turkey breast in the oven for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Step 1: Prepare the Turkey Breast
Before cooking, it’s important to properly prepare the turkey breast. Start by preheating your oven to 325°F (165°C). While the oven is heating up, rinse the turkey breast under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Season the turkey generously with salt, pepper, and your desired herbs or spices. Consider using a blend of rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder for a classic and savory flavor.

Step 2: Choose the Right Pan
Select a shallow roasting pan that will allow the heat to circulate around the turkey breast evenly. A metal or glass pan with a wire rack is ideal for creating the perfect crust and promoting even browning. If you don’t have a wire rack, you can place the turkey breast directly on the pan, but be sure to turn it over halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking and browning.

Step 3: Arrange the Turkey Breast
Once your turkey breast is seasoned, place it in the roasting pan, skin side up. For added flavor and moisture, consider adding some aromatics to the pan, such as roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery. These vegetables will release their flavors into the turkey breast as it cooks, resulting in a more flavorful final dish.

Step 4: Cook the Turkey Breast
Place the roasting pan with the turkey breast in the preheated oven. The cooking time will vary depending on the weight of your turkey breast. As a general guideline, allow approximately 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey breast. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for a fully cooked turkey breast. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone for an accurate reading.

Step 5: Rest and Carve
Once the turkey breast reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Allow the turkey breast to rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Resting is crucial as it allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more tender meat. While the turkey breast is resting, you can use this time to prepare any side dishes or gravy.

Once rested, transfer the turkey breast to a cutting board and carve it into thin slices. Serve immediately with your favorite sides or create delicious sandwiches or salads using the turkey leftovers.


1. Can I cook a frozen turkey breast in the oven?
Yes, you can cook a frozen turkey breast in the oven. However, cooking times will be significantly longer. It is recommended to thaw the turkey breast before cooking for more even cooking and better results.

2. How long should I brine the turkey breast?
Brining is optional but highly recommended to enhance the flavor and juiciness of the turkey breast. If you choose to brine, allow the turkey breast to soak in a brine solution (saltwater) for at least 8 to 12 hours. Rinse and pat dry before seasoning and cooking.

3. What can I do if the turkey breast is overcooking or drying out?
If you notice the turkey breast is overcooking or drying out, you can baste it with a mixture of melted butter and chicken broth during the cooking process. This will help to keep the turkey moist and add extra flavor.

4. Can I use a boneless turkey breast instead?
Absolutely! The cooking instructions remain the same for a boneless turkey breast. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the weight of the meat.

Cooking a turkey breast in the oven is a straightforward and satisfying way to enjoy this flavorful protein. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a deliciously moist and tender turkey breast that will impress your family and friends. Whether it’s a special occasion or a casual weeknight dinner, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen.

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