Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,305
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: cooking turkey breast help

@gardenman wrote:

Cooking just the breast makes it even easier to roast a turkey as the breast meat cooks faster than the dark meat, but with no dark meat the breast cooks pretty uniformly. Typically, to get the dark meat (thighs, legs) done properly you have to overcook the breast. With whole turkeys you either have to over cook the breast meat (or shield it in some manner) or undercook the dark meat (risky in poultry.) A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast will guide you in cooking it exactly the perfect amount of time. Start checking it a bit early in case your oven is hotter than expected, but when it hits the desired temp of 165 (or so) pull it out and you'll be good to go.


I  use the boring old Butterball method of the open roaster at 325 degrees. I tend to baste the bird simply because it gives me an excuse to peek in at it every so often. Most turkeys you buy will be pre-injected with self-basting liquids so they'll typically come out pretty darn moist no matter what. If you get one that's not been pre-injected you can always inject it yourself if you wish, but adding too much moisture can be worse than not enough.


I just use the old KISS (keep it simple, stupid) method of a slow refrigerator defrost. I typically put a full bird (10 lbs or bigger) in the fridge the Sunday morning before Thanksgiving and even then Thanksgiving morning there's still typically a bit of iciness as I'm cleaning out the bird. For just the breast I may move the defrost back a day or so. (I've got a 6.6 pound breast this year and it'll likely hit the fridge on Sunday or Monday depending on my mood.) On Thanksgiving I plop my trusty old rack in the bottom of the roasting pan. Spray it all down with cooking spray to make cleanup easier. Unbag the turkey or breat. Remove whatever stuff they have inside and rinse thoroughly. (I once got a turkey with nothing inside and I pretty much turned that poor bird inside out thinking they had to be hiding the neck and gizzards someplace.) Once rinsed and patted dry with paper towels the turkey goes onto the rack in the pan. I then use the better part of a stick of softened butter to rub over the skin of the bird. A bit of salt and pepper (which probably does nothing, but I do it anyway) and then into the preheated 325 oven to cook. I then decontaminate the kitchen using the Clorox Cleanup on anything and everything within five feet of the raw turkey. That lovely smell of Clorox is soon enough overtaken by the smell of the roasting turkey. 


My prep does get a bit complicated as I'm fighting off Callie, my younger Calico cat the whole time as she loves raw anything and feels she should have first crack at anything raw in the kitchen. I don't spray her with the Clorox, but pretty much everything else in the area gets sprayed down. I take my chances with her and contamination. Raw flounder, hamburger and turkey are huge attractions to Callie. If you've got any of them out (even raw pork chops) you've got a fight on your hands until it gets safely in the oven, or breaded, or hidden from her in some manner. Bear in mind she'll have two dishes of dry food and a dish of canned cat food down, and she gets a handfull of cat treats a couple of times a day, so she's far from starving, but raw meat/fish awakens the wildcat in her and she wants it! 



Loved reading your response!  Very informative, as well as humorous!!!  

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." - Steve Martin
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,051
Registered: ‎10-21-2010

Re: cooking turkey breast help


Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,993
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: cooking turkey breast help

@flbettyboop wrote:


@flbettyboop LOL!!! Sounds like something Justin Wilson would say.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,675
Registered: ‎10-25-2016

Re: cooking turkey breast help

[ Edited ]

@mollymaggie wrote:

Over the years I have heard all kinds of cooking techniques on cooking turkey  Brown bag, upside down slow temp etc  Has anyone found a way to cook a turkey breast that is flavorful and tender every time

Hi @mollymaggie,


You're right in that there are different ways of cooking it.


I have gotten helpful information from the Butterball turkey website.


I usually roast a bone-in turkey breast at the same temp. that I would roast a larger turkey.


I roast it at 325 degrees. I oil the skin a bit with some cooking oil so that it browns nicely, and then I season it lightly all over with salt and pepper. 


Once it starts to get to a golden brown color that I like, I then cover it gently with foil, or "tent it," as it's called, to finish cooking.


Depending on the size of the breast that you're roasting, it can take up to 2 and a half hours or more, to roast.


Last year I roasted a bone-in breast that was a little over 5 pounds in weight, and it took about 2 and a half hours to roast in my table top oven. 


Editing to add that my table top convection/toaster oven roasts and cooks a bit more slowly than a regular oven does.