First, raise your hand if the thought of cooking an entire turkey for Thanksgiving makes you break out in an anxious sweat. There is absolutely a time and a place for cooking a whole bird, but it’s usually the star of the show when you’re feeding a very large crowd. If you’re hosting a holiday dinner — Friendsgiving, perhaps? — or cooking for a smaller group, this roasted whole turkey breast is the answer to your prayers!
The simple ingredients needed for this recipe:
- a bone-in, skin on turkey breast
- unsalted butter
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh sage
- sweet paprika
- white wine
- roasting pan or large cast iron skillet
- meat thermometer
How to roast a turkey breast
Let’s start with the most obvious question: should you roast a bone-in whole turkey breast or boneless?
9x out of 10, I prefer roasting poultry on the bone. It adds SO much flavor, you can’t even imagine. So regardless of whether I’m making chicken or turkey, if I’ve got the time to spare (because yes, roasting meat on a bone takes longer), than that’s what I’ll do.
What to roast a turkey breast in?
You can absolutely use a traditional roasting pan (with or without a rack) like you would when cooking a whole turkey, or you can use any smaller oven-safe pan with sides high enough to catch the drippings, but not too high that air doesn’t circulate. For instance, a cast iron skillet works great, but a traditional dutch oven’s sides are a bit too tall.
Can you stuff a turkey breast?
If you use bone-in, you sure can! Which is reason enough to ditch the boneless breast. Go ahead and grab the recipe to your favorite homemade stuffing and STUFF away!
Why I cover my turkey with a cheesecloth.
Simply put, if you cover a turkey with cheesecloth while roasting, any basting liquids you add will have a better chance of adhering to the skin of the poultry and, in turn, creating a crispier, more evenly browned crust. JUST DO IT.
Cook time for a bone-in turkey breast
The turkey breast will cook at 375 F for 15 minutes per pound, but I always like to throw the bird into an oven that’s preheated to a higher heat (450 F) before dropping the temperature immediately.
When the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast has reached 165 F or just below, it’s fully cooked. I say ‘just below’ because the turkey breast will rest for at least 15-20 minutes before carving, and meat continues to cook even after you pull it from the oven.
If cooking a boneless turkey breast, reduce cook time to 12 minutes per pound.
Can you roast a frozen turkey breast?
If you’re starting with a frozen whole turkey breast, let it defrost in a refrigerator for a full 24 hours before cooking. This should allow enough time to fully defrost.
However, if you wake up the morning of Thanksgiving and realize that you forgot to thaw your whole turkey breast – don’t panic! You can roast a frozen turkey, however the cooking time will need to increase likely by 50%. A meat thermometer is your best friend. Remember, turkey is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
Best way to carve a whole turkey breast
If you’ve stuffed the bird, first scoop out the stuffing and place into a serving dish. Once the turkey breast has rested for at least 15-20 minutes, place on a large cutting board.
Second, use a large sharp knife to cut down one side of the turkey breast, keeping the knife as close to the bone as possible. Next, use your other hand or a carving fork to pull the breast meat away from the bone as you slice until completely separated. Repeat with meat on other side of breast.
Once removed, lay each turkey breast flat, cut side down, on your chopping block. Slice into 1/4″ thick slices, then place on a platter for serving.
Best ever turkey gravy
I’m a big believer in keeping things simple. When it comes to cooking turkey of any type, my basting liquid of choice is white wine and butter. Every. Single. Time.
Follow this simple (and proven) mathematical equation for creating an epic turkey gravy:
melted butter + white wine + herbs/spices of your choice
Pro tip: dip your cheesecloth in the white wine gravy before placing on top of turkey breast! It’ll absorb the basting liquid better.
Seriously guys, forget Butterball!! This whole oven roasted turkey breast is the quickest, most flavorful way to get a turkey on the table without stressing. And trust me when I say you’ll want to pour that white wine gravy on EVERYTHANG.
If you make this Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Gravy, please let me know by leaving a review below!
Looking for more fall favorites? Check out the following recipes!
Crispy roasted brussel sprouts
Bourbon-whipped butternut squash mash with crispy sage and parmesan
Herb-scented mashed potatoes
Cranberry walnut crostini with ricotta, butternut squash, and balsamic
Chocolate bourbon pecan pie
Roasted Whole Turkey Breast with White Wine Gravy
- Cast iron skillet or dutch oven
- 1 6-7 lb bone-in turkey breast
- 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage finely chopped
- 1 large shallot minced (about 1-2 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 whole head of garlic sliced in half
- 1 lemon halved
Additional equipment needed:
- roasting pan or large skillet
- meat thermometer
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- In a medium sauce pan, add butter, sage, shallot, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Turn heat to medium, then cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and shallots have softened, about 2 minutes. Add white wine, increase temperature to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Rinse turkey breast under cool water then pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey in a roasting pan or in a large skillet. Unfold cheesecloth and wrap evenly around the top and sides of the turkey. Pour about half of the melted butter mixture (~1 cup) on top. Add sliced head of garlic and lemon halves to pan.
- Place turkey in oven, then immediately reduce the temperature to 375 F. Baste the turkey with leftover melted butter every 20 minutes. When you run out of liquid, simply baste the turkey with the jus in the bottom of the pan. Turkey needs 15 minutes to cook per lb. Begin checking a 6 lb turkey close to the 2 hour mark. Turkey is fully cooked when an internal temperature of 165 F is reached.
- Remove turkey from oven and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes before carving. When ready, transfer turkey to a cutting board to slice.
- Meanwhile, strain gravy at the bottom of the pan and serve as is on the side.