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Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Butter

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A roasted turkey breast is the perfect size for a small, scaled-down Thanksgiving dinner. Our roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter is tender, moist, and flavorful.  All of this is achieved by using a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast and roasting it with a generous amount of our compound butter.  The result is crispy skin with moist and juicy turkey breast.

A sliced turkey breast on a serving platter with herbs.

The fresh herbs, garlic, and seasonings in the compound butter contribute so much great flavor to this turkey breast. Spreading the butter under the skin of the turkey is key to this amazing dinner. This will be your go-to turkey breast recipe! It’s easy to make and delicious.

Why this is the best roasted turkey breast :

Our roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter will become a staple in your meal rotation, especially around the holidays! Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • The turkey breast is tender and flavorful
  • You need less than 10 ingredients to make it
  • It’s easy to prepare and comes together fairly quickly
  • Turkey breast is a lean and healthy cut of meat
  • There are many creative and delicious ways to transform leftovers
  • The turkey gets basted with the garlic herb butter while it roasts and infuses it with sensational flavor.

Ingredients needed for roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter:

Here’s a shopping list for the turkey breast:

  • Bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary sprigs, fresh
  • Thyme leaves, fresh
  • Sage sprigs, fresh
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
Ingredients used to make a roasted turkey breast.

For the Garlic Herb Butter:

The compound butter can be made in advance with either salted or unsalted butter and finely chopped FRESH herbs. Make a little extra of this butter and save for your favorite chicken or fish recipe.

  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Table Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Sage sprigs
  • Rosemary leaves
  • Thyme leaves

How to make roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter

Here are the basic steps to follow. Make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for full details:

  1. Prepare the pan: Scatter garlic and fresh herbs in a 9×12, lightly oiled oven-proof dish. Add a cup of water or broth and place a roasting rack on top.
  2. Make the butter: Stir the softened butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs together.
  3. Prepare the turkey: Use a spoon and your fingers to spread the garlic-herb butter under the skin of the turkey. Place on the roasting rack, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a dusting of paprika.
  4. Roast turkey:  Roast th turkey until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 155°F. The cooking time varies depending on the size of your turkey breast.  We roasted our 7-pound turkey breast for 90 minutes which is 13-minutes per pound.

After the turkey breast is finished roasting:

  1. Let turkey rest: Remove the turkey breast from the oven, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. The turkey breast will continue cooking with residual heat. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F before serving.
  2. Serve: Carve and serve with your favorite side dishes.
Four photos showing how to make a roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter.

How to Carve a Bone-In Turkey Breast:

Let’s begin by setting the turkey breast upright on the carving board.  With a sharp knife, cut along one side of the turkey breast, from top to bottom, right next to the bone.  With your hands, gently pull the breast meat away from the bone.  Use the knife to scrape next to the bone where it sticks to rescue as much of the breast meat as possible.  Repeat the procedure on the other side of the bone. (Don’t discard the bone carcass, save it for a delicious turkey vegetable-farro soup).

Place one of the sides of breast meat, skin side up and cut across the meat into serving slices.  Transfer to a serving platter and repeat with the other half of the turkey breast.  Garnish the platter of turkey with sprigs of fresh herbs.  

Serve with sourdough stuffing, mashed potatoes and our homemade cranberry sauce.  Enjoy!

Four photos showing how to carve a turkey breast.

Tips for recipe success

For a moist, tender turkey breast, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Make sure you use room temperature butter so that it mixes easily with the garlic and herbs. It will also spread smoothly on the turkey breast.
  • When spreading butter underneath the turkey breast, loosen the skin carefully and use your fingers to spread the butter.
  • To keep the turkey stable when spreading the butter, place several layers of damp paper towels on your work surface and set the turkey on it.
  • If the turkey is wobbly on the roasting rack, place crumpled wads of foil to help it stay upright.
  • Avoid overcooking the turkey by removing it when it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F.  If you roast the turkey when it reaches 165°F, then it will overcook during the rest time to 175°F or more and dry out.
A sliced turkey breast on a cutting board.

Frequently asked questions:

How do I make sure the turkey breast does not dry out?

Firstly, make sure you use a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. The extra fat from the skin helps prevent it from drying out. Secondly, let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. This helps it cook more evenly in the oven.

Lastly, remove the turkey breast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F. Let it rest and come to 165°F on the counter. If you follow all of these steps, your reward is a turkey breast with crispy skin, juicy and tender meat.

Can I use a boneless, skinless turkey breast?

While you could use a boneless, skinless turkey breast, you are missing out on so much flavor. The risks of ending up with a dry turkey breast are higher. Boneless turkey breasts take about 12 minutes per pound to cook to reach 155°F, resting for 20 minutes will bring the internal temperature to 165°F.

Can I substitute the turkey breast for bone-in, skin-on chicken breast?

Absolutely! This recipe is incredibly versatile. Chicken breast cooking time will be shorter, so pay close attention to your thermometer. Chicken breast is also safe to eat at 165°F, but make sure you take it out of the oven at 155°F. Let it rest to reach an internal temperature of 165°F before serving.

How should I store leftover turkey breast?

Leftover turkey breast can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

What should I do with leftover turkey breast?

Leftover turkey breast is delicious! For starters, you can make sandwiches, sliders, and turkey noodle soup. For a heartier option, bake a turkey pot pie or a baked turkey burrito casserole. Your options are limitless.

SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE

  • Ricotta Mashed Potatoes: These ricotta cheese mashed potatoes are a nice change to a regular dish of mashers. The ricotta cheese adds extra creaminess with subtle cheesy flavor to this old-time favorite.
  • Grapefruit, Mint and Fennel Salad with Pistachios: A refreshing citric salad to begin a festive dinner. Beautiful grapefruit sections, fresh mint, thin slices of fennel and red onion enhance this unique salad. Crunchy salted pistachios are scatter on top. The salad is tossed with a sweet/tangy citric vinaigrette.
  • Pumpkin Mousse: Our pumpkin mousse is light and fluffy and the perfect finish to a big Thanksgiving dinner! This easy, make-ahead dessert has all the flavors of a pumpkin pie and frees up your time in the kitchen to concentrate on the main meal.

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A sliced turkey breast on a serving platter with herbs.

Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Butter

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A crispy skin roasted turkey breast with garlic herb butter is the perfect size for a scaled-down Thanksgiving dinner.  We slathered a compound butter of garlic herb under the turkey skin for maximum flavor and a moist and tender feast.

Ingredients

For the Turkey:

  • 1 whole turkey breast, 6 to 7 pound, bone-in with skin
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

For the Garlic-Herb Butter:

  • 1/2 cup (1 cube) butter, softened
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator, unwrap it, pat dry with paper towels and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the lower third position.
  3. Coat a 9x12 pan or oven-proof dish with oil spray.  Scatter the garlic and fresh herbs on the bottom of the dish. place a rack over them and pour in a cup of water or broth, set aside.
  4. In a bowl, stir together the butter, garlic, salt, pepper and the fresh herbs. 
  5. Place the turkey breast on a work surface and loosen the skin carefully so that you don’t make any tears.  Scoop up portions of the garlic herb butter with your fingers and spread under the skin, covering as much of the breast flesh as possible.
  6. Place the turkey breast in the prepared dish, top side up on the rack.  Brush olive oil over the top and sides of the turkey breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper; then dust with paprika.  Insert a meat temperature probe in the thickest part of the breast and set the temperature at 155°F. (see Notes)
  7. Transfer the turkey to the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature to 350°F.  Roast for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes (or 13 to 15 minutes per pound). Use the thermometer as your guide to determine when the turkey is finished roasting.
  8. When the temperature on the thermometer reaches 155°F, remove the turkey from the oven. Transfer the turkey breast from the baking dish to a carving board, tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. The turkey breast will continue to cook while it is tented and the final temperature should be 165°F.

Notes

  • Tip:  To keep the turkey stable while smearing the herb butter beneath the skin, place several layers of damp paper towels on your work surface and set the turkey on it.  
  • If the turkey breast does not sit level or is wobbly on the roasting rack, place crumpled wads of foil in strategic areas to stabilize it so it stays upright.  
  • Check the turkey occasionally while it is roasting and if it is browning too quickly, place foil over the breast.
  • For a moist, tender turkey breast, remove the turkey from the oven when the thermometer reaches 155°F.  The turkey will continue to cook from residual heat as it ‘rests’ and will reach the ideal temperature of 165° within 20-30 minutes.
  • The FDA says turkey is cooked when it reaches 165°F. If you roast the turkey until the thermometer reaches 165°F, then remove it from the oven and rest/tent it, the turkey will continue to cook from residual heat and rise to 175°F you risk a dry turkey breast.
  • Here is how to make gravy with the drippings in the pan. Deglaze the dish with 1/2 cup broth or wine, set a mesh strainer over a fat-separator pitcher or a dish, and strain the liquid, discarding the remaining garlic and herbs.  Transfer the drippings to a medium saucepan. Spoon off and discard as much fat as possible.  Use 3-4 tablespoons of the accumulated fat to make a roux with 3-4 tablespoons of flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes.  Add the strained drippings and 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth.  Cook and stir to thicken. Season with salt. Transfer to a dish and serve with the turkey.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 721mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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angiesrecipes

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Bone-in, skin-on turkey or chicken taste so much more flavourful. This looks fantastic, Pat.

Pat Nyswonger

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Thank you, Angie....Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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