Roast Turkey Breast

November 10, 2020

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Oven Roast Turkey Breast – it’s smothered in rich butter, savory herbs and vibrant garlic then roasted to golden brown perfection. Easy prep and delicious results! Perfect for your Thanksgiving meal.

Looking to make a full size turkey this year? Check out all you need to know to prepare it here.

Overhead image of sliced Roast Turkey Breast on a white oval platter with decorative fruit and herbs.

Garlic Herb Roasted Turkey Breast Recipe

This year many of us are planning on a smaller gathering for the holidays so the perfect thing to prepare instead of a whole turkey is a turkey breast.

It makes just enough for a family or for a pair with leftovers.

The method is very straightforward and I’ve even included the directions to make the gravy. Because we all know the turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy is the highlight of the meal!

Just be sure to monitor the temperature of the turkey breast and cook right to 165 for a perfectly juicy and tender result.

A whole Roast Turkey Breast shown on a platter with roasted vegetables and herbs.

Ingredients Needed for Oven Roast Turkey Breast and Gravy

  • 6 lb. bone-in skin-on turkey breast: Fresh or frozen and fully thawed will work here. Don’t forget to plan ahead to allow plenty of time for thawing in the fridge.
  • Unsalted butter: Salted butter works fine too. Dry the turkey well with paper towels so the butter spreads on easier.
  • Garlic: I like to use 1 Tbsp for a decent amount of flavor that isn’t overpowering.
  • Thyme, rosemary, sage (or parsley): These are classic herbs for seasoning poultry. You can use dried herbs if you don’t want to pay the higher price for fresh. Use 1 tsp of each.
  • Salt and pepper: Season somewhat generously. I use kosher salt but standard table salt is just fine.
  • Yellow onion, carrot and celery: These are used to season the drippings for gravy. If you aren’t making gravy then just skip them.
  • Flour: This ingredient thickens the gravy.
  • Low-sodium chicken stock: Used to make gravy, preferably go for homemade. I make this anytime we buy rotisserie chicken or make roast a chicken, then just freeze it for later.

Scroll down for ingredient amounts, full directions and print option.

Image of ingredients used to make Roast Turkey Breast and gravy. Shows turkey breast in packaging, broth, salt, pepper, butter, herbs, onions, carrot, celery and garlic.

How to Roast a Turkey Breast

  1. Prepare oven: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Move oven rack 1 level below center.
  2. Loosen skin from meat: Carefully separate skin from breast using a large spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon, while leaving outer edges if skin intact (so butter doesn’t just seep out).
  3. Make garlic herb butter: In a mixing bowl stir together butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and season with some salt and pepper.
  4. Dry chicken, rub with butter: Dab chicken dry with paper towels. Rub about half of the butter mixture underneath the skin then remaining half over.
  5. Season: Season all over with salt and pepper.
  6. Place veggies and turkey in roasting pan: Add onion, carrot and celery to a medium roasting pan. Place a roasting rack over veggies, place turkey on rack (or place turkey directly over vegetables if you don’t have a rack).
  7. Bake through: Roast in preheated oven until center or thickest portion registers 165 on an instant read thermometer (see times below).
  8. Rest and carve: Let turkey rest on a carving board tented with foil for about 10 minutes before slicing.
  9. Measure out drippings for gravy: For the gravy, discard veggies then pour drippings into a fat separator or liquid measuring cup. Measure out 1/3 cup of the fat drippings.
  10. Make roux, add broth: Heat fat drippings in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. While whisking pour in broth and any remaining turkey broth drippings.
  11. Cook until thickened: Let cook, whisk constantly, until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste as needed, thin with more chicken broth as desired.

Collage of four images showing how to prepare a Roast Turkey Breast

How Long to Cook a Turkey Breast in the Oven

  • For a 6 lb bone-in turkey it takes 2 to 2 1/4 hours to bake in the oven at 325 degrees.
  • Or about 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees.

Can I use a larger or smaller turkey breast?

  • Yes just reduce or increase bake time accordingly.
  • And as always test the temperature to 165 in center of thickest portion, for doneness.

Roast Turkey Breast sliced on a serving platter with sides of fruit.

Can I brine it first?

Yes you can brine the turkey breast first as long as it didn’t already come prepared with a salty broth added.

Does turkey need to be basted while cooking?

No. Here we used so much butter you don’t need to constantly baste the turkey as it bakes.

How to Prevent Over-Browning

Every oven is a little different, if you find the skin is browning too much before time is up then just loosely tent it with aluminum foil.

Roast Turkey Breast on a platter with a side of mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Sides to Serve with Turkey Breast

 

If you’d like to pair it with the roasted vegetables I’ve included here:

  • Toss on baking sheet 2 medium peeled and diced sweet potatoes, 1 lb halved brussels sprouts and 1 large crisp apple tossed with 3 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Season with a little thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 400 degrees, about 35 minutes. Toss once halfway through.

Roast Turkey Breast

The most flavorful and juicy turkey breast! It's smothered in rich butter, savory herbs and vibrant garlic then roasted to golden brown perfection. Easy prep and delicious results! Perfect for your Thanksgiving meal.
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 lb. bone-in skin-on turkey breast, fresh or frozen and fully thawed*
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh sage or parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into chunks

Gravy

  • 1/3 cup purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade, plus more to thin as desired

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Move oven rack one level below center.
  • Carefully separate skin from breast using a large spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon, while leaving outer edges if skin intact (so butter doesn't just seep out).
  • In a mixing bowl stir together butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and season with some salt and pepper.
  • Dab chicken dry with paper towels. Rub about half of the butter mixture all over underneath the skin then remaining half over.
  • Season all over with salt and pepper.
  • Add onion, carrot and celery to a medium roasting pan. Place a roasting rack over veggies if you have one (otherwise you can just place turkey directly over vegetables).
  • Place turkey skin side up on rack. Roast in preheated oven until center or thickest portion registers 165 on an instant read thermometer, about 2 to 2 1/4 hours.
  • Let turkey rest on a carving board tented with foil for about 10 minutes before carving.
  • For the gravy, discard veggies then pour drippings into a fat separator or liquid measuring cup. Measure out 1/3 cup of the fat drippings.
  • Heat fat drippings in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. While whisking pour in broth an any remaining turkey broth drippings.
  • Let cook, whisk constantly, until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste as needed, thin with more chicken broth as desired.

Notes

  • *For this size of turkey breast plan on about 1 1/2 to 2 days to thaw (36 to 48 hours) in the fridge. Never cook frozen.
  • If you find skin is over-browning near the end of baking then just loosely tent with aluminum foil.