Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

How to Roast a Turkey Breast {Technically half a turkey breast}

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Where is your happy place? What is the one thing in the world that can pick you up out of a slump and place you on solid ground? It’s important that you know yours and that you can summon it up on any given day when life is more than a little topsy turvy. There are too many moments that can throw you for a loop so please, if there is one take away from this post, research your happy place and know how to reach it at a moment’s notice. It is essential.

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My happy place is my kitchen, especially in Fall. The sweltering summers here in So Cal. are almost unbearable and as September turns the corner into October, and there’s a bit of a breeze in the air and temps are ONLY in the 80’s, my happy place invites me in, gives me a hug, and seems to say, “It’s OK. You are welcome here and everything is going to be fine.” It also seems to shout, “Roast a turkey! Make some soup, mash those potatoes and then throw in a pumpkin bundt cake!”. I have some pretty weird self-talk. I am aware.

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Use unpeeled carrots as a “roasting rack” to lift up the turkey breast. The carrots add flavor when you tent the turkey to roast.

And when I’m in my happy place, my hand instinctively reaches for the knob on my oven and swishes it on to 350 (well in this case for the turkey, technically 325 folks), I step outside to snip some rosemary and pluck a fresh orange off the tree, and I inadvertently begin to sing the chorus lines from my favorite songs. I usually only know a couple of lines from any given song, but I belt them out anyway, unknown words be damned. Please don’t tell me I should turn on Pandora. I love Pandora. We’re good friends, but when I’m in my happy place, I sing. My Golden Retriever, Sadie, who sits dopily at my feet, with her sweet smile and her big brown eyes, likes my singing and would not be as warmed by Pandora. I know this for certain. I am a doggy mind reader. It’s one of my hidden talents.

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The herb paste gives the turkey incredible flavor and the orange slices tucked under the skin add juice and a little touch of sweetness.

You can now officially stop saving that delicious roasted turkey dinner for Thanksgiving alone. Roasting a half turkey breast is the easiest thing you’ll do in the kitchen and it’s extremely rewarding. This particular turkey breast turned out so golden and juicy that I would swipe little slices of it to snack on the next day.  The herbs give the turkey so much savory flavor and the oranges add a hint of sweetness and help the turkey stay nice and juicy.

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See the oranges and rosemary tucked under the golden skin? Now that’s what makes this turkey something to dream about.

You can then use the turkey breast for dinner, lunches during the week or for the king of comfort foods at my house, Creamed Turkey. It’s what we always eat the day after Thanksgiving, gets requested by several family members for their prized birthday dinners, and it is creamy, warm and comforting. To me, any dinner that includes roasted turkey is like a big hug on a plate so consider this post a big hug from me to you.

How to Roast a Turkey Breast 

Makes enough turkey slices for a family of four for dinner (small-medium eaters). If you need more, roast two turkey half breasts.
This is an S&C original recipe
20 minutes prep time and approximately 1 hr. and 15 minutes cooking time.

1 half bone in turkey breast with skin, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (if using dry spices, use two teaspoons of each)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed juice from an orange
2 tablespoons good olive oil
one orange thinly sliced
2 whole sprigs of rosemary
4 large washed but unpeeled carrots
1-2 cups chicken broth or white wine
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

To make the turkey: Turn your oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat and get out either a small roasting pan or a glass rectangular casserole dish or other comparable dish. Rinse and pat dry your turkey (don’t leave it wet, the paste won’t adhere well). In a small bowl, make a paste, mixing together the chopped herbs, rosemary through sage, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice and drizzle in the olive oil. Mix together until it forms a paste. Rub the paste all over the meat and skin of the turkey and then also underneath the skin.

Thinly slice an orange and tuck in the oranges under the skin in a single layer as well as two sprigs of rosemary.  Cut your butter into small pats and put single pats of butter over the skin and meat. See photo in post for butter and carrots.  Place four carrots lined up in your roasting pan (use more carrots if they are small or your turkey is larger than the four carrots can support). Place the turkey on the carrots. Pour the wine or chicken broth into the roasting pan (don’t pour onto turkey),  and drop in any remaining pieces of the orange. Place a meat thermometer in your turkey, place in the thickest portion of the breast, being careful not to touch the bone. Then tent the turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes tented. Remove the tent and let roast another half hour or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Smaller breasts (2-3 lbs may cook in a little over an hour whereas larger ones, 3-4 lbs, may take an hour and a half). It’s a good idea to see where your temperature is at an hour. A meat thermometer is imperative with cooking a  turkey to properly cook it to the correct temperature for food safety.

Your turkey should turn out  a nice golden brown from the butter. When you take out your turkey, tent it with fresh foil (do not use the foil which touched the raw turkey please).  Let it rest for a good 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to spread through the turkey and be maintained in the turkey meat instead of on the cutting board. Cutting a turkey breast is not my forte….please consult Google for that. 🙂

Health and Safety Note: When working with any poultry, it is important to wash your hands every time you have touched the turkey. Then when you reach for salt shakers and the foil, you are not contaminating these items with raw turkey juices which could contain bacteria.

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59 thoughts on “How to Roast a Turkey Breast {Technically half a turkey breast}

  1. Geni, the turkey breast half looks perfectly roasted!

  2. The kitchen is my happy place too!! I’m more a dancer in the kitchen than a singer…must be that glass of wine I pour as I begin my happy place experience 🙂 I honestly don’t think of roasting a turkey mid year but this does look so tempting and the thought of leftovers through the week has me adding this to my shopping list today!! I love Fall too and as you in hot CA, its hot in Fla too but I take advantage of every little Fall breeze that may wisp by!!! Have a great weekend Geni!

    • Hi Linda! I do hope you get a chance to roast a turkey. Knowing you, you will put your own delicious spin on it. Lets hopes it cools down for both of us. A little real Fall weather would be so nice. Take care and keep dancing in the kitchen!

  3. I love the herbs under the skin! Yum!

  4. They do add so much flavor. Thanks!

  5. Yum! I love the use of orange with this! I have never tried that before!

  6. I might have to attempt cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner!

  7. I never thought about adding carrots. Looks very delicious.

  8. I’m reading this post and thinking the same thing I do when Zia serves a roasted turkey breast: Why don’t I do this? I love turkey – especially the sandwiches the next day — and roasting a breast would make it so much easier, Genie. I do like, too, that you used thinly sliced orange under the skin. What a great way to flavor the meat. There’s turkey breast in my future. 😉

  9. We are finally getting some of your SoCal heat up here and I’m loving it! But it won’t last long. The nights and mornings are much cooler and I am beginning to crave the comfort foods of fall. I love how you have taken the time to flavor the turkey breast and keep it moist.

  10. I am not always a fan of turkey, and I have never roasted my own turkey breast, but I must say, this looks absolutely delicious!

    I also wanted to tell you that I posted the pumpkin pancake recipe, and said some nice words about you… I meant every one! 🙂 http://emilyrskitchen.com/2013/10/06/pumpkin-pancakes/

  11. The kitchen has not quite been my happy place lately, what with this new allergy… but autumn is my favorite baking season so I am hoping to get back to it! Thanks for the inspiration. This does look like a comforting dish!

  12. The kitchen is always my happy place. I love that you find so much comfort in roasting a turkey! It definitely results in some serious comfort food, which I”m sure is part of it.

    • I would have bet the kitchen is your happy place to Joanne. You always seem like you are having a great time cooking up your delicacies.I would love to cook with you sometime. You always seem like my kind of chef…a little quirky and a lot of fun. 🙂

  13. A turkey breast cooking in the oven is the perfect way to greet fall and love your herbs. However, just one breast with 2 growing teenagers might be good for just one of them but what am I going to eat. LOL My kitchen is my sanctuary unless my boys are in there making a mess. Fall is my favourite time of the year to bake and make all kinds of treats that I would not think of doing in the sweltering summer heat of Hong Kong.

  14. This looks so fabulous! I can’t wait to try it!

  15. Th turkey breast looks absolutely delicious Geni, I love the idea of using carrots as the “rack” for the turkey…an edible one…
    Have a lovely weekend 😀

  16. I never understand why we don’t make turkey outside of Thanksgiving. We all enjoy it and this version looks and sounds so good! Love your self-talk, it’s far happier than most. 😉

  17. you know whats funny! I love that you did half a turkey breast. I just dont need a whole turkey at times and just want enough for dinner, not leftovers for weeks on end. This is a great how to

  18. Oh wow, YUM! This looks and sounds incredible, Geni! What a gorgeous bird.

  19. Hola!!!
    Un post magnifico…felicidades.
    Saludos.

  20. As a bit of hobbit when it comes to food (hence my username!!) this blog is absolute heaven for me!! I agree with you, autumn is one of the most exciting times when it comes to cooking in the year, so many delicious ingredients are about! Mouthwatering pictures, can’t wait for more posts! 🙂

  21. Thank you for sharing this absolutely delicious recipe! My husband and I LOVED it!!! Hugs, Di

  22. Yummy

  23. In the oven and smells fantastic!!! Can’t wait to try it!

  24. why are the carrots unpeeled???? surely they get just as mushy peeled or unpeeled???
    love that idea!

  25. Sept 4 2015 and only 79 degrees in So Cal today 🙂 So, Thanksgiving dinner it is. A half breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes and peas. Uh oh, “you forgot the cranberries too?” Now I’ve got a great song stuck in my head and dinner in the oven. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. I am trying this nice recipe for first time today and I had a question. Can this be made ahead a few hours and then popped in the oven? Same me lot of time as I also make my old family recipe of potato kugel with it as a side and that takes soem time. Have a great holiday and thanks again.

    • Hi Mark. I’m so sorry I didn’t see this until too late. I would think it might dry it out a little. Let me know how it went. I want the potato kugel recipe! Yum! Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Hello Geni..well it tasted great but it did not brown or anything but will keep the herb combo for next time I do chicken or pork (all the time). The kugel recipe is a bit ‘by eye and texture’ as my grandmother when I asked how much matzoh meal to use, she replied ‘enough’! but here goes: 3-4 medium red taters with skin 2 medium sweet onions theses are ground up in a blender then we add to the bowl holding them 2 eggs 1 tablespoon of canola oil 1 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons or so of garlic powder matzoh meal and wheat germ I do 80% meal and some wheat germ (on top for crunchy top) until its a thick but pourable mixture. bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so until brown on top. I use a large pyrex dish sprayed with Pam. let me know how it comes out and if you want to list it on website, just use my name! mark luftig

      • Thanks! Glad the turkey was good. Sorry it didn’t brown! Did you do it ahead and rewarm? How’d that go?

      • no I did it at 6pm and got it out at 7:15 made some gravy from the soup and juices…

      • Did you use real butter on top of the turkey? Trying to figure out why it didn’t brown?

      • ahhh I used ‘I cant belive its not butter”’thats prob why…dont have butter in house but still was tasty…

  27. It was so delicious! Very moist and made a nice, presentation too.

  28. This was delicious! Thank you. It did take lot longer than 75 minutes to get to 165°, closer to 90 minutes.

    • It really totally depends on the weight of your turkey and thickness of the breast. Cooking time can be varied for sure and I’m glad you used the meat thermometer for food safety. Turkey is tricky! I’m so glad you enjoyed it though.

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