Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

Brined Turkey Breast on a wood cutting board

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Brine Time: 8 hrs
Total: 11 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 turkey breast
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
554 Calories
12g Fat
10g Carbs
96g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 554
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 254mg 85%
Sodium 17367mg 755%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 96g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 825mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether a Sunday family meal or an intimate Thanksgiving dinner, a turkey breast is an ideal centerpiece—and is easier to prepare than a whole bird. This turkey breast is flavorful and moist thanks to the simple brine of water, salt, brown sugar, and spices. You should plan ahead as the turkey breast needs to sit in the brine overnight or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Once brined, the turkey breast is roasted, stuffed with onion, citrus, and herbs if you like. Because of the brine, the turkey doesn't need much additional flavoring, making this a simple recipe to prepare.

Ingredients

For the Brine:

  • 1 gallon ice cold water

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (if you only have table salt, use 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon mixed or black peppercorns, crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

For the Turkey:

  • 1 (5- to 7-pound) bone-in turkey breast

  • Vegetable oil, melted butter, or olive oil, for brushing on the turkey

  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt blend, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Onion chunks, for the cavity

  • Lemon slices, for the cavity

  • Orange slices, for the cavity

  • Apple chunks, for the cavity

  • Fresh herbs, for the cavity

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brined turkey breast ingredients
  2. Place the turkey breast in a large cooking bag; place the bag with the turkey in a large roasting pan or another large container (just in case the bag leaks). 

    Place turkey in cooking bag and put on roasting pan
    The Spruce
  3. Add the brine ingredients to the bag and then close the bag and twist until the brine is covering the turkey. Use a twist-tie to secure the bag. Alternately, you can use a large, nonreactive covered container. Just make sure the turkey is completely covered with the brine (you might have to increase the amount of brine for a container). Place the turkey breast in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

    Add seasoning and brine ingredients to cooking bag and refrigerate turkey
    The Spruce
  4. Heat the oven to 400 F. 

  5. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thoroughly with cold water; pat the breast dry with paper towels.

    Rinse turkey in water and pat dry
    The Spruce
  6. Place the turkey breast on a rack, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Discard the brine.

    Place turkey breast on rack
    The Spruce
  7. Rub the turkey with vegetable oil, butter, or extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Rub turkey with oil and seasoning
    The Spruce 
  8. If desired, fill the cavity of the turkey breast with chunks of onion, fruit, and/or fresh herbs.

    Fill turkey cavity with onion, fruit, and herbs
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  9. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, not touching bone.

    Place meat thermometer in turkey
    The Spruce
  10. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and continue roasting until the turkey breast registers at least 165 F, about 2 to 3 hours.

    Roasted brined turkey breast
    The Spruce  
  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy.

Tips

  • If you don't have room in the refrigerator for the turkey breast in the brine, you can use a large cooler, but it is important to keep the breast at a temperature no higher than 40 F. Put the turkey in a large, sturdy storage bag or container and surround it with ice. The ice will also need to be replenished to keep the turkey at a safe temperature of 40 F.
  • Instead of a rack, you can place the turkey breast on a bed of sliced onions and carrot and celery sticks.
  • If using a thawed turkey breast, make sure not to leave it in the brine for longer than 24 hours; otherwise, the meat will be too salty and have a spongy texture.
  • This brine also works well when deep-frying a turkey breast.

Can You Brine a Frozen Turkey Breast?

If it's time to brine the turkey and the breast is still frozen, you can still place it in the brine. Just make sure to leave the turkey breast in the brine until it has fully defrosted.