Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

Brined Turkey Breast on a wood cutting board

The Spruce

Ratings (63)
  • Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
451 Calories
14g Fat
24g Carbs
56g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A basic brine makes this turkey breast more flavorful and adds moisture. The turkey is refrigerated in the brine overnight or up to 24 hours. The brine is a simple combination of ingredients you probably have on hand. All you need is a large container and some refrigerator space. 

If you don't have room in the refrigerator, you can use a large cooler, but it is important to keep the bird 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 the safe temperature of 40 F.

A turkey breast is a good size for a basic family meal or a relatively small holiday dinner


  • 1 turkey breast (bone-in, about 5 to 7 pounds)
  • 1 gallon ice cold water
  • Vegetable oil, melted butter or olive oil (for brushing on the turkey)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper or seasoned salt blend (to taste)
  • Optional: onion, lemon, orange and apple chunks (for the cavity)
  • Optional: fresh herbs (for the cavity)
  • 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

Steps to Make It

Rinse the turkey breast under cold water.

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). 

Add the brine ingredients to the bag and then close the bag and twist until brine is covering 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 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.

Heat oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas 6. 

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

Place the turkey breast on a rack, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Discard brine.

Rub the turkey with vegetable oil, butter or extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper or a seasoned salt blend.

If desired, fill the cavity of the turkey breast with chunks of onion, fruit and fresh herbs.

Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, not touching bone.

Roast at 400 F/200 C/Gas 6 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F/165 C/Gas 3 and continue roasting until the turkey breast registers at least 165 F/74 C, about 2 to 3 hours.


Instead of a rack, place the turkey breast on a bed of sliced onions and carrot and celery sticks.