Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Brine Time: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 1 turkey breast
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
825 Calories
16g Fat
48g Carbs
123g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 825
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 318mg 106%
Sodium 11796mg 513%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 123g
Vitamin C 148mg 740%
Calcium 177mg 14%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 1517mg 32%
*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 holiday 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.

"I'm not a big fan of turkey breast because it always cooks-up too dry for my taste, but this brine made the it moist and delicious. The breast was perfectly cooked and the skin was crispy. When salt quantities are high, as in this recipe, it's best to go by weight instead of volume. " —Diana Andrews

Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Brine:

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

  • 1 gallon water, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand: 10 1/2 ounces, Morton brand: 13 1/2 ounces)

  • 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 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 medium orange, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 medium apple, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 bunch fresh herbs of choice

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

  • Kosher salt , to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brined turkey breast ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Place the turkey breast in a large cooking bag and place the bag 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 / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Add 4 cups of lukewarm water to a large bowl. Whisk in the salt and brown sugar until it dissolves. Stir in the bay leaves, allspice berries, peppercorns, and rosemary. Add the brine to the bag with the turkey and the remaining 12 cups of cold water.

    Close the bag and then twist until the brine is covering the turkey. Use a twist-tie to secure the bag. Alternately, use a large, nonreactive covered container. Just make sure the turkey is completely covered with the brine (it is okay 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 / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 F.

    Remove the turkey from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Pat the breast dry with paper towels.

    pat turkey dry on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Place the turkey breast on a rack in a large roasting pan.

    turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Fill turkey cavity with onion, fruit, and herbs in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

    Fill the cavity of the turkey breast with chunks of onion, lemon, orange, apple, and fresh herbs. Position the breast so that it's skin-side up on the rack.

  7. Rub the turkey skin generously with vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

    seasoned turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

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

    Place meat thermometer in turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  9. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and continue roasting until the turkey breast registers at least 165 F, about 20 minutes per pound.

    Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  • 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.