Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

Brined Turkey Breast on a wood cutting board

The Spruce

Ratings (64)
  • Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings

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

Ingredients

  • 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

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brined turkey breast ingredients
  2. Rinse the turkey breast under cold water.

    Wash turkey breast in water
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  3. 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
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  4. 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.

    Add seasoning and brine ingredients to cooking bag and refrigerate turkey
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  5. Heat oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas 6. 

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

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

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

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

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

    Place meat thermometer in turkey
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  11. 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.

    Roasted brined turkey breast
    The Spruce  
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

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