Pan-Seared Turkey Breast With Lemon and Herbs

Pan-seared turkey breast

The Spruce 

Prep: 4 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
510 Calories
12g Fat
58g Carbs
59g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 510
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 116mg 39%
Sodium 1153mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 20g 72%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 59g
Vitamin C 250mg 1,248%
Calcium 616mg 47%
Iron 16mg 91%
Potassium 2719mg 58%
*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.)

This simple recipe for pan-seared turkey breast with lemon and herbs takes 10 minutes to cook and is incredibly flavorful and aromatic. Quickly browned thin slices of turkey breast are bathed in aromatic herbs and chicken broth. Greens are added at the very end and steamed in the pan juices, and the dish is finished with a generous spritz of fresh lemon juice. You can use a single herb like rosemary, sage, oregano, lemon thyme, or marjoram, or create your own blend.

If you can't find thinly sliced turkey cutlets at the supermarket, ask your butcher to slice them for you, ideally a little less than 1/4 inch. Thicker slices will require a couple more minutes of cooking time. It's important to note that turkey can get quite dry when overcooked, so be sure to keep watch.

To round out the meal, try oven-roasted sweet potatoes or spiced sweet potato fries. Both are very easy to make, and you will still get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.


  • 8 to 10 ounces turkey breast, cut into 4 thin slices

  • Sea salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage (or 2 pinches dried herbes de Provence)

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 4 cups spinach (or baby kale leaves)

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Turkey cutlets, spinach, lemon wedges, olive oil, and seasonings
     The Spruce
  2. Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

    Cast-iron skillet with oil
     The Spruce
  3. Season the turkey cutlets with sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.

    Two turkey breast cutlets with salt and pepper
     The Spruce
  4. Place the oil in the skillet and tip it to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Place the cutlets in a single layer and sear until golden, about 2 minutes.

    Browned turkey breasts in cast-iron skillet
    The Spruce 
  5. Turn the cutlets and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Cook an additional 2 minutes, until the slices are golden brown.

    Turkey breasts in skillet with sprinkled herbs
     The Spruce
  6. Remove them to two plates and keep warm. 

    Seared turkey breasts on plates
     The Spruce
  7. Add the chicken broth to the pan along with the greens. Steam the greens in the broth, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes until wilted. 

    Greens steamed in chicken broth in cast-iron pan
    The Spruce 
  8. Remove the greens with tongs or a slotted spoon and divide between the two plates, placing on top of the turkey cutlets if desired.

    Adding greens and lemon juice to the turkey breasts
     The Spruce
  9. Continue to cook the broth, reducing it by half. Add a squeeze of lemon, and pour the sauce over the cutlets. 

  10. Serve with additional lemon wedges on the side.

    Plated greens, turkey breast, and lemon wedge garnish on plate
     The Spruce

Recipe Variations

  • For a slightly richer dish, add 1/4 cup white wine along with the broth. Finish the sauce by whisking in a teaspoon of butter.
  • Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes and/or 1/4 cup green olives.
  • Swap out the herbs for a Cajun seasoning blend. 

How Long Can Turkey Sit Out Before Cooking?

Setting turkey breast out before cooking can help it cook more uniformly. According to the USDA food safety guidelines, turkey (as well as all poultry and meat) should not be left out of the refrigerator any longer than two hours. However, bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes. With the thin cutlets used in this recipe, it's best to keep the time at room temperature to a minimum.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. How Temperatures Affect FoodFood Safety Inspection Service.