Skip to Content

The Best Way To Cook Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast

What do you do when you don’t need to cook the whole bird for Thanksgiving dinner or holiday dinners?

For smaller gatherings, even a party of two, use this simple recipe for a bone-in turkey breast instead.

How to Spend Less Time in the Kitchen

Slices of turkey on a white square plate.

The simple recipe is the best way to cut down on your cooking time without sacrificing those savory flavors and crispy skin coming from your roasting pan.

If you’re not having a large crowd coming for the holidays this year, or you want to make another main dish and prefer to keep your turkey small, this is the way to go!

Cooked turkey breast on a cutting board. The top is covered with seasonings.

If you have a smaller group, it’s easy to make this recipe and not spend all your time in the kitchen. Why not spend time with friends and family?

This recipe is going to give you that opportunity. As much as we love the entire bird, you can get what you need from this delicious dish.

You’ll still end up with juicy meat, fresh herbs, and crispy skin on the turkey breast.

This whole turkey breast provides plenty of white meat. You will have enough for two, but might even have some leftover turkey from this recipe for sandwiches the next day.

Slicing a turkey breast.

Ingredients for Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast

It will help to grab a small mixing bowl, roasting pan or glass baking dish, wooden spoon, and paper towels to have ready for this roasted turkey breast recipe. You’ll also need:

  • Turkey breast, skin-on, bone-in
  • Salted butter, softened
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried sage
  • Ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh rosemary for garnish

Full recipe with measurements and instructions listed at the bottom of the post in the recipe card. The recipe is printable, as well.

Slices of turkey breast on plates. There is some green lettuce near the turkey breasts.

How to Make Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast for Two

These step-by-step instructions will help you get the best results for your turkey breast dinner. 

ingredients for turkey breast. Cubes of butter, seasonings, and a raw turkey are sitting next to a cutting board.

Start by gathering your ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cubed butter in a mixing bowl with seasonings. There's a black spoon sitting next to the bowl.

While you wait for the oven to warm up, you can mix the butter with the dried rosemary, thyme, sage, ground black pepper, and salt in your small bowl.

Mix with a hand mixer.

Spreading butter underneath turkey skin.

Carefully lift the skin up from your bone-in turkey breast. It helps to use the back of a spoon, but you really want to be careful here so as not to tear the skin. Take your paper towels and pat the turkey dry.

This is an important step because you want the butter to stick to the turkey and it needs to be dry in order for that to happen.

Then spread the seasoned butter mixture in a thick layer between the turkey meat and the skin.

Try to reserve a couple tablespoons of the butter which you’ll use later. Once you have the butter slathered all over, you’ll pull the turkey skin back over your buttered turkey, being careful not to rip it. 

Raw turkey with butter mixture in a casserole dish.

Put your turkey breast into a roasting pan, skin side up, and bake for 90 minutes in the center of the wire rack in your oven.

The internal temperature should be 174 degrees when finished cooking, which you can check with an instant-read meat thermometer to have complete peace of mind that it’s cooked through.

Cooked turkey in a casserole dish with dollops of herb butter on top.

Take your turkey out of the oven and add the rest of the seasoned butter mixture to the top of your turkey while it’s hot, letting it melt all the way down. It’s so nice and golden brown on top!

Let the turkey breast rest in the roasting dish for 20 minutes before you slice it on a cutting board and serve it with your favorite sides. 

Slicing a turkey breast.

Recipe Tips for the Best Juicy Turkey

  • There’s no need to baste this roast turkey breast because of the seasoned butter mixture under the skin. This will make the skin very crispy and give you a juicy turkey.
  • When checking the temperature, be sure to check in the thickest part of the breast so you will know if the entire turkey is done cooking.  
  • It’s essential to keep the skin of the turkey intact for this recipe. It’s what keeps the butter mixture in place. Equally as important, you need to pat that turkey breast dry with paper towels. This allows the butter to stick to the meat better. If the skin is damp, it won’t stick quite as well. 
  • Also, you should know that this turkey is going to smell absolutely heavenly. While you’ll want to just gobble it up, pardon the pun, you need to let it rest fully for 20 minutes. Cutting the turkey too soon results in the juices escaping, leaving you with a dry turkey. 
  • This recipe does not turn out good gravy. For a whole bird, the pan drippings, or pan juices, at the bottom are always ideal for turkey gravy. However, due to the sheer amount of butter here, you’ll only wind up with a gravy that separates. If you want gravy, you should prepare it ahead of time to enjoy with your turkey and mashed potatoes. This is a great gravy recipe without drippings from Joyous Apron.
Sliced turkey on a white plate. The turkey is sitting on some green lettuce.

How to Store Roast Turkey Breast

Roast turkey breast can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge or wrapped up really well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

It should be kept for about four days, and the leftovers will reward you with lots of turkey sandwiches for the next day. 

If you’d prefer, you can freeze your turkey, even the entire turkey breast. Put it in an airtight container and label it so you’ll remember to use it within three months.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, put it in the fridge the night before to thaw. You can then warm it up in the oven at 300 degrees when you want to serve it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy bone-in or boneless turkey breast?

Bone-in turkey breast usually has more flavor, but boneless is easier to slice. The choice depends on personal preference.

Can I cook turkey breast in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes, both methods can produce juicy results. You will need to adjust the cooking time and method accordingly.

How should I carve the turkey breast?

If bone-in, first remove the bone. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender results.

If boneless, you will also slice against the grain.

The Perfect Side Dishes

Sliced turkey breast.

The Best Way To Cook Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast

Sometimes, a big Thanksgiving turkey really is too much.

Whether it’s just a table for two, a smaller gathering, or you want to serve something else besides turkey, this easy roasted turkey breast is the delicious result you need to give everyone options.

You don’t even need to wait for holiday dinners to serve it. This roast turkey breast would be wonderful for a lovely weekend dinner too!

Slicing a turkey breast.

The Best Way To Cook Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cooking a turkey for two in the oven was never easier. Covered in herb butter and cooked to juicy perfection, you will love this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 pound turkey breast, skin on, bone in
  • 1 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh rosemary for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, add the butter, dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried sage, ground black pepper, and salt.
  3. Next, using the back of a spoon, carefully lift the skin from the turkey while trying to keep the skin intact.
  4. Dry the turkey with a paper towel.
  5. Spread the herb butter mixture between the meat and the skin. Reserve about two tablespoons of the butter mixture for using after the turkey cooks.
  6. Gently pull the turkey skin back over the buttered area and place the turkey into the casserole dish.
  7. Bake for about 90 minutes or until a digital thermometer reads 174 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.
  8. Remove the turkey from the oven and add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the top of the turkey and allow it to melt.
  9. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

Tips For The Best Turkey

  • There’s no need to baste this roast turkey breast because of the seasoned butter mixture under the skin. This results in making the skin very crispy while giving you a juicy turkey.
  • When checking the temperature, be sure to check in the thickest part of the breast so you will know if the entire turkey is done cooking.  
  • It’s essential to keep the skin of the turkey intact for this recipe. It’s what keeps the butter mixture in place. Equally as important, you need to pat that turkey breast dry with paper towels. This allows the butter to stick to the meat better. If the skin is damp, it won’t adhere quite as well. 
  • Also, you should know that this turkey is going to smell absolutely heavenly. While you’ll want to just gobble it up, pardon the pun, you need to let it rest fully for 20 minutes. Cutting the turkey too soon results in the juices escaping, leaving you with a dry turkey. 
  • Not good for gravy. For a whole bird, the pan drippings at the bottom are always ideal for turkey gravy. However, due to the sheer amount of butter here, you’ll only wind up with a gravy that separates. If you want gravy, you should prepare it ahead of time to enjoy with your turkey and mashed potatoes. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1337Total Fat: 100gSaturated Fat: 61gTrans Fat: 4gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 516mgSodium: 1384mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 3gSugar: 0gProtein: 104g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Skip to Recipe