If preparing a whole turkey just seems a bit too daunting, then a roast turkey breast is a simple and delicious alternative. Especially when you give it a sweet orange-honey glaze!
Roast Turkey Breast, Nice ‘n’ Easy
I'll let you in on a little secret: I stopped preparing a whole turkey for holiday meals a long time ago.
In our family, we tend to enjoy turkey breast more than the dark meat anyway. So quite a number of years back, I began preparing roast turkey breast instead, and never looked back!
A roast turkey breast is much easier to prepare than roasting a whole bird. The meat is tender, juicy and succulent when prepared with a little TLC.
This roast turkey recipe is loaded with flavor and lots of love, and sure to please whether it's a holiday or you’re just simply craving a turkey dinner!
For a Succulent Roast Turkey Breast, the Secret's in the Glaze
When it comes to roast turkey breast, the more flavor you can give it, the better.
Seasoning with thyme, rosemary, and Herbs de Provence always makes the turkey more flavorful.
Since I wanted to kick things up a notch with this recipe and give it a hint of sweetness, I whipped up a simple little orange-honey glaze to go over top while it roasts.
The glaze also gives the turkey a deeply golden-brown and crisp skin, and the slightly citrusy flavor pairs so well with the mild flavor of the turkey. It makes it so scrumptious and beautiful!
How To Roast a Turkey Breast
Here's the wonderful news about a roast turkey breast recipe: it's super easy! And isn’t that always a bonus?
Typically, it takes right around an hour to roast a turkey breast. And because they are smaller and easier to work with than a whole bird, you can roast the breast(s) right on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
To ensure proper cook time, I always recommend using a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. You're looking for the thermometer to register 165°, and that way you know the meat is perfectly (and safely) cooked.
Here’s my roast turkey breast recipe at a glance:
- I begin by preparing my simple orange-honey glaze, so that I have that ready.
- While I preheat my oven to 375°, I season the turkey breasts, and place them on a wire rack. I also insert my digital thermometer into the meat at this point.
- The turkey breasts are roasted for 30 minutes, and then I brush on some of the glaze. I continue to roast, brushing more of the glaze on periodically, until they reach 165 degrees and are cooked through and golden-brown.
- When done, I allow meat to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
(The full recipe is below)
Tips & Tidbits for Roast Turkey Breast:
- Let's talk turkey: Typically, turkey breasts are sold with skin on and the bone in. This is perfect, as the bone creates more flavor during the roasting. So opt for bone-in. Usually there is one breast per package, generally feeding about four people. This recipe calls for two turkey breasts, and feeds about eight people.
- Dried herbs during the roasting, fresh for after: Dried herbs, such as Herbs de Provence, are delicious to sprinkle on before roasting, as they will not burn; however, reserve the fresh thyme and rosemary for after the roasting as an aromatic garnish just before serving.
- Use a meat thermometer: I always recommend using a digital thermometer when roasting any kind of meat. That way there is no guessing. You should insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat, and once it registers 165°, you're good to go.
- Prepare ahead for easy roast turkey breasts: You can prepare your glaze and season your turkey breasts even a couple of days in advance of when you plan of roasting and serving. Just wrap each breast very well and keep refrigerated. When you are ready to roast, allow the turkey and glaze to come to room temp for about an hour or two.
- Give it a rest: Once the turkey breasts are roasted, allow for at least 10 minutes of resting time before slicing and serving. This way, more of the juices will remain in the meat, keeping the breasts juicier and more succulent.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Roast Turkey Breast
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 650 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Orange-Honey Glaze Ingredients:
• ¾ cup honey
• 1 teaspoon, heaping, orange zest
• ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Roasted Turkey Breast Ingredients:
• 2 (2-3 pound) half turkey breasts, bone-in and skin on
• Canola or olive oil
• Black pepper
• 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
-Begin by preparing the orange-honey glaze: add all of the ingredients to a small sauce pan, and whisk to combine; bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low to gently simmer the glaze for 10 minutes.
-Divide the glaze in half by pouring it into two small bowls or glass containers, and allow it to cool until thickened and glossy before using. (One portion is used during the roasting, and the other is reserved for use after roasting.)
-To prepare the roast turkey breasts: preheat the oven to 375°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
-Place the turkey breasts bone-side down onto the baking sheets, and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of the oil; sprinkle a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper over each of the turkey breasts, along with the herbs de Provence and the paprika divided equally among each.
-Insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breasts.
-Place the turkey breasts into the oven to roast, and after 30 minutes, brush them liberally with one of the bowls of the glaze (reserving the other portion for use after the turkey is cooked).
-Continue to roast for another 10 minutes, and then brush on more of the glaze.
-Continue to roast for another 10 minutes, and brush once more with the glaze; roast for about another 10 minutes, and remove the breasts from the oven once the internal temperature reaches 165°.
-Allow the turkey breasts to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing the meat; then once sliced, drizzle just a little of the reserved glaze over the slices, and sprinkle over the fresh rosemary and thyme before serving.
From the Heart: the Sweet Taste of the Present Moment
At some point or another, we've all most likely found ourselves in the rather uncomfortable state of limbo, or in a place of feeling insecure because of a lack of information.
Perhaps you're in the midst of experiencing that this very moment in your own life.
It can happen in regards to our health, our finances, and our relationships, and we find ourselves trying to navigate what feels like uncharted waters, in the dark, and on our own; or groping around what feels like a room with the lights switched off, one which we've never previously been in.
When we find ourselves in that mysterious and unique space between the known and the unknown, it can feel quite lonely and isolating; it can cause us to retreat into our heads and into our imaginations, where we often feed ourselves less-than-positive images of what's to come in order to fill in the blanks for ourselves.
And that only causes us to sink into worry or despair.
But feeling alone and in the dark isn't where our Creator longs for us to feel that we are, not when He stands right there next to us, eager to partner in whatever part of the journey we may find ourselves in.
It seems that we spend so much of our time living in either a past that is already long-gone, or living in a possible future formed purely out of a vivid imagination.
So where does that leave the present moment, which is happening right before our eyes, and is filled with so much potential for light and for good?
There's something very sweet and delicious, something glaze-like, about a present moment, a moment that is happening right now.
It's illuminated and full of what actually is, and full of the possibility for uplift because it offers us some reality to fix our eyes upon rather than the unknown.
The present is also where our Creator longs to meet us, so that He can walk hand in hand with us in whatever mystery we're walking in, shedding some light, if we really want it, on our path as we go.
So no matter what limbo or state-of-unknowing we may find ourselves in, we really don't have to feel alone in it; because the truth is, we're not.
The best remedy is to open our eyes wide and take in the light that is there before us: the people who we love and who love us; the displays of kindness and care and mercy; and the opportunity to use our own situation to uplift others as they go through theirs.
Because in those things is where you find God.
And the sweet thing is, we're never really alone when we live in the present, and make the request for light to be shed upon it.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Cook’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014, and has been updated with even more love!