Simple Roast Turkey Breast

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This simple Roast Turkey Breast recipe requires just a few simple spices and about 90 minutes of cook time, cutting down on your typical holiday meal prep and setting you up with the perfect meal for 2.

» You might also like The Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich and Easy Orange Brussels Sprouts.

sliced roast turkey breast

For those of us who are cooking for just 2 people, or only have a small number coming for dinner, a simple roast turkey breast is definitely the way to go for the holidays. It doesn’t take all day to cook, and it doesn’t leave you with tons of leftovers from a whole turkey.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it comes out perfectly cooked and not overly dry, like a whole turkey would, because you don’t have to regulate the temp and timing for two types of meat. The breast turns out nice and juicy, with crispy skin.


Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for roast turkey breast
  • Turkey breast – I think the perfect size is around 3 pounds, but get one that suits your needs. Try to find one with skin, so you can get that nice golden crispy skin.
  • Butter – I always use salted butter in savory dishes to add an extra boost of flavor. It needs to be slightly melted, but not hot.
  • Garlic – Always use fresh garlic that hasn’t been kept in the refrigerator for too long. This has the best flavor and no bitterness that comes from older garlic.
  • Seasonings – We use a blend of paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, ground black pepper. Feel free to use others that you like.

How to Make Roast Turkey Breast

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). You don’t need to take the turkey out of the refrigerator a long time before you start.

Mix the butter, garlic, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the turkey breast and rub some underneath the skin, if you can without dislodging the skin completely from the breast.

spice mix for roast turkey breast

Place the turkey breast with skin side up in a roasting pan or baking dish that’s big enough to fit it with space around the edges.

raw turkey breast in baking pan

Tent the turkey breast loosely with aluminum foil, if you want to keep the splatter down in your oven. I usually don’t tent it, so the skin can get crispy.

Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160° F (71° C). This timing worked perfectly for our 3-pound turkey.

If you have one that’s smaller or larger, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. It’s best to just check the internal temperature a few times, or use a thermometer that can be left in during cooking.

Note: If you tented the turkey with tin foil, you should remove it in the final 20 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp up.

sliced roast turkey breast

Once you’ve taken the turkey out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing, so it retains all its juices and has time to relax and come up to its final temp.

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What Turkey Breast to Buy

Most grocery stores have at least one option for turkey breast, though it might be more of a seasonal offering for smaller stores. By October, you should start seeing more options.

Butterball has a few different sizes for boneless turkey breasts that you can buy frozen and so does Jennie O Brand. These are great options for smaller turkey breasts to make in this recipe.

roast turkey breast with mashed potatoes and gravy

Other Ways to Cook

For most people, the oven is probably the easiest way to cook a turkey breast, but there are many other ways you can cook it.

  • Instant Pot: It takes just 25 minutes to cook a turkey breast in the Instant Pot on high pressure. See the recipe.
  • Air Fryer: As long as the turkey breast you buy can fit inside your air fryer, it’s definitely possible to cook a full turkey breast in an air fryer. It takes about 40 minutes on 350 degrees F to cook a turkey breast.
  • Smoker: If you have a smoker, another fun way to cook your turkey breast is smoking it. It takes about 2 hours to smoke a 3-lb turkey breast at at 225°F.
sliced roast turkey breast

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to leave the skin on?

No one is forcing you to eat turkey skin! Hah. You can remove the skin if you don’t like it. It won’t change the way the turkey cooks, though it might lead to a slightly dryer exterior. I am a fan of leaving the skin on for a number of reasons, but I understand that not everyone likes it. I would suggest cooking with it on and removing it before eating, for the best flavor and moisture.

Do I have to baste the turkey?

You do not need to baste this turkey breast. It’s not the same as cooking a whole turkey that needs more moisture. It’s actually worse for the turkey breast to be opening the door of the oven so many times, so it’s best not to baste.

Can I cook a bone-in turkey breast?

Turkey breasts can be bought in both bone-in and boneless. Typically the one I buy is a single turkey breast that’s boneless. If you buy one that’s bone-in, you can still use this recipe, but it will take longer to cook a bone-in turkey breast.


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Roast turkey breast

Simple Roast Turkey Breast

This simple Roast Turkey Breast recipe requires just a few simple spices and about 90 minutes of cook time, cutting down on your typical holiday meal prep and setting you up with the perfect meal for 2.
4.98 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Angela Morris


  • 1 3 pound turkey breast with skin
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  • Mix butter, garlic, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Place turkey breast with skin side up in a roasting pan. Spread the rub over the turkey breast and underneath the skin. Tent turkey breast loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for approx. 20 minutes per pound, until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165° F (74° C), approximately 1 1/2 hours. Measure the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the breast. Actual cooking time will depend on the size of your turkey breast. Boneless turkey breasts will cook faster. Use a meat thermometer for accuracy. Let turkey rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
  • If you like crispy skin remove the tinfoil for the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Equipment Needed

  • Roasting pan


Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 464mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 443IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg

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roast turkey breast with mashed potatoes and gravy

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