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Although turkey is a popular meal around the holidays, turkey breast makes a great meal any time of the year! You can adjust the seasonings depending on the type of meal you're making and cook the meat in the oven or slow cooker. Roasting the turkey breast will give it browned, crispy skin, while slow-cooking the turkey will give you a flavorful hands-off meal.


  • 3 to 7 lb (1.4 to 3.2 kg) bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) of softened butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (18 g) of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) of dried herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or sage

Makes 1 turkey breast

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Defrosting and Seasoning the Turkey Breast

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  1. 1
    Purchase 1 14 pounds (570 g) of turkey breast for each person you'd like to serve. If there aren't fresh turkey breasts for sale in the meat case, check the meat department's freezer case. You should be able to buy bone-in skin-on breasts all year long.[1]

    If you're serving 2 to 4 people, look for a turkey breast that's about 3 pounds (1.4 kg). To serve 6 to 8 people, buy a 6 to 7 lb (2.7 to 3.2 kg) turkey breast.

  2. 2
    Thaw the turkey breast in the refrigerator for 1 day. At least 24 hours before you're ready to cook the turkey breast, leave it in its packaging and transfer it from the freezer to the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.[2]
    • Place the turkey in a dish while it thaws to catch any drippings.
    • Once the turkey is thawed, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before you cook it.
    • If you bought a fresh turkey breast, you can skip this step.
  3. 3
    Remove the packaging and pat the turkey breast dry. Cut open the turkey's packaging and discard it. Then, set the turkey breast in a roasting pan or large plate and pat it dry with a paper towel.
    • Don’t rinse the turkey breast, because this can spread bacteria through your kitchen.[3]
  4. 4
    Rub butter and seasoning over the turkey breast. Use your fingers to massage 1 tablespoon (14 g) of softened butter or extra-virgin olive oil over and under the turkey's skin. Then, sprinkle the entire turkey breast with 1 tablespoon (18 g) of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground black pepper.[4]
    • You can also scatter 2 teaspoons (4 g) of your choice of dried herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or sage, over the turkey breast.

    Lemon Garlic Variation: Blend the zest of 1 lemon with 1 shallot, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons (44 ml) of olive oil, 1 teaspoon (2 g) of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon (5 g) of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of ground pepper. Then, spread it over the turkey breast.

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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Roasting the Turkey Breast in the Oven

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  1. 1
    Preheat the oven to 450 °F (232 °C) and adjust the oven racks. Move an oven rack to the bottom third of the oven. You'll probably need to move the middle rack higher in your oven or remove it so the turkey breast fits.[5]
    • If you remove an oven rack, set it aside until you're finished roasting the turkey breast.
    • Preheating the oven to a higher temperature than you cook the turkey at will help its skin crisp.
  2. 2
    Turn the temperature to 350 °F (177 °C) and bake the turkey for 25 to 30 minutes per 1 pound (0.45 kg). Place the roasting pan with the turkey breast on the lower rack and keep the turkey breast uncovered as it bakes.[6]
    • Your turkey breast may take longer to cook depending on the size of your turkey.
    • If the turkey breast is becoming too brown, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

    Tip: Plan on roasting the turkey breast for about 25 to 30 minutes per 1 pound (0.45 kg).

  3. 3
    Check the turkey breast to see if it's reached 165 °F (74 °C). Insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is finished cooking once it's at least 165 °F (74 °C).[7]
    • If the turkey isn't at 165 °F (74 °C) yet, put it back in the oven and bake it for 15 more minutes before you check again.
  4. 4
    Remove the turkey breast and let it rest for 20 minutes. Set the turkey on a carving board and cover it with aluminum foil. Then, let the turkey breast rest so the juices redistribute within the meat.[8]
    • You can make gravy while the turkey rests.
  5. 5
    Carve the turkey breast and serve it with your favorite sides. Since carving a turkey breast is easier than carving an entire turkey, all you need to do is use a chef's knife to slice back and forth along one side of the breastbone until you reach the center. Then, carve the other breast and serve the turkey with mashed potatoes, green beans, and stuffing, for instance.[9]
    • If you have leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Slow-Cooking the Turkey Breast

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  1. 1
    Arrange the turkey breast in the slow cooker. You can put chopped vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker if you'd like to add extra flavor or have vegetables to serve with the turkey breast. Then, place the turkey breast on top.[10]
    • If you just want to flavor the turkey and create juices for gravy, slice 1 or 2 onions and lay them on the bottom of the slow cooker.

    Tip: For roasted vegetables, you could scatter 3 chopped potatoes and 6 or 7 chopped carrots in the cooker along with 1 chopped onion.

  2. 2
    Cook the turkey breast for 7 to 8 hours on "Low." Cover the slow cooker and don't lift off the lid while the turkey breast cooks. If you remove the lid, the temperature inside the cooker will drop significantly, which will make your turkey breast take longer to cook.[11]
    • If you'd like to cook the turkey on "High," check the turkey after it's cooked for 4 or 5 hours.
  3. 3
    Remove the turkey breast once it reaches 165 °F (74 °C). Once you think the turkey breast has finished cooking, stick an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey hasn't reached 165 °F (74 °C), cook it for another 15 to 20 minutes before you check it again.[12]
    • If you'd like to use a boneless turkey breast, keep in mind that it will cook a little faster than a bone-in turkey breast.
  4. 4
    Broil the turkey breast on a roasting sheet for 5 minutes. If you'd like your turkey to have crispy skin, place it on a roasting sheet and put it about 3 inches (7.6 cm) below the broiler. Broil the turkey breast until the skin becomes browned and crispy.[13]
    • If you don't mind that the skin is pale, you can skip this step.
  5. 5
    Rest the turkey for 20 minutes before you serve it. Lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the breast and rest the turkey so the juices redistribute within the meat. Then, use a sharp knife to carefully carve the turkey breast into 14 to 12 inch (0.64 to 1.27 cm) thick slices. Then, serve the turkey with any vegetables you cooked alongside it.[14]
    • Refrigerate leftover turkey in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
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Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    Does it take longer to cook three turkey breasts than it does to cook one?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    It depends. If you cook three turkey breasts in turn, then yes, it's going to take longer. But if you cook them all at the same time, no.
  • Question
    How many people can I feed with a 6 pound bone in turkey breast?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    My instructions recommend 1/2 pound per person, so theoretically 12 are fed with a 6 pound breast. But if you want to be on the safe side and/or have leftovers, figure on 8-9 instead of 12.
  • Question
    I have to travel 1 1/2 hours with a cooked turkey breast. How do I keep it warm and make sure it doesn't dry out?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Wrap some bricks in foil and place them in a warm oven until they’re nice and hot. Wrap them in a towel and place them underneath your turkey. They should keep the turkey nice and warm without cooking it more.
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Read Video Transcript


  • Consider cooking several turkey breasts at once to serve a crowd or to have on hand for the week. You won't need to adjust the cooking time.
  • If you enjoy grilling, toss the seasoned turkey breast on the grill and cook it for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Your turkey will develop a delicious smoky flavor.


  • Never rinse raw turkey unless you need to remove excess brine. Rinsing won’t wash away bacteria effectively, and it could spread harmful germs around your kitchen. The best way to get rid of germs in your turkey is to cook it thoroughly.[15]

Things You'll Need

Defrosting and Seasoning the Turkey Breast

  • Scissors
  • Roasting pan or plate
  • Measuring spoons

Roasting the Turkey Breast in the Oven

  • Roasting pan
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Knife and cutting board

Slow-Cooking the Turkey Breast

  • Slow cooker
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Knife and cutting board

About This Article

JoAnna Minneci
Co-authored by:
Professional Chef
This article was co-authored by JoAnna Minneci and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. JoAnna Minneci is a Professional Chef based in the Nashville, Tennessee area. With more than 18 years of experience, Chef JoAnna specializes in teaching others how to cook through private cooking lessons, team-building events, and wellness and nutrition classes. She has also appeared in numerous television shows on networks such as Bravo and Food Network. Chef JoAnna received Culinary Arts training from the Art Institute of California at Los Angeles. She is also certified in sanitation, nutrition, kitchen management, and cost control. This article has been viewed 521,830 times.
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Co-authors: 10
Updated: June 17, 2023
Views: 521,830
Categories: Turkey Dishes
Article SummaryX

To cook a turkey breast, first preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius). Then, rub butter or oil over the outside of the turkey breast, and season it with salt, pepper, and your favorite dried herbs. Next, place the turkey breast on top of a roasting rack inside of a pan, and place the pan in the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Cook the turkey for 1 hour, then check its internal temperature with a thermometer every 10 minutes. If the skin starts to darken too much, take the turkey out of the oven, cover it with foil, and place it back in the oven. Once the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius), remove it from the oven and serve. If you want to cook a frozen turkey breast, you should let it thaw in the fridge for at least 24 hours before you prepare, cook, and serve it. To learn how to slow-cook turkey breast, keep reading!

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