This roasted turkey breast recipe is perfect for a small Thanksgiving dinner. The combination of herbs, butter and lemon results in a delicious and moist turkey breast.
Have you started putting together your Thanksgiving recipes? I hope it includes Turkey! Try our Persian style roasted turkey or if you have a small family, you can make our slow cooker turkey breast or this herb and lemon roasted turkey breast recipe that's packed with so much flavor. Read on for the step by step instructions and
Why this recipe works
We love this easy turkey breast recipe for a few good reasons:
- Simple to make: This recipe has three steps - make the butter mixture, spread it under and on the skin and roast the turkey in the oven. That's it, no fuss, no mess.
- Juicy and moist: Thanks to the compound butter, the turkey breast remains juicy and full of flavor after it's fully cooked.
- Flavors: The combination of herbs and lemon is so perfect for turkey. It's rustic, flavorful and smells fantastic!
If you're looking for a turkey recipe for a small Thanksgiving, try this turkey breast recipe. You and everyone else at your table will be so happy!
Turkey breast - I used bone-in skin-on turkey breast for this recipe. However, you can also use boneless skinless breast, keep in mind that the cooking time would reduce.
Butter - I prefer unsalted butter for this recipe so I can control the amount of salt used.
Herbs - A combination of rosemary, sage, thyme and tarragon would flavor the turkey breast perfectly. I love using fresh herbs for this recipe but dried herbs work great as well. If using dried herbs, one teaspoon of each herb would work.
How to roast a turkey breast in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Pat dry the turkey breast completely and set it aside.
- Make the compound butter by mixing chopped rosemary, thyme, sage and tarragon with softened butter and lemon zest.
- Rub the butter mixture under and on the skin of the turkey breast.
- Place the turkey breast on a roasting pan or a baking sheet and roast until the internal temperature registers at 165ºF.
How long does it take to roast a turkey breast?
It takes about 2 - 2 ½ hours to roast a 6-7 pound bone in turkey breast. Start checking the internal temperature after one hour. When the temperature registers at 165ºF, the turkey breast is fully cooked.
The secret to a juicy turkey breast
Here is the trick to have a juicy turkey breast: Once the cooking is completed, take the turkey breast out of the oven and cover with foil. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before slicing. The resting time will help the roasted turkey breast to keep the juices in.
If serving this juicy turkey breast for Thanksgiving, you can serve it with our popular turkey gravy (made with no drippings, so perfect for this recipe!), homemade stuffing, apple cranberry sauce and of course, some tasty mashed potatoes. If having a feast, try our parmesan garlic buns and roasted butternut squash salad as well.
Frequently asked questions
The rule of thumb is to have one pound of turkey per person. But if you want to make sure you have leftovers, then go for 1.5 pound of turkey per person.
I strongly suggest that you serve this roasted turkey breast once it's cooked and fresh because of the crispy skin. However, if you don't care about crispy skin, you can serve it a couple of hours later.
Yes, simply slice the turkey breast and place the slices in freezer bags and freeze for up to two months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and place on a baking sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 300F for about 30 minutes or until fully warm.
Both would work great for this roasted turkey breast recipe. If buying fresh, you can keep the turkey breast in the refrigerator for about two days prior to cooking. As for frozen turkey breast, depending on how large it is, it would take between 1 to 3 days for it to thaw in the fridge.
You need about 20-25 minutes per pound so a boneless turkey breast that weighs around 5-6 pounds would take about 1 ½ - 2 hours to roast perfectly. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165ºF per FDA's suggestion.
Notes and tips
- The butter and lemon give that nice golden top to the turkey. Be generous with butter, and make sure you rub it everywhere under and on the skin.
- I strongly suggest using fresh herb but if for any reasons you cannot find fresh herbs, dried ones would work fine, too.
- If after 40 minutes of cooking the skin is perfectly brown, cover it loosely with an aluminum foil to avoid burning while the turkey cooks.
- Make sure you cover the turkey after you take it out of the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes. This will help the turkey breast to hold the juice in and will result in juicy and moist turkey breast.
- Got leftovers? Try Ross Geller's turkey sandwich or make these delicious cranberry, cheese & turkey filo rolls with the leftovers!
More Thanksgiving recipes
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Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter Room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary Chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme Chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage Chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon Chopped
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 whole turkey breast bone in skin on about 5 pounds
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a roasting pan and its rack.
- In a small bowl, mix butter, salt, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, lemon juice and lemon zest together until it forms a paste.
- Using your hands, loosen the skin on the turkey breast. Make sure not to tear the skin.
- Grab some of the butter mixture and spread it under the skin, make sure all the breast is covered.
- Spread the rest of the butter mixture on the skin.
- Place the turkey breast on the rack in the roasting pan.
- Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Then lower the heat to 325F and cook for another 80-90 minutes until it's fully cooked and the thermometer inserted in the thickest part of breast registers 165°F.
- Take the turkey breast out of the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil and let it sit for 20 minutes before slicing.
- You can use the same recipe to make a whole turkey. Double the butter mixture for a whole turkey and increase the cooking time by 2-2 ½ hours.
- After 20-30 minutes of cooking, check and see if the skin is brown enough. If it is, cover loosely with aluminum foil to avoid burning.
- You can use boneless skinless turkey breast for this recipe. The cooking time will be about 60 to 90 minutes.