How to Cook Boneless Turkey Breast

Опубликовал Admin
11-06-2021, 06:40
Boneless turkey breast is a delicious alternative to chicken, and it makes a great substitute when you don't have time to cook an entire turkey. Turkey breasts usually weight between two and ten pounds, providing plenty of meat for a crowd. They're easiest to cook in the oven or with a slow cooker. The turkey's tender white meat makes a great base for any type of seasoning mix.

Buying and Prepping the Turkey Breast

  1. Buy it by the pound. Boneless turkey breast can be bought fresh or frozen by the pound. Turkey breasts are much larger than chicken breasts, so you'll want to factor that in when you decide how much to buy. A serving size of turkey breast comes out to 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person. Since cooked turkey keeps well in the refrigerator, you may want to buy extra so you'll have leftovers for sandwiches.
    • If you're buying fresh turkey, look for tender pink breasts with no spots of discoloration. If you're buying fresh turkey that comes prepackaged, make sure to use or freeze it before the expiration date.
    • Choose frozen turkey breast with no signs of freezer burn. Uncooked turkey breast can be kept in the freezer for up to nine months.
  2. Thaw it if it's frozen. If you try to cook your turkey from a frozen state, it will take an incredibly long time. Using a refrigerator to thaw slowly is the recommended method. The night or so before you plan to cook the turkey breast, place it in the refrigerator so it can slowly thaw. You'll need to allot 24 hours of thawing for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight.
    • Leave frozen breast, still in its packaging, in the refrigerator for as long as necessary to thaw it out. Put the breast on a plate or tray to catch any juices that might drip out of the packaging as the meat thaws.
    • If you're pressed for time, thaw the turkey in cold water bath. Submerge the still-wrapped turkey in a large bowl or sink of cold tap water. Replace the water every half hour with fresh cold tap water.Allot half an hour of thawing time per pound of weight using this method.
    • Use a microwave for the fastest thawing alternative. Remove all packaging from the turkey breast. Place it on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices. Use the power setting and cooking time recommended for thawing or defrosting meat in the user’s manual.
  3. Remove the packaging. Once the breast has thawed, remove any packaging it came in. Fresh or frozen turkey breast often comes wrapped in plastic netting, and you want to be sure to remove this before cooking the turkey. If your breast came rolled up like a roast, unroll it before cooking.
  4. Consider marinating the turkey breast. While using a marinade isn't required, it results in tender, flavorful meat. Make your marinade at least an hour before you plan to cook the turkey. Choose any store-bought marinade to flavor your turkey, or make your own. Place the turkey in a large food storage container and pour the marinade over it. Use one-fourth cup of marinade into the container for every pound of turkey meat. Let it marinate for one to three hours before cooking.
    • You can whip up a quick marinade by mixing 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt for every four pounds of turkey.
    • Be sure to place the meat back into the refrigerator for the duration of the marination.
    • Because thawing at high temperatures (cold water bath and microwave) can encourage bacteria growth, it’s recommended that you cook fast-thawed meat immediately. Therefore, you must slow-thaw your turkey breast in the refrigerator if you plan to marinate it for a few hours before cooking.

Cooking Boneless Turkey Breast in an Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 °F (163 °C).
  2. Calculate the cooking time. The larger your turkey breast, the longer it will take to cook. When roasted at 325 °F (163 °C), turkey breast requires approximately 25 minutes cooking time per pound.
    • For a smaller four to six pound turkey breast, set aside between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours. For a larger six to eight pound turkey breast, set aside between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours.
    • If you're cooking at an altitude of 5,000 or more feet, you'll need to add five to ten extra minutes' cooking time per pound.
  3. Season the turkey. Rub the turkey breast with olive oil, and sprinkle the skin with a few pinches of salt and pepper. If you wish, sprinkle dried thyme, oregano, sage or basil on the turkey.
    • If you want to use fresh herbs, chop them roughly and insert them under the skin of the turkey, so they'll cook right against the meat to flavor it.
    • If you like the taste of lemon with poultry, try slicing a lemon and inserting the slices under the skin, to be removed after baking.
  4. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Spray an oven-safe roasting pan with non-stick spray or vegetable oil to prevent the turkey from sticking to it. Place the turkey breast in the roasting pan skin-side up.
  5. Cook the turkey. Roast the turkey until the internal temperature is 155 °F (68 °C) as measured by a meat thermometer. Cooking the turkey at a lower heat (325°F) helps make sure that the breast doesn’t dry out.
    • If you want to make sure the breast stays moist, you can baste the top of the breast periodically throughout the cooking process. Use either a large spoon or a turkey baster to pour the pan liquid over the surface of the breast.
    • For crispy skin, turn on your broiler and broil for five minutes after it has been brought up to an internal temperature of 155 °F (68 °C).
  6. Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Cover the turkey with foil and let it rest on a countertop for several minutes. During this time, juices from the turkey will reabsorb into the meat. Skipping this step will result in drier meat.
  7. Slice the turkey breast. Use a carving knife to cut it into portion-sized slices. Place them on a large plate for serving.

Cooking Boneless Turkey Breast in a Slow Cooker

  1. Calculate your cooking time. Since a slow cooker operates at a much lower temperature than an oven, it takes much longer for the turkey breast to reach an internal temperature of 155 °F (68 °C). This enables you to turn it on and forget about it for several hours as you go about your day.
    • Using the "low" setting, a smaller four to six pound turkey breast will take five to six hours to cook in a slow cooker. A larger six to ten pound breast will require eight to nine hours.
    • Using the "high" setting will result in lower cooking time, equivalent to that of a conventional oven.
  2. Place the turkey breast in the slow cooker. Remember that it must be thawed and unwrapped before cooking. It's also a good idea to remove the skin. You can't crisp the skin in the slow cooker, so you may as well discard it before cooking.
  3. Add seasonings. Anything you add to the slow cooker will simmer with the turkey breast all day, creating an amazingly flavorful final product. You can make your own seasoning mix or use a mix bought from the store. Try one of these:
    • Make your own by combining 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon pepper.
    • If you don't have the right spices, you can use a packet of onion soup mix or a bouillon cube or packet. Dissolve one cube/packet in a cup of hot water and add it to the slow cooker.
  4. Consider adding vegetables and herbs. The great thing about a slow cooker is that it’s one-pot cooking that can’t be messed up, so go ahead and throw whatever vegetables and herbs you have in the fridge in there, so long as they make sense with turkey. Potatoes, carrots, and onions are all great options for vegetables, as are parsley, sage, and oregano for herbs.
    • Chop vegetables into larger chunks to prevent them from breaking down too much over a long cooking time.
    • If you don’t have fresh herbs in your fridge or garden, you can replace them with dried herbs from your spice rack.
  5. Cover everything with water. Add enough water to cover the top of the turkey, so it won't dry out as it cooks. You can also use chicken broth in place of water.
  6. Set the power level on your slow cooker. Depending on how much time you have, you’ll set it to either high or low. Remember that if you set the slow cooker to low heat, it will take somewhere between five and eight hours to cook; if you set it to high heat, it will take much less time.
  7. Check the internal temperature to make sure it's cooked through. Make sure the internal temperature of the turkey reaches at least 155 °F (68 °C) by using a meat thermometer. Insert the end of the thermometer into the thickest portion of the breast, being careful not to poke the thermometer all the way through the breast. Wait for the display to stabilize before reading the temperature.
  8. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker to carve. Place it on a cutting board and use a carving knife to cut it into slices.
  9. Finished.


  • If a meat thermometer is not available, cook the turkey breast until inside juices run clear. To test this, make a small cut into the center of the turkey breast. Juices escaping through this cut should be completely clear to indicate a thoroughly cooked breast.


  • Always slow-thaw the meat in a refrigerator if you plan on marinating it, as fast-thawed meat must be cooked immediately.
  • Don't refreeze fast-thawed meat; it must be cooked immediately.
  • Cook the meat immediately if you fast-thaw the turkey in a cold water bath or by defrosting in the microwave.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling raw meat.
  • Don't let your turkey thaw too quickly, as this can allow potentially dangerous germs to develop.
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