Learn how long to cook a turkey breast so it’s perfectly tender and juicy! If you’re having a small Thanksgiving dinner, a turkey breast is a perfect choice. We’ll cover the temperature for roasting turkey breasts in the oven and how to check doneness.
Instead of cooking a whole turkey, cooking turkey breasts for a smaller gathering is a faster and more convenient way to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas.
For those who prefer white meat to dark meat, the breast is definitely best. The meat is nicely seasoned, tender and juicy with a delectably crispy skin. Our favorite way is to roast it in the oven, but you can also cook a turkey breast in the smoker, crockpot or stovetop. One average turkey breast is enough meat for about 5 servings, making it ideal for your weekly meal prep.
How Long Does it Take Per Pound to Cook a Turkey Breast?
Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound of turkey breast at 350°F. A lower temperature would increase your cooking time and a higher temperature will cook the meat faster. Also bear in mind that bone-in turkey breast takes longer to cook than boneless.
How Long to Cook Turkey Breasts?
How Long to Roast Turkey Breasts in the Oven?
In the oven, you’ll need 20 to 25 minutes of baking time per pound of turkey breast, depending on the temperature used.
How Long to Cook Turkey Breast in a Smoker?
A 5-pound turkey breast will take around two hours at a temperature of 225°F.
How Long to Cook Turkey Breast in a Crock Pot?
How Long to Cook Turkey Breast on the Stove Top?
On the stovetop, a turkey breast needs 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Bone-in turkey breast takes longer to cook than boneless turkey breast.
Tips for a Perfect Turkey Breast in Oven
- Keep the skin on: This barrier helps to retain juices for more flavorful meat. Removing the skin will cause the meat to dry out and lose flavor. Also, why would you want to miss out on that delicious crispy skin?
- Start at a higher temperature: The same way you sear beef to seal in the juices, roasting for 20 minutes at a high temperature makes for a juicier, more tender turkey breast. The higher temperature also makes the skin crispy.
- Use a thermometer: An instant-read thermometer works well or even a dual-probe wireless thermometer for continuous monitoring. Remove from heat when your turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF and no more.
- Baste the turkey: Baste or spoon the juices onto the meat to help keep it juicy. This also makes the meat more flavorful.
- Let it rest: After roasting, the turkey breast should sit undisturbed and covered for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
How Long Does it Take to Cook a Turkey Breast per Pound at 350?
In the oven, you’ll need to bake your turkey breast for 20 to 23 minutes, using a temperature of 350°F.
How to Cook a Boneless Turkey Breast?
It’s easy to cook turkey breast on the stovetop. Rub a tablespoon of oil all over the turkey and season with salt, pepper and herbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons each of oil and butter in a Dutch pot, using medium-high heat. Add the turkey when the oil begins to sizzle. When the meat has browned on all sides, reduce to low heat and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes per pound.
How to Cook a Bone In Turkey Breast?
Cooking a bone-in turkey breast is no different from cooking a boneless one. The only difference is that you will need an additional five minutes of cooking time per pound.
How Long to Thaw a Turkey Breast?
You can safely thaw turkey breast by putting it in the fridge. A 5-pound turkey breast will take about 24 hours to thaw using this method.
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How Long to Roast Turkey Breast in Oven
- 1 turkey breast boneless or bone-in with skin on
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons canola oil or similar high-temperature oil
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF, placing the rack in the lower middle position. Set aside a roasting pan fitted with a rack, or alternatively a baking sheet with wire rack.
- If using fresh thyme, remove the leaves from the sprigs. In a small bowl, combine the thyme with 2 tablespoons softened butter and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Pat dry the turkey with paper towels and place on a work surface. With the turkey skin-side down, rub with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Flip the turkey so it’s skin side up. Push your fingertips beneath the skin to loosen slightly without detaching. Then spread the butter mixture evenly beneath the skin to coat, taking care to not separate the edges of the skin from the meat. (This will help keep it juicy.)
- Transfer the turkey to the prepared pan. Rub the outside with the oil and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. If using a wireless thermometer, insert the probe into the center of the breast.
- Place in the oven to roast at 425ºF for 20 minutes. Baste the turkey with pan juices, if any.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 325ºF. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF to 165 ºF in the center. Total roasting time will be 20 to 25 minutes per pound, depending on size and whether it’s boneless or bone-in.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil or another plate to keep warm. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing.
- Roasting Times: If you prefer roasting at one temperature only, the roasting times will be as follows:
- 22 to 25 minutes per pound at 325ºF
- 20 to 23 minutes per pound at 350ºF
- 18 to 20 minutes per pound at 375ºF
- 16 to 18 minutes per pound at 400ºF (not recommended)