Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Breast


Easy, moist, and tender turkey breast. A foolproof turkey recipe to make your Thanksgiving dinner perfect. Use pan drippings to make a smoky turkey gravy.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
1 day 1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 day 4 hrs 30 mins
2 turkey breasts



  • 4 cups water

  • ½ cup kosher salt

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, cracked

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 4 sprigs fresh sage

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 (5 pound) boneless turkey breast halves

Herb Butter:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped

  • 1 sprig Spices, thyme, fresh

  • 1 sprig Fresh Sage

  • 1 teaspoon pressed garlic

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

For Roasting:

  • 6 medium carrots, cut into large chunks

  • 6 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into large chunks

  • 2 medium yellow onions, quartered

  • 8 fluid ounces chicken stock, or more as needed


  1. Heat water for brine in a 6-quart pot over medium heat until steam begins to rise to the surface. Stir in kosher salt and sugar until dissolved. Add liquid smoke, peppercorns, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and smoked paprika. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and let rest and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Do not refrigerate to cool.

  2. Place each turkey breast in a zip-top freezer bag. Evenly divide the brine, herbs, and garlic between the bags. Remove excess air, seal, and put into the refrigerator, 24 to 36 hours before you roast your turkey breast.

  3. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry, and let rest for 30 minutes. Pour brine through a strainer; discard brine but reserve garlic and herbs.

  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

  5. At the same time, mix softened butter with rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, black pepper, and paprika for herb butter. Set aside.

  6. Arrange carrots, celery, bell peppers, onions, and reserved garlic and herbs from the brine in the bottom of a roasting pan. Rub about 1/4 of the herb butter on each breast under the skin. Don't remove the skin. Rub the rest of the butter on top of the skin. Arrange the breasts in the roasting pan on top of the aromatic veggie rack; add chicken stock to the bottom of the pan.

  7. Roast in the center of the preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each breast reads 160 degrees F (71 degrees C), 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with a foil tent, and let rest for 15 minutes. The internal temp will rise above 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) during this rest.

Cook's Note:

The brine is probably the most important step. It will keep the breast moist and flavorful. Do not skip.

Editor's Notes:

Always brine foods in a food-grade, nonreactive container such as a stainless steel or enameled stockpot, a brining bag, or a food-grade plastic bucket.

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of brine ingredients. The actual amount of brine consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

611 Calories
13g Fat
19g Carbs
101g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 611
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 294mg 98%
Sodium 4067mg 177%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 101g
Vitamin C 49mg 244%
Calcium 123mg 9%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 1274mg 27%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love