How to Cook the Perfect Turkey Breast?

Do you have any tips for cooking the perfect (and NOT dry) turkey breast? My son complains every year that my turkey is always so dry. Because it is just the three of us, I usually only cook a small turkey breast. HELP me cook that perfect Thanksgiving turkey this year! :) Thanks in advance!


Sue A.

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By Marnita (Guest Post)
November 9, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

The key is to brine your turkey first. Here is a recipe I have used in the past. It makes the turkey very moist and tasty:

Turkey Brine

2 gallons water
1 1/2 cups canning salt
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

In a large bucket or container large enough to hold your turkey, mix together the water, salt, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Store in a refrigerator, and soak turkey for 1 day before smoking or roasting.

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By Gisela (Guest Post)
November 17, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have been making this turkey for 3 years know and my family is not to big on turkey because it is so dry but behold the first time I made it they thought it was chicken.


I take white or cider vinegar
ground black pepper
garlic salt
and a little sofito (spanish seasoning)
I mix all these together and rub on the turkey.
I polk holes in the turkey so the wet rub can seep inside.
the key is I take garlic glioves and mash them then rub it in and outside the turkey as well as under the skin
I let the turkey sit in the fridge for at least 3 days.
I bake it in the oven on 250 to 300 degrees overnight.
The dripping I use as the gravy.
This is a spainsh style turkey.
You will love it

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By Marlene (Guest Post)
November 9, 20050 found this helpful

We use an injectable marinade, you can find different types down the aisle where they sell salad dressing at the grocery store. Place the marinade in a small strainer over a bowl to strain out any chunks (which clog your injector), load your injector (found in the same aisle) and shoot up that bird!


Makes for a great moist turkey breast.

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By mvb (Guest Post)
November 9, 20050 found this helpful

What I do is....I use a crock pot......I use water and white wine and use garlic salt to season.....Let the crock pot do the cooking.......have a wonderful Thanksgiving...mvb

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November 9, 20050 found this helpful

I agree w/ Marnita. Brining is the key. I know this from experience, as well as from frequent testimonials from cooks who I trust, and from Cooks Illustrated magazine (the magazine of America's Test Kitchen).

If you are only using a small turkey breast, you won't need the large quantities of brine that Marnita's recipe will make. Just mix salt and cold water in the ratio of 1/4 cup table salt (or 1/2 cup kosher salt) to 4 cups of cold water, and stir to dissolve. Add whatever other flavors you prefer. Soak the meat in the brining solution for 2 to 24 hours, depending on the size of the cut of meat.


Pork chops would soak for 2-4 hours, while a 20 pound turkey would need 24 hours. If you need to soak the meat for a long time, put it in the refrigerator. Then remove the meat from the brining liquid, rinse it off in plain water, and cook it in whatever way you prefer. Just remember to reduce or omit the salt in your recipe, since the meat will already be seasoned enough with salt.

You can brine almost any type of meat (except fish), but you will be especially amazed at what a difference it makes to those cuts of meat that dry out easily, like turkey and chicken white meat, pork chops, and shrimp.

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By christi (Guest Post)
November 9, 20050 found this helpful

I can tell you this because this was a mistake that worked out for the good. But this is for a whole turkey, which even with a small family, you can freeze leftovers into smaller portions to be used later.


Anyway cook the turkey upside down. The breast will be always in the liquid and will be very moist. We just wash our turkey and rub it down with butter and baste with sprite. Yeah the soda. Its very good.

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By Cheryl (Guest Post)
November 10, 20050 found this helpful

I always use my crock pot when cooking a turkey breast. It comes out moist & tender EVERY time. I first make a blend of thyme, sage, garlic salt, pepper & Old Bay Seasoning. Mix these together, lift the skin of the turkey,& rub seasonings on the meat. On the bottom of your crock pot place 2 celery stalks, & 1 medium onion ,quartered, then place the turkey (skin side up) in the crock pot. Pour 1 can of chicken broth on & in the crock pot, set to high & let it do it's thing for 6-8 hours or until internal temp. gets to 195'. Trun off crock pot, remove turkey & let set on a platter for about 15 min. before carving & enjoying!

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November 10, 20050 found this helpful

Cook it breast side down and towards the end of the cooking time turn it over to let the top brown. You may want to cook it with a tinfoil tent when the breast side is down. Good luck! Susan

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November 10, 20050 found this helpful

I use oven bags. Just rinse your turkey, stuff if you must, salt and pepper inside and out. Add one tablespoon flour to the bag and shake to cover inside of bag, stuff turkey in, poke about six slits in top of bag, seal with provided tie and bake.


Moist everytime and easy clean up too.

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By Rachel in TN (Guest Post)
November 10, 20050 found this helpful

I have the absolute simplest recipe ever. I have always used a crockpot to cook mine (small family as well). Just put 1 1/2 to 2 sticks of butter in the bottom of your crockpot and then place your turkey breast on top. Cook on low for around 6 - 8 hours. Remember NOT to take the cover off your crockpot, because every time you do, you lose an hour. Everyone always raves over my turkey. Hope this helps and if you don't try it for Thanksgiving, please try it another time. you will not be dissapointed.

Rachel in TN

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November 12, 20050 found this helpful

We use a large roasting bag. Punch a few holes in the top of the bag after you put every thing in it. We use turkey breast and wash pat dry. Use a can of cream of chicken soup. Then clean a carrot add it in three to four pieces then celery cleaned and chop like the carrot. Add a small onion clean and leave it whole. Close bag and put few holes in top of bag. Cook till done. This is so juicy and goooood. Mom has done this for years and we now have to do two turkey breast so use 2 cans of the chicken soup... as they want BBQ slaw with the turkey for sandwiches the rest of the week. Yum we have the best sold here at two of our resturants... Hope everyone has a great holiday season and share with us your dinners...
Tonya in NC

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December 24, 20050 found this helpful

We always buy a butterball turkey.
Also put bacon over the exposed part.
Breast is always the top.
We also add extra water for more juice.
Cook on 350 for an hour, turn down to 225
and cook slowly all night.
I put mine in the oven about 11:00 pm.
Good Luck on your moist turkey.

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By Paula in ga. (Guest Post)
December 26, 20050 found this helpful

This is it. If you are looking for a moist turkey, LOOK NO FURTHER!

I usually just cook a turkey breast for thanksgiving and my secret is the stone dome lid cooker that I use. This cooker is one that I bought at Parisian many years ago cuz I wouldn't pay the big $$$$ that Pampered Chef offered.

It is a round bottom pan with sides, much like a round cake pan adn it comes with a large round dome lid.

Season the turkey any way you like. Put it in the cooker, put the lid on, drop it in the oven and FORGET ABOUT IT!

Take the lid off the last 20-30 minutes to brown. YOU WILL NOT BELEIVE HOW WONDERFUL IT COOKS. It is moist every time!

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By SeaMaiden (Guest Post)
December 19, 20070 found this helpful

You can also use a Romertopf clay baker, smallest size does ok for a 3-4 lb. turkey breast. Soak baker pieces in water for at least 15-20 minutes before using. Put turkey breast in baker. Pour 1 cup white wine on it (or mix some wine and water). Put clay top on. Set in cold oven. Turn oven to 475 degrees and cook about 1 1/2 hours, removing top last 20 min and basting frequently so it will brown if you want breast brown. Be willing to risk scorching baker at 475 degrees. The normal temperature, which you can also use, is 450 degrees--but cook it longer. VERY VERY JUICY AND TASTY!

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By GAIL (Guest Post)
March 11, 20080 found this helpful

Do not put bacon on turkey. The turkey will taste like bacon yuck! Just put foil over it and take it off for the last twenty minutes. No bacon.

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By Turkey BREAST (Guest Post)
April 6, 20080 found this helpful

Can someone tell me how long and at what temperature to cook the perfect turkey breast rather than a whole turkey?

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By erbear (Guest Post)
October 8, 20080 found this helpful

I usually cook the turkey on a very low temp and use chicken broth as the base. I also mix in turkey gravy as it is cooking:)

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By Di (Guest Post)
November 20, 20080 found this helpful

Just curious, if you cook your turkey breast in your crock pot, does it brown? Any help is appreciated!

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By Lynn in St. Louis (Guest Post)
November 25, 20080 found this helpful

You will not believe this, but the very best turkey breasts I have ever cooked are frozen. Unwrap the frozen breast, and place frozen into a large crock pot (At the store look for a breast that is sort of flat vs. tall). Add about a cup of water and a little turkey gravy mix if you like, I do. Cover the crock pot tightly. Cook overnight on low. You will not believe the brown, moist, awesome turkey you have the next day! And the oven is free for casseroles, rolls, etc. Oh, and if there is a bag of giblets stuffed up the turkey's butt, no problem. Leave it there. It will come out neatly as it cooks. Seriously, try this. If you are scared to do it for holiday, do it midweek for a real treat.

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By Fordgal4 (Guest Post)
November 25, 20080 found this helpful

Here is one I haven't read. Place a turkey breast in a crock pot. Add one can of jellied cranberry sauce, 1 cup of orange juice. (Season the turkey with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme if you like). Cook on low heat for 8 hrs or high for 5 hrs. Don't lift the lid, there is no need to. It will come out very moist. Try it.

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By Vickie (Guest Post)
November 26, 20080 found this helpful

I was given this recipe and my turkey breast is really moist and picture perfect each year.

Salt and pepper thawed turkey breast
2 whole potatoes
2 stalks of celery
1 medium to large onion

Place potatoes and celery on both sides of the turkey breast in the pan. I usually place the onion toward the neck part of the turkey breast.

Sprinkle Poultry Season on the turkey breast, celery, potatoes and onion. I use a lot but you can adjust how much you want to use.

Cook @ 325 for the alloted time per weight of the breast. Only baste 2 times. Take foil off the top last 30 mins.

Sprinkle Poultry Season on turkey breast, potatoes, celery, and onion.

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By Cynthia (Guest Post)
February 9, 20090 found this helpful

The best way is to brine the turkey over night, the day before you cook it, and cook until the white meat is around 165 degrees. The brine makes a perfect flavor and the cooking temp. allows the bird to stand for a while and reach 170 on it's own. The reason turkey is SO dry is because most people over cook the meat. For a great brine, and how to do this, just look up Alton Brown's ideas on He's amaznig.

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By Kyle (Guest Post)
February 28, 20090 found this helpful

This page is most helpful. I love turkey breast and always try different ways to prepare it. Thanks for all your help.

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June 11, 20090 found this helpful

I have used the methold with a can of cranberry sauce and some orange juice and other seasonings and we like that real well. At other times I lift the skin of the breast and rub Cajun seasoning into the breast. This is our favorite and the more seasoning we rub in the better we like it. Both of these are done in the crockpot. I also add some water or chicken broth. I will have to try doing this when the breast is still frozen. My turkey breasts in the crock pot never get browned, but they are also well done that the meat falls off the bones when we take it out.

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April 16, 20110 found this helpful

I have what is probably a dumb question. I have two turkey breasts, one 2.9 lbs and one 3.9 lbs. Both have to be cooked at the same time in the same oven. How does one calculate the necessary cooking time in such a situation"
Thanks in advance,

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