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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means amazing food is going to be everywhere! One of the most daunting tasks is roasting that huge turkey! I’m a dark meat person myself because I love the flavor but if the breast meat is cooked right, it gives the dark meat a run for its money as far as moistness goes. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to roast a perfectly moist turkey breast so that you can enjoy white meat too!
I knew Thanksgiving was coming up and I knew I had to do a turkey post because so many people are scared to cook their own turkey; I can definitely understand why. It’s a big bird, the dark meat cooks slower than the white meat which in most cases means that the white meat is going to soak up all of the gravy from your mashed potatoes because they’re so dry. It’s quite an undertaking!
*As a note before we begin, I’d like to say ideally these tips I’m about to give you would be best used a couple days ahead of time BUT if that just isn’t the case for you, I will give you some short cuts that you can use the day before Thanksgiving or the morning of! Also, if you are roasting a whole bird, feel free to use these tips as a way to better enhance your whole turkey (you’ll just want to roast the turkey longer).*
One of the best ways to help your turkey breast be as moist as possible and get a good flavor from the beginning is to brine your turkey breast for at least a day. I brined mine for about 36 hours before roasting. However, if you are short on time, you can easily inject this brine into the breast with a syringe!
First off, what is a brine? A brine is a saline solution (for lack of a better word) that infuses moisture and flavor into a meat via osmosis. A brine consists of water, sugar, salt, and aromatics that is boiled until the sugar and salt are dissolved. It’s then cooled to room temperature and the meat is then completely submerged with the liquid. Pretty easy stuff!
Those of you who have small families might also be tight on space (I am so I totally get your plight, I have a tiny fridge). I simply put my turkey breast in the same pot that I created my brine in and placed it in the highest part of my fridge. Place your breast in your pot and add the water to it; that way you already have the correct amount of liquid you need with the meat in the pot. However, if you happened to be blessed with a huge fridge or even a second fridge (you have no idea how jealous I am of you for that), simply make your brine and place it on one of those Styrofoam boxes with a 9×13 pan underneath to catch any seeping brine. Put your whole bird in the box and chill in your spacious fridge!
What in the world is a compound butter? It’s a flavored butter that can have different herbs and spices in it to help infuse more flavor into a meat or dish. I love putting a compound butter on turkey breast because it adds a ton of moisture from the fat of the butter (who doesn’t love that?!) and it also helps deliver the different spices and herbs in a semi-uniform way. We want our turkey to be moist AND have an amazing flavor! Rub the compound butter not only on the skin but underneath on to the actual meat.
Cover with Foil
For about the first hour of roasting, I’ll keep my breast exposed to the heat so it gets that nice golden color but the meat is nowhere near being completely cooked. Make a tent with a piece of foil to lightly cover the turkey so that it slows the coloring on the skin. It’s more for aesthetics than anything else; we do eat with our eyes first though!
That’s it! Those are my tips for an amazing turkey breast! Give these a try for Thanksgiving and let me know how you love it. Try this recipe along with my
Yeast Rolls and
Apple Pie Recipe or
Chocolate Cream Pie to get the whole feel!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flake
- 1 each cinnamon stick
- 2 each bay leaves
- 1/3 ounce thyme fresh
- 1 sprig rosemary fresh
- 1 bunch parsley stems
- 4 ounces Butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons thyme chopped
- 2 teaspoons rosemary chopped
Bring all of the brine ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pot, boil for 5 minutes. Shut off heat and cool with ice cubes.
Place turkey in brine and chill in the fridge for at least a day.
When ready to roast the turkey, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take turkey out of the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Make compound butter by mixing the room temperature butter with the herbs until fully mixed. Spread the butter all over the turkey breast, on the skin and underneath on the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Place turkey in a 9x13 baking pan with a cup of water or turkey stock in the bottom to help create steam in the oven. Place turkey in the oven and roast for two hours or until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees. Halfway through roasting, baste the turkey with the juices on the bottom of the pan and cover with tin foil.
Once turkey is done roasting, let the turkey sit in the pan and baste every 15 minutes or so until the juices have redistributed. Carve the turkey and serve with your favorite side dish.