Roasting a turkey is easier than you may think, especially when you size down from a whole turkey to a Southern roasted turkey breast recipe!
A juicy, tender, and flavorful turkey breast is a timeless holiday tradition. With a short list of ingredients, you can easily prepare this Southern roasted turkey breast recipe without flipping or basting the whole bird.
This turkey breast recipe combines sweet brown sugar, tangy apple cider brine, and aromatic spices for a juicy, delicious bird with crisp skin.
You can use store-bought apple cider for the brine or make it homemade.
Perfect for a holiday dinner or easy enough for a weeknight meal. This herb-roasted turkey breast recipe is coated in a savory spice rub and slathered with apple cider brine before it’s cooked to golden brown perfection!
What’s the difference between a roasted turkey and a baked turkey?
The main difference is the temperature. Roasting happens at higher temperatures than baking – 400 degrees F or higher when roasting food. Baking is done at lower oven temperatures, below 400 degrees.
This speciality recipe is still called a roasted turkey breast recipe because a roasting pan is required to cook the breast in brine at a lower temperature to achieve an extremely moist and delicious flavor!
How do you keep a turkey breast from drying out?
The secret to a flavorful, juicy Southern bird is all in my signature apple cider brine! The beautiful fragrant marinade the turkey is roasted in guarantees not to yield a dry result.
Brining enhances the flavor and moisture, making for a juicy turkey breast, and the spice rub coating ensures a crunchy exterior with crispy skin.
This succulent roasted turkey breast offers a quick and easy way to add protein and flavor to your meal without spending the entire day in the kitchen.
The aroma of this roasted turkey breast is simply mouthwatering, and the meat is so tender you’ll be amazed!
Garnishing with apples, oranges, pomegranates, or rosemary sprigs are fabulous accompaniments that allow your guests to start eating with their eyes!
And with this recipe, even the leftovers are fantastic – if you’re lucky enough to have any!
Why turkey breast?
There’s no need to sweat over a whole turkey, especially if you only have a small family gathering or party. Also, preparing a whole turkey can be very laborious and time-consuming.
You can still have fresh turkey with this simple Southern turkey breast recipe. It’s still healthy and one of the cheapest meats, especially when compared to buying the whole bird! And you can still enjoy turkey leftovers for making sandwiches or salads the next day!
Or use the oven-roasted turkey breast instructions below for roasting one or more turkey breasts.
Kitchen equipment for a Southern roasted turkey breast recipe
Ingredients for the Southern Southern roasted turkey breast recipe
- 2 ½ – 3-pound boneless turkey breast, thawed
- 1 tablespoon of Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning (or similar – This seasoning contains soulful flavors such as salt, pepper, paprika, mustard seed, garlic powder, onion powder, bell pepper, and lemon zest all in one!)
- 1 tablespoon of Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (or similar)
- 4 cups of apple cider store-bought – Or to make a homemade apple cider brine (yum!), use my recipe HERE!
- 4 fresh herb sprigs to garnish (i.e., rosemary, parsley, or fresh thyme)
Instructions for a Southern roasted turkey breast recipe
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
- Rub and coat the turkey breast with the Southern spice rub mixture on the top and bottom.
- Pour the apple cider into the roasting pan.
- Then, place the seasoned turkey breast directly in the apple cider brine in the pan without the roasting rack.
- Baste the turkey breast by spooning the apple cider over it.
- Place the turkey in the roasting pan in the oven and roast uncovered at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Roast for 1 hour using the Instant Pot Omni Plus Oven.)
- Halfway through, baste the bird using a large spoon to scoop the brine from the pan over the turkey breast.
- When the roasting time is finished, remove the turkey breast from the oven and baste it again.
- Place this Southern turkey breast on a serving platter to slice, add fresh rosemary sprigs (what I used), thyme, or parsley to garnish, serve, and enjoy!
Could you do this with a whole turkey or just a small one?
What do you serve with Southern turkey breast?
Southern turkey is one of the most common Thanksgiving meals in the South, so it’s important to serve good soul food sides with it!
You may also want to make fresh cranberry sauce instead of using the canned stuff and drizzle it over the turkey breast to give the whole meal a homey feel!
And don’t forget to bake a Southern sweet potato pie!
What can you make with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving?
Turkey sandwiches are great, but you can make other meals with leftover turkey. Here are some of my favorites:
Southern roasted turkey breast recipe FAQs
Why do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving?
The tradition of eating Thanksgiving turkey originated in the 16th century. The English settlers who made their way to North America brought the tradition of eating wild turkeys.
What size turkey breast should you use?
This recipe calls for a 2 ½ – 3-pound turkey breast, sufficient for 4 to 6 people when sliced.
How many pounds of turkey breast do you need per person?
- A ½ pound of boneless turkey breast is recommended per person.
- You’ll need ¾ pound of turkey per person using a bone-in turkey breast.
How many people will this turkey breast recipe serve?
This 2 ½ – 3-pound turkey breast will serve up to six people.
How long to defrost a turkey breast in the refrigerator?
A turkey breast can take up to 48 hours to thaw completely in the fridge. But this time is variable depending on the size of the breast.
The USDA general rule is 24 hours to defrost every 4-5 pounds of turkey breast.
Do you put water in the bottom of the roasting pan for turkey?
Add an apple cider brine instead of water for this Southern roasted turkey recipe.
The apple cider brine will enhance the tenderness and juiciness and contribute to the flavorful pan juices, drippings, and turkey gravy.
Do you need to use a rack in the roasting pan?
Add the apple cider brine to the roasting pan without the rack inside.
Do you put the breast meat side up or upside down?
The USDA advises cooking a whole turkey breast side up because “Turning over a large, hot bird can be dangerous and it’s very easy to tear the skin.”
This rule is not necessary for a boneless turkey breast. This turkey cut is much smaller than the whole bird, so the danger is less.
Should a turkey breast be cooked covered or uncovered?
For this Southern roasted turkey recipe, the turkey cooks uncovered because the apple cider brine enhances the flavor and maintains moisture while cooking.
The spice rub coating ensures a crunchy exterior with crisp skin because the turkey breast roasts without a cover.
Can this recipe use a roasting bag for the oven?
More specifically, can this be roasted using a Reynolds turkey oven bag?
A roasting bag is not necessary for this Southern roasted turkey breast recipe. So, even though it’s cooked uncovered, the moisture is maintained because of the lower oven temperature than a true roast and the apple cider brine.
Should you salt a brined turkey?
Even though store-bought turkeys are often pre-brined with salt for tenderness, seasoning with salt or seasoning salt is still necessary.
What can you put on your turkey to give it flavor?
Turkey meat has no spectacular flavor on its own. So, it’s essential to pump up your roast turkey with complementary flavors.
Soul food seasoning rule number one: Always season your meat!
Seasoning your turkey (especially with salt) before cooking allows the spices to penetrate the meat and helps release the flavor during the cooking process.
Other great seasonings and spices for a turkey include:
- Seasoning salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Pro tip: Some folks slather fresh herbs and spices on the bird with olive oil or a softened butter mixture.
How many minutes per pound should you cook a turkey breast?
Asked another way, how long do you cook a turkey breast in the oven?
It’s recommended to cook a 2½- to 3-pound boneless turkey breast, roasting at 325 degrees F for 40 to 60 minutes. That’s about 20 minutes per pound.
What temperature should turkey breast be cooked at?
Turkey is a lean protein, so it’s important not to overcook it if you want juicy meat.
Roasting turkey breast at a lower temperature, 325-375 degrees F, helps cook the meat evenly, avoiding the dry and tough meat that can result from overcooking.
However, turkey breast can dry out no matter how you cook it. So, cooking it in this apple cider brine ensures a flavorful, juicy, and delicious finish each time!
What temperature should the turkey breast be when done?
Asked another way, how can you be sure your turkey breast is cooked enough?
A thermometer inserted in the center should register at 165 degrees F after an hour when roasting a turkey breast. A meat thermometer is the best way to ensure the turkey is done.
You can also use a meat thermometer for turkey breast pressure-cooked in the Instant Pot or dutch oven.
How long does it take to roast a turkey breast?
Roating a turkey breast can take 1-2 hours, depending on the breast size and whether it’s a bone-in or bone-out cut of meat.
Do you need to baste a turkey breast while cooking?
Yes, for this Southern roasted turkey breast recipe, baste before, halfway through, and again when finished cooking.
How do you store cooked turkey breast?
To store a cooked turkey breast, wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can turkey breast be frozen?
Yes, a cooked turkey breast can be frozen. You can freeze leftover turkey breasts for up to 3 months when well-sealed in a freezer bag or airtight container.
Did you enjoy this Southern roasted turkey breast recipe?
Have you had it?
Would you make it?
Comment below and lemme know.
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- 2 ½-3 pound turkey breast boneless, thawed
- 1 tablespoon seasoning Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning, or similar
- 1 tablespoon seasoning Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning, or similar
- 4 cups apple cider Store-bought, or see the notes below to get my homemade apple cider brine recipe
- 4 sprigs herbs i.e.,fresh rosemary, parsley, or thyme
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
Rub and coat the turkey breast with the Southern spice rub mixture on the top and bottom.
Pour the apple cider into the roasting pan.
Then, place the seasoned turkey breast directly in the apple cider brine in the pan without the roasting rack.
Baste the turkey breast by spooning the apple cider over it.
Place the turkey in the roasting pan in the oven and roast uncovered at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Roast for 1 hour using the Instant Pot Omni Plus Oven.)
Halfway through, baste the bird using a large spoon to scoop the brine from the pan over the turkey breast.
When the roasting time is finished, remove the turkey breast from the oven and baste it again.
Place this Southern turkey breast on a serving platter to slice, add fresh rosemary sprigs (what I used), thyme, or parsley to garnish, serve, and enjoy!
Calories: 1443kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 248g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 612mg | Sodium: 2363mg | Potassium: 3617mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 1157IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 683mg | Iron: 18mg
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