Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

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If you don’t want the hassle of cooking a whole turkey, opt for a smaller portion by roasting a turkey breast half instead.

Turkey Dinner

It used to be that every year I would buy a whole frozen turkey, let it take up valuable refrigerator space for the week before Thanksgiving, and then frustrate myself to no end about getting that bird dressed and cooked in a reasonable amount of time.

Then after the meal there was the issue of stripping the meat from the bones, making the stock, and dealing with leftover meat, usually only dark meat, which my family doesn’t really care for, not matter how I hide it in casseroles. (If it were white meat leftovers, no problem! We love turkey, just not the dark stuff.)

So, after several years of threatening to make tri-tip instead of turkey, I found a wonderful, beautiful, tasty compromise:

The Turkey Breast

You can buy just a turkey breast. All year long. I found them at Sprouts for $2.99. No, that’s not the cheapest price on turkey, but since we waste nothing from this cut, it pays off in the end.

Plus, when Sprouts didn’t have as many as I wanted, the butcher grabbed a fresh turkey from the case, carved it up on the spot and gave me both breast halves. Whoo hoo!

(Well, he didn’t give them to me; I bought them. But, I call that service with a smile! He even went looking through the store to find me to deliver them to my cart.)

You can buy a turkey with the thighs, legs, and wings cut off, giving you the full breast on the entire bone. You can also buy the breast halves individually. This is what I did last Thanksgiving and what I’m doing forever and ever again. Amen.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast


If you love dark meat, then this isn’t for you. But, it’s a great way to have your turkey without feeling overwhelmed or throwing out your back. Been there, done that.

This 3-pound turkey breast easily fed the eight of us, but wasn’t enough for leftovers, so I will be making several turkey breasts in the future. I don’t mind white meat leftovers. But, you knew that already.


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Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: herb-roasted turkey breast, roast turkey, turkey breast
Servings: 8
Calories: 228 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 3 pound turkey breast half
  • 1/4 cup salted butter softened (You can use ghee if doing a Whole 30)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprigs of thyme and sage optional
  • 1 onion sliced, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the turkey breast half in the prepared pan.
  3. In a small dish, combine the butter, thyme, tarragon, and sage.
  4. Loosen the skin of the breast and spread the butter evenly under the skin. Sprinkle the skin generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the herb sprigs and onion in the baking dish around the turkey breast.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 425°. Reduce the heat to 325° and continue baking for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Allow the turkey to rest before slicing.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1/8 of the recipe. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.

Nutrition Facts
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 107mg36%
Sodium 402mg17%
Potassium 432mg12%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 211IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Which do YOU choose: white or dark meat?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Laura C says

    Good idea. We are white meat eaters here but do have other family that like dark meat. And I will eat dark meat in casseroles and turkey salad. So I will probably still cook a whole one since its so cheap!

    • I may buy a few cheap birds because of the bargain factor. I’ll either invite friends who like dark meat or use the dark meat in tamales. I might be able to hide it that way. 🙂 But, I’ll make them AFTER thanksgiving not for the holiday. Too stressful for me.

  2. Jennifer says

    I always make my turkey in the crockpot. I get a 10-12 lb. whole turkey and sometimes have to cut the legs off and re-arrange it to make it fit. It’s the best turkey I’ve ever eaten.

  3. Jrseygirl in VA says

    We have been doing this for years. Ever since I made my first whole turkey and ended up with most of it, except the breast,headed for the trash, I resolved to never waste that much food again. Luckily one of our surprise guests took the carcass and remaining dark meat with him. It’s so much easier but thanks for the recipe as I am always trying to re-figure the amounts from whole turkey recipes. I usually get a whole breast and with our family of 5 usually have a full breast left over.

  4. Sandi says

    We’re dark meat fans here, so it is usually the white meat getting added to casseroles and pots of chili. We do eventually and relatively painlessly eat it all, so I do buy and cook the whole bird when they are on sale for those seemingly unreasonably low per pound prices. However, I would like to make a suggestion for the next breast you roast: try adding some sliced citrus along with the onion. Either lemon or orange work great and really infuse the meat with a subtle but delicious flavor.

  5. againstthegrain says

    I roast a bone-in half turkey great about every other week for my teenage son’s packed lunch sandwiches. For just a few minutes of hands-on effort and a little time, one half breast makes a week’s worth of sliced turkey for sandwiches and snacks at approximately half the per price of processed turkey lunchmeat and without any of the gross additives and “not required to be labeled” transglutaminase, aka “meat glue”, which is priceless in my opinion.

    After I slide a sharp carving knife between the the slightly cooked down roasted meat and the rib bones (trying to keep the meat in one piece), the I break the bones up and store them in a zip bag in the freezer to await the next batch of turkey or mixed poultry broth (also made weekly or every other week in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker). Another food budget bonus and cleaner eating, less packaging.

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