Easy Roast Turkey Breast

Easy Roast Turkey Breast

I tend to eat the same healthy meals over and over again, as I'm sure you find yourself doing.  Roasted turkey breasts is one of those things I eat as part of a healthy meal pretty regularly.  Unfortunately, I did not have the consistent quality of the turkey breast every single time I made it - which was frustrating.  I would eat something that had a high water base with it just to get it down like a cucumber, or choking it down on top of a salad because it had turned out with the texture of a Mr. Clean eraser sponge.  (As I imagine a Mr. Clean eraser sponge might taste, I've never actually tried this)  Healthy eating is not always cheap, especially proteins, so I did not want to waste any morsel of it if I didn't have to.  Sound familiar?     

I decided to set out on a hunt to find a perfect recipe that I could replicate every time.  If, in any case I found myself wanting to have a different flavor, then I would just change the seasonings.  Other than that, this recipe is pretty fail proof and produces the same tender turkey breast (or chicken breasts*) every single time.  I usually buy it with the bone in which helps to add more flavor to the meat. 

Turkey is difficult to keep tender because it has such a low fat content.  This works absolutely every single time if you follow it.   It works with chicken breasts as well with a little bit of tweaking.  I've tried it with both and was very happy with the outcome of both.  This is a little bit more time consuming, but with a little bit of planningcorrectly, you can actually save time with this.

Roasting just the breast is pretty simple for the mere fact that it is only one kind of meat.  Roasting the whole turkey is much trickier because it has two different kinds of meat which require different temperatures.  You have the white meat, dark meat and several different thickness of meat that you have to contend with.  The white part of the meat can run the danger of being bland and overcooked.  The trick is to cook the meat to 2 different temperatures.  The meat just under the skin is likely to overcook in a moderate oven.

*This recipe is for turkey breasts.  You may brine the chicken breasts in the same ratio of water to salt (sugar), but just cook them just as you normally would cook your chicken breasts.  You do not need to put your breasts in a roaster in order to cook them.  Just cook, grill, bake, or broil then just as you normally would.  You are only adding brining as an extra step.

For Brining:

2 quarts of water
1/2 cup of salt
1/2 cup of sugar - this is entirely optional, I did not add sugar
a container to fit that in along with the turkey or chicken breasts

Brining Instructions:

Take the water and salt and combine them both into a container and mix them together with a spoon or spatulascraping the spoon across the bottom of the container to ensure that the salt is completely mixed into the water.

Add the turkey breast to the salted water and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes, but no longer than an hour.  Do not brine the breast any longer than 1 hour, it will be too salty.

Rinse and pat dry after you remove the turkey breast from the brining liquid.

What you will need for cooking:

  • a roaster (or a rimmed baker's sheet - preferably a professional one so that the pan does not warp in a hot oven)
  • a wire rack 
  • an instant read thermometer 
  • water for filling in the bottom of the pan (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup)

Cooking instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Take the wire rack and place it on top of the rimmed baking sheet.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of water (or broth if you plan to make a sauce or gravy out of it) into the bottom of the pan.
  • Season the chicken breasts to your liking and be sure to liberally rub the seasoning onto all parts of the turkey breast including under the skin (and on top of the skin if you plan to eat it)  and all around the outside of the breast where you see and exposed breast meat of the chicken.  MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT ADD ANY MORE SALT AS YOUR SEASONING, it will be too salty!
  • Place the turkey breast on top of the rack on the rimmed baking sheet with the skin side facing up.  (Make sure to the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven).
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 425°.
  • Reduce heat to 325° and bake for another 30 minutes.  
  • Remove from oven.
  • Stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast to check the temperature.  If it has reached 160°, then remove it from the oven.  If it has not, then continue to cook until it has reached 160° in 10 minute increments.
  • Once the desired temperature is reached, remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting.  
  • Enjoy your super moist turkey breast!  You can even reheat it in the microwave (wise to do in 10 second increments) and it will not dry out.  You will never want to eat it prepared any other way again!  It's super moist.