This dry brined turkey breast is incredibly tender and juicy from a flavorful dry brine and the perfect way to serve turkey for a smaller crowd! Serve with your favorite side dishes and lots of flavorful apple cider gravy on top.
We’re removing all fear associated with roasting that Thanksgiving turkey today with hands-down the most stress-free and freaking delicious turkey in all the land!
We know that not everyone has a huge crew of people to feed every Thanksgiving so we’re minimizing the turkey down to a breast and doing it right.
Get ready because you’re about to become a total pro in the turkey department and overall earn some major street cred in all things Thanksgiving.
You definitely don’t have to be a pro with meats to pull off this turkey breast and I’m going to walk you through each and every secret to a juicy turkey so keep reading!
This Turkey Breast features…
- An incredibly juicy and tender texture (not a speck of dryness!)
- Lots of flavor infused in the turkey from the dry brine and the flavorful garlic herb butter
- A savory apple cider gravy for serving
- Lots of tips for prepping ahead and serving suggestions
Making the Turkey Breast
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Turkey breast
- Bay leaves
- Orange zest
- Kosher salt
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Yellow onion
- Apple cider
- Chicken broth
- Roaster pan or baking dish (we typically a 9×13)
- Roasting rack (you can also use an oven-safe metal cooling rack)
- Kitchen thermometer (this is an essential for roasting turkey!)
- Carving knife (you can also use a sharpened chef’s knife)
Tips for Perfect Turkey Breast
- Use kosher salt in brine – kosher salt is best suited for brines because of its large flaky crystals. Don’t be tempted to substitute another salt because the amount will be very different.
- Use grinder for bay leaves – we use a spice grinder to finely crush the dried bay leaves.
- Brine turkey 24-48 hours – this recipe requires a 24-hour brine at the minimum and if you have the time and fridge space, we highly recommend letting it brine up to 48 hours for the maximum flavor.
- Brine turkey uncovered – this allows the cold air to circulate around the turkey and results in crispy skin. If you’re nervous about having raw meat uncovered in the fridge for this long you can always loosely cover it with plastic wrap and just remember to remove it about 6 hours before you plan on roasting it.
- Remove turkey from fridge 30 minutes before roasting – this helps the turkey come to room temperature a bit and gets it ready for roasting.
- Use damp paper towels to wipe brine off – once you’re ready to roast your turkey, use damp paper towels to gently wipe off as much excess brine as you can. (it’s okay if some there are some remnants) This prevents the turkey from being too salty.
- Rub turkey with herb garlic butter – this infuses so much flavor into the turkey and really helps the skin crisp up.
- Roast turkey 1 to 1-1/2 hours – it will take approximately 20-25 minutes of roasting per pound of turkey.
- Use kitchen thermometer – insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast to gauge doneness and add additional roast time as needed until your turkey reaches 160F.
- Allow turkey to rest – tent the turkey loosely with foil to keep warm and allow to rest 20 minutes before carving. We typically use this rest time to whip up the gravy.
Choosing Your Turkey
We recommend looking for a turkey breast that is between 3-5 pounds. Fresh or frozen turkey breast works great with this recipe, just make sure you plan ahead of time for thawing. A good rule of thumb is to plan on 1 day of thawing per each 4-5 pounds of turkey.
Should I use bone-in or boneless turkey? Either will work for this recipe, just be aware that using bone-in will take a bit longer to cook than boneless. Always use a kitchen thermometer inserted in the thickest part of turkey (not touching the bone) to determine doneness.
Side Dish Recipe Ideas
Need ideas for what to pair with your turkey? Try these favorite Thanksgiving side dishes!
- Caramelized Onion Green Bean Casserole
- Garlic Cheddar Skillet Dinner Rolls
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel
- Hasselback Butternut Squash
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Fresh Cranberry Sauce
There’s really no words to describe how massively flavorful and juicy this turkey breast turns out! Paired with the savory apple cider gravy it’s so tender you can cut it with a spoon and we actually have done exactly that.
If you’re hosting a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving this year this turkey breast is definitely your guy!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch this turkey made step-by-step on Google web stories.
Try these recipes for any turkey leftovers you may have!
- Turkey Cranberry Apple Spinach Salad
- Apple Gouda Pesto Turkey Panini
- Turkey Butternut Squash Pot Pie
Dry Brined Turkey Breast with Apple Cider Gravy
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Dry Brined Turkey Breast
- 1 (3-5 lb) bone-in or boneless skin-on turkey breast (see notes*)
- 3 medium dried bay leaves, crushed into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for roasting
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
Apple Cider Gravy
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
Dry Brined Turkey Breast
- Arrange a roasting rack in a 9×13 baking pan and place turkey breast-side up on top. Set aside for a moment.
- In a small bowl, combine crushed bay leaves, thyme, orange zest, salt, and brown sugar.
- Use your fingers to loosen the skin on turkey and generously rub some of salt mixture under the skin and on the outside all over turkey. Refrigerate turkey uncovered at least 24 hours or up to 48.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Remove turkey from refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to roast it and use damp paper towels to rub dry brine off turkey.
- In a small bowl, combine softened butter, garlic, and rosemary. Season butter with salt and pepper to taste.
- Rub butter all over turkey breast, using your fingers to rub underneath the skin and on top. Scatter carrot, onion, and additional rosemary sprigs around turkey.
- Bake turkey breast at 350F for 1 to 1-1/2 hours (about 20 minutes of cooking per pound of turkey) until turkey registers 160F when a kitchen thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of turkey (do not touch the bone if using bone-in turkey)
- Carefully drain off the pan drippings into a medium skillet, lightly cover the turkey breast with foil, and allow to rest 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
Apple Cider Gravy
- Use a spoon to skim excess grease off of pan drippings until you're left with about 1 tablespoon in pan. Heat pan over medium heat and add garlic and butter. Stir 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Whisk flour into butter mixture and allow to cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Slowly begin adding apple cider and chicken or turkey stock, whisking constantly until gravy is smooth and bubbly.
- Thin gravy with a few extra splashes of apple cider if needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep gravy warm for serving.
- Once turkey has rested, carve into slices and serve warm with apple cider gravy on top. Enjoy!