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This garlic and herb roast turkey breast is crispy on the outside and tender, juicy, and flavorful on the inside. The perfect, easy centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner!

An overhead shot of a roast turkey breast on a serving plate
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients
  2. How to Keep a Turkey Breast Moist When Roasting
  3. How to Roast a Turkey Breast
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage
  6. Tips for the Best Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
  7. Garlic and Herb Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

If you’re looking for even more easy turkey recipes, be sure to check out our maple glazed roasted turkey breast, a flavorful smoked turkey breast, and this Crock Pot turkey tenderloin, too!

I used to be so intimidated by the thought of preparing a roast turkey breast for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s such an important staple of the holiday spread, and the pressure seemed really high!

If you can relate, and if taking charge of the Thanksgiving turkey makes you want to run for the hills and order carry-out pizza, then have no fear! This garlic and herb roast turkey breast is so easy that it’s virtually impossible to mess up!

A sliced roast turkey breast on a plate with flowers

Why You’ll Love this Roast Turkey Breast

  • Quick and Easy. This turkey breast only requires about 15 minutes of prep! It also roasts faster than an entire turkey since it’s a smaller portion.
  • White Meat. If you’re someone who enjoys the white meat best, this is the perfect solution. You don’t have to settle for the dark meat as well, or fight over who gets the “best” part of the turkey.
  • Moist and Juicy. The bone and skin keep the meat flavorful and juicy while it roasts. Also, since you’re not trying to get an entire turkey to cook through, the white meat doesn’t dry out. You can pull it out of the oven as soon as it reaches the correct temperature!

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for our favorite roast turkey breast recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Whole turkey breast: look for a fresh or frozen bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. If frozen, make sure that you allow plenty of time for the meat to thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  • Lemons, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and onion: aromatics that add flavor to the meat as it roasts.
  • Olive oil: to rub on the skin, which helps it turn crispy and brown in the oven.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other ingredients.
  • Water: a little steam in the bottom of the pan helps to keep the turkey moist.

How to Keep a Turkey Breast Moist When Roasting

There are a few tips to keeping a roasted turkey breast nice and moist:

  • Use a meat thermometer to know when the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. The cooking times can vary widely depending on the size of your turkey breast, the temperature of the turkey when it goes in the oven, and your individual oven. The thermometer is the best way to ensure that you don’t overcook the turkey and dry it out.
  • Roast the breast skin-side up so that the fats drip down into the meat and really keep it moist and flavorful.
  • Baste with pan juices every 30 minutes. This adds flavor to the turkey and helps the meat stay moist.
  • Give the turkey breast time to rest before slicing. The juices will evenly redistribute throughout the meat instead of running out onto your platter.
A side shot of a roast turkey breast

How to Roast a Turkey Breast

With just 15 minutes of hands-on prep time, you can roast a turkey breast on a regular Sunday evening — no Thanksgiving holiday necessary! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Season the inside cavity of the turkey and stuff with lemon, garlic, and herbs.
  • Brush the outside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place turkey breast in a roasting pan.
  • Add water to the bottom of the pan.
  • Arrange lemons and onions around the turkey.
  • Roast for 2 – 2 ½ hours, or until the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Internal Temperature

An instant-read thermometer is always the best way to know when your turkey breast is cooked perfectly. The thermometer should register an internal temperature of 160-165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast (not touching a bone). The temperature of the meat will continue to rise slightly as it rests.

How Much Turkey Per Person

For a bone-in turkey breast, plan on 1 ¼ pounds per person. For instance, a 7-lb. bone-in breast will feed approximately 5-6 people. This delicious turkey disappears quickly, and leftovers are delicious — so we always prepare two at the same time!

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for a classic Thanksgiving feast, pair the carved turkey with gravy and any of these delicious sides:

Preparation and Storage

Leftover turkey will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can’t beat a leftover turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving! Wrapped tightly, the turkey will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

An overhead shot of a sliced roast turkey breast on a plate

Tips for the Best Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

  • If you’re using a frozen turkey breast, allow plenty of time for the meat to thaw in the refrigerator. One or two days will not be enough!
  • Line your roasting pan with aluminum foil for quick and easy cleanup.
  • If the skin is getting too dark while the turkey finishes cooking, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil.
  • For a juicy turkey breast, give the meat time to “rest” at room temperature after you pull it out of the oven (before slicing). This will keep the meat nice and juicy!
  • Don’t wait until the holidays to enjoy this recipe. An oven roasted turkey breast makes a great Sunday supper — and you can enjoy the leftovers in sandwiches all week long!
  • Need help carving your turkey breast? This is a great tutorial!
A roast turkey breast on a plate with garnishes

Leftover Turkey Recipes to Try

Quick and Easy Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup

40 minutes mins

Leftover Turkey Rice Casserole

35 minutes mins

Leftover Turkey Soup with Wild Rice

1 hour hr 15 minutes mins

Square close up shot of roast turkey breast on a serving tray.

Garlic and Herb Roast Turkey Breast

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 15 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 302 kcal
This garlic and herb roast turkey breast is tender, juicy and full of flavor. Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 7-8 lb. whole turkey breast, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cut in half crosswise (you don’t need to peel the garlic)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • A few sage leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  • Rinse the turkey breast with cold water. Pat dry.
  • Liberally salt and pepper the inside cavity of the turkey.
  • Cut the lemons in quarters and place two quarters in the cavity, along with the garlic. Add rosemary, thyme and sage to the inside of the turkey.
  • Brush the turkey with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Place the turkey in a large shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).
  • Add 1 cup water to bottom of pan.
  • Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onion in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Pour the lemon and onion mixture around the turkey inside the pan.
  • Roast the turkey breast for 2 – 2 ½ hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Baste with pan juices every 30 minutes.
  • If any part of the turkey browns too quickly while cooking, just tent lightly with aluminum foil.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and place on a large cutting board. Tent the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving. 

Notes

If you’re using a different size turkey breast, here is a good rule of thumb to follow for cooking time:
Roast bone-in turkey breast in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes per pound.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipe (skin on)Calories: 302kcalProtein: 48gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 90.7mgSodium: 1003mg
Keyword: roast turkey, Thanksgiving turkey recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I’ve never prepared a turkey before, but I might just do so after seeing this recipe. I love the garlic herb flavor, Blair! Thyme and sage are two of my favorite herbs, so I can only imagine how delicious this must taste. And yes to ALL of the turkey leftovers! Sounds perfect for the season!

  2. 5 stars
    What a great thanksgiving dinner! It would be wonderful if it’s paired with your favorite wine. Haha. Anyways, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with us! 🙂

    1. Hey, Kim! Nope, you don’t need the rack in the pan. I have a rack, but I didn’t even bother to use it for this recipe. Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    My Sis has already received a turkeey breast, so when I saw this, I knew we’d fix it your way.
    There’s just us 2 and this should work prefectly. A couple easy sides and we’re all set.

    I love your site, you have so many easy recipes that I want to try.

    Thank you so much and I look forward to your next post.

    Hugs and Smiles, Lauren

    1. That’s awesome, Lauren! I’m so glad that you’ll give this a try!

      Thank you for your sweet note about the recipes. I love to hear that you’re enjoying the site! 🙂