Classic Roast Turkey Breast

Roast citrus turkey breast is a savory showstopper for Thanksgiving. This gorgeous dish cooks quickly and delivers juicy meat and luscious pan gravy.

The Backstory: Classic roast turkey breast is one of the easiest ways to prepare turkey and sometimes my go-to for when my husband and I are having a low-key Thanksgiving (read: the kids are with their other parents on a given year and it’s just the two of us) and I opt to prepare a breast and not the whole bird. Despite the bad rap turkey breasts get for being dry (there’s that white meat thing), it’s very easy to make a moist, juicy breast, a delicious pan gravy, and pair it up with homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potato and marshmallow casserole and before you know it–you’ve got yourself a mighty fine Thanksgiving meal. And let’s not forget the popovers! More of the Backstory after the recipe

Classic Roast Turkey Breast

Juicy and tender white meat has a hint of sweet citrus flavor and plenty of savory seasonings for an all out delicious taste sensation. Top with hot pan gravy for a truly spectacular meal.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 1 6 pound Kosher fresh turkey breast at room temperature (for approx. one hour)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • paprika
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1-2 cans chicken stock or broth
  • 1 orange cut in half


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If bird comes with netting on it, keep it one and wash bird thoroughly and pat dry. Otherwise, wash bird and pat dry, and then use kitchen twine to tie up the breast to keep it rolled together. Place on a cutting board or clean surface to season. (I prefer the breast that has the netting.)

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and butter. Using your hands, rub the mixture all over the roast, including the bottom of the bird.

  3. Generously season the breast with Kosher salt, pepper, and paprika. Place roast in pan.

  4. Place onions and cut up orange around the roast. Add rosemary, sage and thyme and thyme around the breast.

  5. Pour half a can of chicken stock or broth on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 hours or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Baste every 30-45 minutes.
  6. When done, remove roast and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let sit on cutting board for 15 minutes before carving. In the meantime, prepare the gravy.

  7. Remove and discard the herbs, fruit and any large pieces of onion. Skim off any visible fat and discard. Place the roasting pan on the stove over a burner on medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, adding a little of the remaining chicken stock if needed to increse the amount of gravy. If the gravy is too thin, add 2 tbsp. flour to a small cup with 2 tbsp warm water and dissolve completely. Whisk into the hot gravy until completely dissolved and keep stirring until you get desired consistency.

…The Backstory continues:┬áBut perhaps one of my favorite reasons for making a roast citrus turkey breast (aside from the fact that I’m not a dark meat kind of girl) is that it takes no time at all. Once you’ve seasoned the breast and placed it in the roasting pan with some aromatics and slices of orange or lemon, the oven pretty much does the rest of the work. About 2-3 hours later depending upon the size of the breast, you’ve got yourself a delicious dinner. No fuss, a little basting here and there, and that’s about it.



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Jodi Luber

Jodi Luber

Here goes: Born in Brooklyn. Daughter of a bagel baker with a Henny Youngman soul and a mom who makes Joan Rivers seem tame. Late bloomer. Married the love of my life at 45 and love being a mom to our three kids. I'm a professor at Boston U. Happiest in the kitchen baking and remembering how my dad would melt from a single bite of my cheesecake.
Jodi Luber
Jodi Luber

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