What Are the Best Tips for Oven Roasting a Turkey Breast?

A.E. Freeman

When oven roasting a turkey breast, the right temperature is crucial. The turkey itself must reach a certain internal temperature, and the oven must be the right temperature to prevent the meat from drying out. Adding aromatic vegetables, such as onions and carrots, helps improve the flavor of the meat. For best results, a cook should use a roasting pan with low sides. Most people cannot taste the difference between a turkey that is fresh or one that is frozen, though the age of the turkey affects the flavor.

A roast turkey.
A roast turkey.

The ideal temperature for oven roasting a turkey breast is 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). A colder temperature won't cook the bird through in a timely manner, and a hotter temperature may take too long or dry out the meat. The turkey can be roasted from a frozen state. Oven roasting a turkey breast that is still frozen takes 50 percent longer than oven roasting a thawed turkey breast.

A turkey.
A turkey.

Fresh turkey should be roasted no more than a day or two after it is purchased. A frozen turkey can be stored in the freezer for up to a year. It will begin to decline in quality and taste after a year, though. A cook should avoid thawing a frozen turkey too early or thawing and then re-freezing it.

Cooking times depend on the weight of the turkey. The smaller the turkey, the less time it needs to cook. A thawed, 6-pound (2.7-kg) bird may take up to three and a quarter hours to cook through. A 20-pound (9-kg) turkey can take up to five hours to roast. Adding stuffing to the inside of the bird adds to the cooking time.

Usually, stuffing the bird when oven roasting a turkey breast is not recommended. To be safe, the turkey breast needs to heat to an inside temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius). By the time the stuffing inside the bird reaches that temperature, the meat is likely to be dry and over-cooked.

The turkey breast should be placed in a shallow roasting pan. A small amount of water should be added to the pan before it is placed in the oven. If a person isn't stuffing the bird, she can increase its flavor by placing some chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the water in the pan. To prevent the bird from becoming too dark or overly browned in the early stages of cooking, she should cover the turkey breast, either with a lid or a tent of aluminum foil.

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Discussion Comments


SpecialBug, I have had success at brining whole chicken and chicken pieces before roasting in the oven or even frying on top of the stove. Before frying, however, drain thoroughly to avoid having hot oil interact with the water. Yum!


If you want a tasty turkey breast, brine it before roasting. I used to roast turkey without brining and it was good, but brining made all the difference. Brining is the process of soaking the turkey or turkey breast in salt water before roasting in the oven. The turkey comes out golden and moist. I never looked back after the first time I brined a turkey.

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