Roasted turkey breast is one of my favorite meats and I am constantly experimenting with new cooking techniques and flavors for it. This recipe is definitely a big hit. It results in buttery tender and moist turkey breast, which is a huge accomplishment with such a lean type of meat. The aromas of roasted garlic and herbs are irresistible.
Injecting a turkey breast prior to roasting is not something I’ve tried before. I’ve mostly used brine for turkey meat in the past, but I decided to give it a go after seeing great results with my Chipotle Oven Baked Chicken Thighs. Of course, extra lean meat such as turkey breast would need a different type of injection compared to chicken thighs.
For the turkey breast injection I chose garlic and herb infused butter. The recipe for this injection was adapted with several changes from the Garlicky Butter Injection recipe I found in Flavorize: Great Marinades, Injections, Brines, Rubs, and Glazes book.
My initial concern was the amount of butter used in the injection and that it would make the roasted turkey breast taste too greasy. Not at all! The butter made the lean meat taste extremely tender and moist, without greasiness. A lot of the butter will run off during baking, so there will be little left in the meat. However, the buttery juices at the bottom of the pan proved so flavorful and delicious that we couldn’t resist using them as a dip.
The baking temperature of 325F was chosen on purpose. As I mentioned in my Tender and Moist Baked Chicken Breast post, I had experimented a lot before arriving at what I think is the optimal oven temperature for baking chicken breasts. Turkey breasts are not that much different and I use the same temperature for roasting turkey breasts. Same as with chicken breast meat, higher temperatures will dry out turkey breast meat. I would not go higher than 325 degrees. This temperature helps the meat retain its moisture and prevent it from drying out too quickly. Lower baking temperature is not substantially beneficial for oven roasting.
Finally, I highly recommend using a BBQ thermometer when making roasted turkey breast instead of an instant thermometer. Seriously, my wife and I a short while ago started using my BBQ thermometer in the kitchen oven and can’t stop praising it. I had been using it exclusively for grilling and smoking, but one day I tried using it in the oven when I was experimenting with a new chicken breast recipe.
The control I got over the final results was phenomenal. You just set it and forget it. It will beep to alert you when the food is done. No need to run back and forth to check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. No opening the oven a dozen times, releasing heat and extending baking time. No more overcooked, rubbery chicken breasts. How did I not think of using my BBQ thermometer inside before?
If you have a BBQ thermometer like many of us do, use it! If not, get one! On the picture above you see my Thermoworks thermocouple thermometer with high heat probes for using on open fire grills and in smokers. It’s quite expensive and is an overkill for kitchen oven use. Something like ThermoPro TP08 will be more than adequate and much more gentle on the wallet.
- 1 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (2 - 2½ lbs)
- 1½ sticks / 170 g unsalted butter (if using salted butter, adjust the amount of salt)
- 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary
- ½ tsp dry thyme, finely ground
- ½ tsp black pepper, finely ground
- 8 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, garlic, rosemary, pepper, and thyme.
- Microwave the ingredients on high for 1 minute, or until the butter has fully melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave oven. Mix all ingredients really well and set aside for 5 minutes for the butter to get infused with the garlic and herbs.
- Return the bowl back to the microwave oven and cook the mixture on high for another 30 seconds to ensure that the butter is fully liquefied.
- Strain the butter mixture through a fine sieve. Save the garlic and the herbs.
- Place the turkey breast in a baking dish, skin side up. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the injection from accidentally squirting all over the kitchen. Fill the kitchen injector with the strained butter and inject the breast all over, in a diamond pattern, injecting about ¼ - ⅓ of an ounce at a time.
- Add the garlic and herbs that you saved earlier. Rub the garlic/herb mixture and the butter from the bottom of the baking dish all over the turkey breast.
- Evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt all over the breast and pat it down to make sure the salt sticks.
- If using a BBQ thermometer (highly recommended), insert the probe into the thickest part of the turkey breast and connect to the thermometer.
- Bake at 325F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or so, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 165F. Brush the top of the breast with butter/pan juices about 1 hour into roasting.
- Remove from the oven and let the roasted turkey breast rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
1. Bake the turkey breast until internal temperature reaches about 158F.
2. Brush the top of the breast with pan juices.
3. Turn on the broiler to low.
4. Continue cooking with the broiler function turned to low until the breast's internal temperature reaches 165F.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your turkey breast during broiling to prevent burning. If you see the skin has browned enough and the internal temperature has not hit 165F, switch back from broil to bake, and cover the breast with foil.