Not making an entire turkey this year? This oven roasted turkey breast recipe is just as good, if not better than roasting the whole bird! Perfect for when you’re having smaller gatherings for your holiday dinner.
Sometimes you just don’t need a full size turkey. This oven-roasted turkey breast is a great option for feeding a small group; whether that be for the holidays or any weeknight dinner at home.
That’s where this whole turkey breast comes into play. You get all that delicious turkey flavor, but it’s the perfect size for feeding a smaller group without having leftovers for days.
Baked Turkey Breast
Why is this recipe so darn good? Mayonnaise… or mayo as most call it.
In my everyday life, I don’t really enjoy mayonnaise that much. In fact, I won’t eat it out of a jar, only if it is homemade. So the fact that I LOVE it in this recipe is pretty remarkable.
Mayonnaise is made from salt, eggs and oil. Salt helps brighten flavors, eggs bind and are sticky and oil keeps it all moist.
These three elements make it the perfect glue, for better words, for slathering onto a turkey breast. You don’t have to baste it! It just sticks.
But mayonnaise is funny. Even though it is so simple, there is a wide range of mayo flavors and many are passionate about their favorites. Dukes being a big one in the south.
Can I use a Whole Turkey?
Why make turkey breast instead of a whole turkey? There are several reason.
When making it for a holiday, a turkey breast is perfect for a smaller, more intimate gathering.
Turkey breast is less intimidating than roasting a whole a turkey. Two turkey breasts will still feed 4-5 people.
But to answer your question, yes, you can use it on a whole turkey.
Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is white meat, meaning it is lean, lower in fat and calories than other, dark meat, parts of the turkey.
And of course, it takes less time to roast a turkey breast than a whole bird. You don’t need to mess around with an extra large roasting pan or filling the turkey cavities for maximum flavor.
Don’t just make this turkey breast recipe for Thanksgiving, it can be made all year long!
And as far as I know, it is considered to be keto friendly, paleo and Whole30 friendly as long as you use the approved mayonnaise. Primal Kitchen and Tessamae make these.
For the rest of the recipe… check out my tips for using fresh herbs. You can use dried, but fresh packs so much more flavor.
PRO TIP: If substituting dried herbs for fresh, use 1 tablespoon fresh herbs for every 1 teaspoon of dried. Or vice versa.
Tips for Chopping Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are the real winner of this roast turkey breast. Check out my tips for the best way to chop them.
- Use a very sharp knife or kitchen shears. See my Knife Skills post for more info.
- Use a wood chopping board. It is better for your knives and makes fragile chopping cleaner.
- Dry herbs chop easier than damp or wet herbs. Rinse a few hours before using to allow them to dry or blot with a paper towel before chopping.
- For rosemary, splay the leaves to the side andude kitchen shears to snip it off.
- For thyme, using your fingers, pull up against the grain, removing whole leaves.
- For sage, tear off whole leaves. Pile them on top of each other flat and then chop vertically and horizontally for perfect littles squares.
- Use flat leaf (Italian parsley) for seasoning and recipes.
- Use curly parsley for garnish.
Easy! Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons flour in a small skillet. This makes a roux. Whisk until a paste forms and it browns slightly.
Add 2-4 tablespoons pan drippings and 2 cups turkey or vegetable broth. Simmer and whisk until smooth and thick.
Season with salt and pepper. You can also add a small amount of white wine right before serving for extra layers of sophistication.
Check out my post on chicken gravy (only using turkey drippings) for most detailed instructions.
Red Wine Gravy also tastes AH-amazing on this dish!
Why You’ll Love This Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
A juicy turkey breast coated in flavorful mayo rub is the perfect way to take your Thanksgiving to the next level!
- Versatile – Don’t limit turkey to just Thanksgiving- you can make this delicious turkey breast all year round.
- Family favorite – No matter what time of year you make it, the simple flavors and juicy meat are sure to please the whole family.
- Quick and easy – This turkey only requires 10 minutes of prep, making it perfect for a weeknight meal.
The ingredients for this turkey recipe are really quite simple, and together they make the juiciest turkey.
- Turkey breast – For this particular recipe, we use a boneless turkey breast rather than a bone-in turkey breast.
- Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise is funny. Even though it is so simple, there is a wide range of mayo flavors. But when blended with traditional fresh herbs, slathered on and baked to a golden brown, it’s incredible.
- Fresh herbs – We use a blend of sage, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Together, these herbs help to make the most flavorful roast turkey breast you’ve ever had.
- Salt – I like using fine sea salt, but you can also use kosher salt if you prefer.
- Pepper – I always prefer to use freshly ground black pepper when I’m cooking.
- Turkey gravy – Making a gravy with the pan juices is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner. So flavorful and surprisingly really easy.
How to Make Roast Turkey Breast
With a flavorful herb mayo and no time at all, you can have this moist turkey in the oven and ready for the big day.
- Prepare oven. Preheat oven.
- Mix seasoning rub. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sage, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Set aside.
- Season turkey. Season turkey breast with fine sea salt and ground black pepper. Slather the top with herbed mayonnaise.
- Bake. The exact cooking time is going to vary based on the size of your turkey breast. If the mayonnaise starts to brown too much, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake until the thickest part of the breast registers at 165 degrees.
- Let rest. Remove and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Do I need to Rest Turkey Breast?
Resting turkey breast after cooking is a crucial step in ensuring a juicy and flavorful final product. When you cook turkey breast, whether roasted or grilled, the heat causes the juices in the meat to move towards the center.
If you were to immediately slice into the turkey breast after cooking, these juices would spill out onto the cutting board, leaving you with drier and less tasty meat. Resting the turkey breast allows these juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more evenly moist and succulent texture.
Additionally, resting the turkey breast helps to relax the muscle fibers, making the meat more tender. This is especially important when dealing with lean cuts like turkey breast, which can easily become tough if not handled properly.
What to Serve with Roast Turkey Breast
This is a turkey after all, so you can of course serve this scrumptious turkey for Thanksgiving. Smaller turkeys like this one are perfect for when you only have a couple people to feed.
This tasty bird is perfect all year round. Because it’s so easy to make, we make it all year long and get delicious results. Serve with any side dish your heart desires.
Roast Turkey Breast Variations
There are plenty of ways you can make this flavorful turkey your own. Here are a few suggestions.
- Seasoning – Want to add a little citrusy kick yo your juicy turkey breast? Try mixing some orange zest or lemon zest into the herb mixture. To really take it up a notch, you could even add some orange juice or lemon juice.
- Crispy skin – If you like your skin of the turkey breast a little crispier, remove the aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time. You’ll still have juicy meat on the inside with golden brown perfection on the outside.
Storage and Freezing
Sometimes meals taste even better the next day. And there are about a thousand and one uses for turkey leftovers.
Store any leftover turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for up to five days. Breast meat tends to be a tad dryer, so I like to add some gravy into the container to keep things moist.
You can also freeze this turkey breast. It freezes easily in an airtight container or freezer bag and will last for up to six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, we bake it at 250 degrees. However, it’s most important to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165.
The mayo mixture is the secret ingredient that helps to keep the turkey juices in the turkey.
We bake ours uncovered, but if you see that it’s browning too much, you can loosely cover with a piece of foil.
More Turkey Recipes
- Orange Thyme Turkey
- How to Brine a Turkey
- Cranberry Turkey Roll-Ups
- Turkey Noodle Soup
- Stuffed Turkey Breast
Herb Mayonnaise Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sage, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Set aside.
- Season the turkey breast with fine sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Slather the top of the turkey breast with herbed mayonnaise. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting dish.
- Bake, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes. The exact time is going to vary based on the size of the turkey breast. If the mayonnaise starts to brown too much, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake until the center registers at 165°F.
- Remove the turkey breast and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with turkey gravy, if desired.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.