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How to Cook a Bone-In Turkey Breast

As joyous as holiday dinners can be, one factor will always make the cook’s heart skip a beat- cooking the turkey. We’ve heard wails around us regarding raw spots, dried-out meat, vast amounts of leftovers, and loads of other complaints. And if you’ve ever been in such a situation, you may find yourself dreading those Thanksgiving cooking days. But you can still prepare your favorite poultry without shedding a tear. And how do you do that? Just cook a bone-in turkey breast!

Turkey Breast Nutrition Facts

How to Cook a Bone-In Turkey Breast

Why Cook a Bone-In Turkey Breast?

Of course, you may frown at the thought. I mean, why make just the breast when you could have the whole bird? But once you’ve discovered the upsides to cooking a bone-in turkey breast, you’ll be glad to know;

It’s Economical-You can balance the chance of fewer leftovers with feeding a good amount of people. And based on the size, you can feed up to six to 10 people with one deliciously prepared turkey breast,

It Cooks Evenly-No more worry about some portions of the meat not getting entirely done. The turkey breasts cook evenly regardless of how you prepare them.

The Bone Adds Flavor-The bone adds a deeper flavor to the turkey breast than its boneless counterparts. And you can also keep it aside to make a tasty broth for next time.

Cooking Methods for Bone-In Turkey Breasts

Bone-in turkey breast is so versatile; you can prepare it in various ways;

In an Oven- Dry the turkey breast with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Then, rub it generously with a seasoning mix of your choice, making sure to coat every part of the meat. Also, loosen the skin and rub some of the dry spice rubs underneath it as well. Once done, put the turkey breast on a rack, breast side up, and pour some broth or wine into the pan beneath it. Then, roast in a 325F preheated oven for about 1½ to 2½ hours. Be sure to baste the breast a few times with the broth or wine as it cooks.

In an Instant Pot- Pour in two cups of broth or water, along with sliced celery, garlic, and onions. Then, rub the turkey breast with oil and seasoning mix and place it in the instant pot with the breast side up. Cover the lid, seal the valve, and set the timer (a seven-pounder takes about 35 minutes, so adjust as needed). When it’s ready, let the instant pot naturally release the pressure, and the needle reaches zero.

In an Air Fryer- Season the turkey breast and set the air fryer to preheat at 360F. Then place the breast sideways on the basket and cook for 25 minutes. Turn it to the other side and cook for another 25 minutes.

In a Slow Cooker- Pat the turkey breast dry to remove moisture, and rub it all over with oil and seasoning mix. Be sure to get the mixture underneath the skin as well by making a pocket inside it. You can also add halved lemons to this cavity. Next, arrange some halved onions at the bottom of the pot and place the meat on it with the breast side up. Cover the lid and cook for six hours on LOW.


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Extra Cooking Tips

  • Your turkey must cook to an internal temperature of 165F before you set it down. So, check for this with a meat thermometer.
  • Always let your bone-in turkey breasts rest for 15 to 30 minutes before you carve. This period allows the juices to redistribute in the meat.
  • For the oven-roasted method, set the turkey down at 150F and tent with foil. Then let it sit, so the internal temperature rises to 165F, and the juice is reabsorbed.
  • You can also dry-brine the breast by rubbing it with salt and leaving it overnight in the fridge. This technique adds more flavor to the oven-roasted method.
  • You can also make gravy with the flavorful pan drippings left behind when the bone-in turkey breast is done.

Carving Bone-In Turkey Breasts

To carve the bone-in turkey breast, slice along the center and close to the bone to release each half. Then, lay the halves down and cut in thin slices against the grain.

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Oven-Roasted Bone-In Turkey Breasts (6 to 8 servings)

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  • One bone-in turkey breast, six pounds
  • ¾ cup broth or white wine
  • Two large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • One-and-a-half tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
  • One tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • Four teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
  • Two teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary
  • Two teaspoons freshly chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon


  1. Dry the meat and loosen the skin over the breast. Then rub half the salt over the turkey breast. Next, rub another one teaspoon under the loose skin, and keep it in the fridge overnight. You can also cover the meat lightly with parchment paper.
  2. Bring the turkey breast out of the fridge around 30 minutes before cooking time. Then set the oven to 325F. Mix the seasonings, aromatics, zest, and juice with the olive oil in a bowl. Once the meat has reached room temperature, rub half of it generously over the surface and the remaining underneath the skin.
  3. Set the turkey breast on the rack and pour the broth or win in the pan below. Then roast in the oven, basting with the pan liquid a few times as it cooks. Cook for 1½ to 2½ hours or till the internal temperature hits 150F.
  4. Set the turkey breast down and tent lightly with foil. Then, leave it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes, so the carryover cooking pushes the internal temperature to 165F.
  5. Carve the turkey, slice, and serve with a drizzle of the pan juice.

Also, here’s a video recipe for more ideas on cooking bone-in turkey breasts.

  • Author: Bobby