Let me show you a very simple oven baked turkey breast recipe today. I’m using mashed potatoes as the side dish and I will also show you how to make a simple but delicious gravy in one go. Because let’s be honest here, serving a turkey breast without some sauce simply isn’t right. Now let’s go.
The best part about this recipe is that the gravy basically cooks along with the turkey breast, you just need to collect the juices from the dish and blend it with the rest of the ingredients. And you can do this while the meat is resting. But more on that later.
What type of turkey breast to use?
For today’s recipe, I’m using 2 medium sized boneless and skinless turkey breasts. Simply because that’s what I could get at my local store. Using a bone-in and skin-on breast would totally work just fine.
How long to bake turkey breast for?
There is one general rule that everyone seems to follow and I have to say it works pretty well. This rule says 20 minutes at 350F (180C) per pound is about right. But it’s not that easy. It works really well when cooking one large breast that’s about 3 pounds (1.5kg) heavy. In this case, the baking time would be 3 x 20m = 60 minutes.
But, when baking a smaller one, let’s say a 1.5 pound piece… this would take the time down to 30 minutes which certainly isn’t enough. The way you bake the turkey breast matters too! Using some cover/lid or foil will affect the time as well, it takes a bit longer this way but the result is much more predictable.
This being said, my preferred way is baking the turkey breast covered with foil for 50-60 minutes at 400F (200C), then broiling it for 10-15 minutes afterwards. The foil prevents it from drying out and the broil gives it a nice color at the end.
These amounts are good for about 6 proper servings.
2 medium sized turkey breasts (1.5lb or 750g each)
2 small or 1 large onion
5 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoons of honey
Juice from 1 half of a lemon
½ cup of chicken stock
3/4 stick of butter (90-100g)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of red paprika
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1.5 teaspoons of salt
How to make baked turkey breast and gravy
Watch the video recipe or scroll down for detailed instructions:
I’m using two nice boneless and skinless turkey breasts today. Each of them weighs about 1 and a half pounds which is well enough to prepare 6 large servings.
TIP: You can use bone-in and skin-on turkey breasts too and if you have just one large piece, that’s fine aswell.
Let’s season the meat first. I’m using the same baking dish that I will bake the turkey breasts in later on to save myself some cleaning time. Salt goes first and you can be quite generous with it. I have used one and a half teaspoons of salt in total. And make sure you apply salt from both sides please.
Now add some Dijon mustard, about one teaspoon per breast should be enough. Spread it out evenly so all parts are covered. Use your hand or some brush if you don’t want to get messy. Flip the meat and do the same with the other side.
TIP: The mustard serves as a binder for the other seasonings so make sure all parts are covered.
And now the rest of our seasonings. You will need one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of caraway seeds or cumin, two teaspoons of red paprika and one teaspoon of black pepper. Flip the breasts and apply the same seasonings from the other side. By the way, the amounts of spices I have mentioned are the total amounts so don’t add all of them on just one side. I’m also using a tablespoon or two of olive oil. It helps to form a nice even layer of spices that sticks to the meat nicely.
Now use your hands again and give those turkey breasts a nice massage. Make sure every part of the breasts is nicely covered. The red color of paprika will help you here, once the meat is nicely red from all sides, you know it is properly seasoned.
TIP: You know the rule here, right? Anytime you touch raw meat, wash your hands afterward to prevent contamination… turkey breasts are no different so don’t forget about it.
For the best results, I always brown the turkey breasts before baking them. Add a splash of olive oil into a pan and go in with the meat. Give it 3 or 4 minutes and flip. Wait for 3 or 4 minutes again and take the breasts of the pan.
As I have mentioned at the beginning, this recipe comes with a gravy and we need some more ingredients for it. Drop 2 tablespoons of butter into the same pan, let it melt and deglaze all the little bits that are left in it.
Add 2 small or 1 large roughly chopped onion and about 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped again. To give the gravy a nice color, I’m adding one chopped carrot as well. 2 tablespoons of honey for some sweetness and the juice from one half of a lemon for some acidity. Mix it all up and saute on high for about 3 minutes.
Go in with half a cup of chicken or beef stock, hit it with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix properly again, bring the mixture to a boil and we are ready for the next step.
Add about half of this mixture into the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Let’s not forget some fresh herbs, I’m using rosemary but thyme would be perfect too. Place the turkey breasts into the dish now and pour the rest of the vegetable mixture over it. And finish it up with some more fresh rosemary, there is never too much of it in my humble opinion.
Cover the baking dish with foil and into the oven it goes. I’ve preheated mine to 400F or 200C.
Let it bake for 30 minutes, then take the dish out of the oven, remove the foil and flip both of the breasts. Put the foil back on and return the dish to the oven for 30 more minutes.
Once this time has elapsed, it’s time for one more flip. So let’s take the dish out of the oven again and do it. The breasts are pretty much fully cooked by now and we just want to brown them a little bit. So, back to the oven, this time without the foil, turn the broiling mode on and give it about 10-15 minutes.
One last step is needed and we are done. And that’s the gravy. Remove the turkey breasts from the dish and let them rest while we work on it. Now pour everything that’s left in the baking dish into a small pot. Grab a hand blender and give it a good run. Keep blending until there are no more pieces left in the gravy and it becomes smooth.
TIP: You can run the gravy through a strainer to reach a super smooth consistency, but it’s not really needed if you blend properly.
Go in with about half a stick of butter and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook and mix frequently for a few minutes so the amount reduces a little bit and our gravy is ready. Make sure to give the gravy a taste, it should be rich in flavor and a little bit on the salty side. Add more salt or pepper if needed.
TIP: To make the sauce thicker, if that’s what you prefer, mix a teaspoon or two of flour with water and add that to the gravy while mixing. Go in batches so it doesn’t become too thick.
When serving this dish, I like to cut the turkey breast into thin slices just like you can see on the photo below. I think it works the best this way.
Use 3 or 4 slices per serving and definitely be generous with the gravy, it takes this dish to another level. Mashed potatoes are my preferred side dish choice, but check the optional tips below for more options.
And that’s it for today. I hope you liked this recipe, let me know in the comments. See you soon and enjoy your dinner.
TIP: Try also my Baked Turkey Wings recipe, it’s super easy again!
- When using bone-in breast for this recipe, add about 10 minutes to the cooking time. To really stay on the safe side, use a thermometer and bake until the internal temperature reaches 155F or 68C.
- What to do with the leftovers? You can store the finished baked turkey breast in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. But honestly, it tastes the best when freshly cooked. The gravy freezes well, so if you prepared too much, don’t discard it.
- My preferred side dish for this recipe is mashed potatoes but you can also use baked, smashed or fried potatoes. For a healthier version of this dish, prepare some vegetable salad or roasted veggies as the side.
Baked Turkey Breast And Gravy
- 2 medium sized turkey breasts 1.5lb or 750g each
- 2 small or 1 large onion
- 1 carrot
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons of honey
- Juice from 1 half of a lemon
- ½ cup of chicken stock
- 100 g or 3/4 stick of butter
- Fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of red paprika
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt
- Olive oil
- Start by seasoning the turkey breasts. For these two pieces I’m using, you will need 1 and a half teaspoons of salt. Apply it from both sides.
- Go on with Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon per breast. Use your hand or a brush to cover the meat with it.
- Next comes 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds or cumin, 2 teaspoons of red paprika, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. These are total amounts, split them in half and add from both sides.
- Use your hands again and make sure every part of the turkey breast is covered with the spices.
- Add a touch of olive oil into a pan and brown the meat from both sides. 3-4 minutes per side is enough.
- In the meantime, roughly chop 2 small or 1 large onion, 5 garlic cloves and 1 carrot. These vegetables will serve as the base for the gravy.
- Take the turkey breasts of the pan and put them aside. Drop 2 tablespoons of butter into the same pan and deglaze the bottom.
- Go in with the vegetables, add a tablespoon or two of honey and the juice from one half of a lemon. Sauté on high for about 3 minutes.
- Add half a cup of chicken stock into the pan, add a touch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Pour half of this mixture into a deep baking dish and add some fresh rosemary. Place the turkey breast on top of it and pour the rest of the mixture over the meat. Finish it up with some more fresh rosemary.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and start baking at 400F or 200C.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the breasts, cover with foil again and back into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Flip the turkey breasts again and return the dish back to the oven. This time without the foil and with the broiling mode on. Bake for 10-15 more minutes.
- Now let’s make the gravy. Remove the turkey breasts from the baking dish and pour all of the juices and vegetables into a small pot. Grab a hand blender and blend everything together until smooth.
- Add half a stick of butter and keep cooking on low heat (reducing) until the gravy reaches the thickness you like. Give the gravy a taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
- Slice the turkey breast thinly and serve with mashed potatoes… and don’t forget to add a LOT of the gravy atop the meat.