How to Cook Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving

How to cook the perfect turkey breast for Thanksgiving
Shutterstock/Tobik How to fry or roast the perfect turkey breast for Thanksgiving.

If you are having a smaller gathering this Thanksgiving, or if you’re just not a fan of dark meat, roasting a turkey breast is a great alternative to cooking a whole bird.

Most turkey breasts come with the breast bone intact, which gives the breast more flavor and keeps it juicier. Don’t remove the bone, or your turkey could dry out. Once you have your turkey breast, make certain that is completely thawed before cooking. If you cook it when parts of it are still frozen, that can lead to uneven cooking.

For Roasting:

Place the turkey in a pan. When selecting your pan, choose one with shorter sides to allow hot air to circulate, which promotes even cooking. Thinking ahead, a good tip is to pour about a cup of water into the pan to make cleanup easier.

You’re going to want to cook the turkey in the oven at 325 degrees. Refer to the chart below for cooking times according to weight:
2- to 3-pound. turkey breast: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
4- to 6-pound turkey breast: 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours
7- to 8-pound turkey breast: 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours

*Note if you are using a convection oven, the cooking times will be different, and you should reduce cooking time by at least 25 percent.

Use a meat thermometer to take the internal temperature; the turkey breast will be done when the meat reaches 165 degrees. If the turkey breast is below that temperature by more than a couple of degrees, continue cooking for a few more minutes, or it will not be safe to eat.

Once the turkey is done, let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

For Frying:

First off, take safety precautions. If your turkey breast is at all wet or unthawed it will cause an explosion. So, make sure that it’s patted dry and totally thawed before adding it to the oil. To know how much oil you will need, think about how much you will need to completely cover the breast with 2 inches to spare.

Preheat your oil in a pot to 350 degrees. To cook the turkey, lower the breast very slowly into the hot oil. For fry time, go by the rule of three minutes per pound plus five minutes. Once the meat thermometer has registered at 165 degrees, your turkey can be removed from the oil, as it is done. Carefully remove it and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

 

 

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