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Sliced turkey breast on a large white platter surrounded by Thanksgiving sides.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
  • Category: Thanksgiving
  • Cuisine: American


This easy herb roasted turkey breast is perfect for a nice weekend dinner or a small Thanksgiving feast!



For the brine: 

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh sage sprig
  • 1/2 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
  • 6 cups cold water

To roast the turkey: 

  • 2 - 2 1/2 pound split turkey breast (bone in and skin on)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (we used a mix of sage and rosemary)
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the gravy: 

  • Turkey drippings (left over once the turkey is roasted)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (you can also use chicken or turkey stock instead)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Make the brine (in the morning)

Dry the turkey breast

Make the compound butter & roast the turkey

Rest the turkey

Make the gravy

Slice and serve! 


Please read the post above in its entirety before you start cooking - we have a TON of tips and best practices that will help you roast an amazing turkey breast!

The brand of salt you use is important! Every brand of salt is a little different: In this brine, we’re using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (our favorite brand of salt, colloquially known as “the least salty salt”). If you use a different brand or style of salt, the flavor will vary WIDELY. If you need to use Morton Kosher Salt, reduce the salt in the brine to ⅓ cup. If you need to use regular table salt, use only ¼ cup of salt in the brine here. 

What cut of turkey should I get? Look for a bone-in, skin-on, single turkey breast (sometimes called a “split” turkey breast). If you can’t find a bone-in turkey breast, that’s ok - but the skin makes a really big difference, so try your best to get at least skin-on if you can! This recipe was developed for a 2 - 2 ½ pound turkey breast; if you use a smaller or larger turkey breast (or if you use a different cut of meat), you will likely need to adjust the total cooking time.

A note about brining. We used a classic, simple wet brine for the turkey in this recipe in order to season the turkey breast all the way through. But we recognize a wet brine adds a layer of complexity that not everyone is looking for at Thanksgiving! If the idea of a wet brine makes you nervous, or if it just feels like too much to deal with, skip the wet brine and use a simple dry brine instead. We don’t recommend skipping the brining process entirely: in our testing, a turkey breast made with no brining at all was significantly drier than its dry- or wet-brined counterparts. That said, if you just don’t have the time or the bandwidth to do a brine, it’s ok! Just be sure to baste the turkey breast frequently and have lots of gravy on hand. 

Make-Ahead tips. Make the brining liquid 1-2 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge (without the turkey) until Thanksgiving morning. Submerge the turkey breast in the brining liquid on Thanksgiving morning when you start cooking, then proceed normally! You can also make the compound butter 1-2 days ahead of time: Store it in an airtight container in the fridge, and move it to the counter on Thanksgiving morning so it can soften up before you need to roast the turkey.

Food safety reminders! When working with raw poultry, it’s important to practice good food safety techniques to avoid cross-contamination. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw turkey and brining liquid, transfer used dishes to the dishwasher immediately (or wash them immediately if you don’t have a dishwasher), and clean and sanitize surfaces (including the countertop, sink, and refrigerator shelf) as you go along. Also, be sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure your turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the turkey breast. 

Substitutions and Additions. Use chicken stock or turkey stock instead of white wine in the gravy. If you’d like a creamier, thicker gravy, use a roux-based technique instead of a cornstarch slurry. Use fresh thyme or oregano in place of some or all of the rosemary and sage in this recipe. Use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs in place of every 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs if you like. Add roasted garlic or dried garlic powder to the compound butter. Use a dry brine instead of the wet brine in this recipe if you like. 

The best Thanksgiving recipes are the recipes that work the best for YOU. We’ve given you a loose blueprint here for what we think is a really delicious turkey breast - but please don’t worry about tackling brand new recipes or complex techniques if it isn’t a good fit for your life or your schedule this year! If a wet brine adds stress to your life, skip it. If you forget the fresh herbs, dried work just fine. What makes food great isn’t the recipe - it’s the company you enjoy it with. Give yourself some grace, allow yourself to relax and enjoy your day, and - if you need any help at all - leave us a comment or shoot us an email. We’re here to help!

Keywords: thanksgiving, holiday, main dish