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What Is a Boneless Turkey Breast?

Jennifer Voight
Jennifer Voight

A boneless turkey breast is a cut of turkey that has had the bone removed either mechanically or by a butcher. The advantages of this type of meat include convenience, the nutritional benefits of naturally lower-fat breast meat, and a decrease in cooking time. Sometimes the meat may contain small amounts of cuts from adjacent body parts, like wing meat. Boneless turkey breast may be used in many recipes that use bone-in turkey breast and may be sold fresh or frozen.

This cut of turkey is an excellent source of protein with a very small amount of fat, and 3 ounces without skin contains around 100 calories. Turkey breast is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and niacin. It’s considered a good source of potassium, selenium, and phosphorus as well as other nutrients.

Using a slow cooker is a popular way of cooking turkey breast.
Using a slow cooker is a popular way of cooking turkey breast.

There are many cuts of boneless turkey breast available to satisfy various recipe needs. Turkey breasts usually include half of one whole breast and so may be quite large. Cutlets are smaller cuts of turkey that are relatively uniform in thickness. Boneless turkey breast tenderloins are the smaller cuts running below the breast meat that are more tender because the muscle is weaker and used less.

Smaller cuts cook more quickly and may be used in recipes just as a full-sized boneless turkey breast, only with a shorter cooking time. Some turkey breasts are sold pre-flavored in shrink-wrapped plastic for convenience. Larger breasts can be roasted as an alternative to a full-sized turkey on holidays for a smaller group.

Popular ways to cook turkey breast are roasting or in a slow cooker. When roasting, a turkey breast may be stuffed by slicing a knife into the breast to create a pocket for holding stuffing. The turkey breast should be basted during roasting to keep from drying out. A slow cooker is a good option for cooking a turkey breast because moisture cannot evaporate.

Most conventionally processed boneless turkey breast is injected with a solution of broth and seasonings, both to give the meat flavor and to keep it from drying out during cooking. This is done because turkey breast is a drier cut of turkey than more fatty cuts that include darker meat. Some also include fillers, preservatives, and natural flavorings. Organic boneless turkey breast does not contain these extra ingredients but may need to be prepared using marinades or other liquid preparations to preserve moistness.

Discussion Comments


If anyone is considering buying a boneless turkey breast for the holidays or a covered dish dinner or whatever, please make sure you know what you're getting. Stores sell different products that use the words "boneless turkey breast", but are not the same thing.

Ideally, a boneless turkey breast should be the whole breast carved out of a turkey carcass. It may be marinated with different flavors, like lemon pepper or garlic and herbs, but it's still a solid piece of white turkey meat with a grain to it. There are other products that use pieces of turkey meat other than the breast, and these pieces may be pressed together like cold cuts. I'd call this product more of a boneless turkey loaf than a boneless turkey breast.


My family usually gets a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, but a few years ago I decided I was tired of dealing with the carcass and all those bones the next day. I found a really good deal on a boneless turkey breast at the store, so I took it home and brined it for a day. I also bought some turkey legs and thighs for the relatives who preferred dark meat.

That boneless turkey breast was a big hit. I could carve it up as thick or as thin as I wanted, since I didn't have to work around the bones. After dinner, I sliced the rest of it down for sandwiches and put it all in the refrigerator. I didn't have to make room for an entire turkey carcass. A boneless turkey breast may cost a little more per pound than a whole turkey, but it is also very convenient.

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    • Using a slow cooker is a popular way of cooking turkey breast.
      By: Leticia Wilson
      Using a slow cooker is a popular way of cooking turkey breast.