What is a Turkey Breast?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

In terms of cooking, a turkey breast is a section of the white meat found on the breast of the turkey. A single breast is usually sufficient to provide a meat entrée for two to four people. While it is possible to purchase packaged breasts with a bone in them, most of the breasts are de-boned as part of the preparation for sale.

A roast turkey.
A roast turkey.

Cooking a boneless turkey breast is a relatively straightforward process. All that is required is a small roasting pan, or an oblong pan and a sheet of aluminum foil to function as a lid. After placing a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan, the meat is positioned in the middle of the pan. If desired, carrots, potatoes and onions may be arranged around the breast. The breast is covered with foil and allowed to bake according to the package instructions. Cooking time will vary based on the size of the breast.

A turkey.
A turkey.

Along with this simple turkey breast recipe, there are also more elaborate recipes that make use of other ingredients to create a more sensational meat entrée. For example, a smothered turkey breast may involve the addition of gravy or cream soups to slices of the breast. The slices are allowed to bake in the gravy, making it possible for the flavors of both components to mingle while cooking. The slices of turkey and gravy may be served singly, on an open face sandwich, or presented on a bed of rice.

Toaster ovens may be used to cook a turkey breast.
Toaster ovens may be used to cook a turkey breast.

Learning how to cook turkey breast requires nothing more than basic culinary skills. It is possible to cook a turkey breast in a full sized oven, a toaster oven, or in a convection oven. It is also possible to prepare this meat on an outdoor grill. The meat cooks through with relative ease and when basted from time to time during the cooking process will not dry out.

For people who enjoy the white meat but care little for the dark meat, purchasing turkey breasts instead of a whole turkey is a sensible option. In addition, when families do not want to deal with a lot of leftover turkey after a holiday celebration, cooking a breast helps to ensure there is enough for the meal but not a lot to dispose of later. Supermarkets usually carry frozen turkey breast all year long, making it easy to enjoy turkey dinners whenever desired.

Turkey can be served with gravy.
Turkey can be served with gravy.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Can anybody give me a good recipe for baked turkey breast? I have a big deboned turkey breast that I got at Costco on a whim, but since I got it home I can't for the life of me figure out what to do with it.

I'd like to make maybe a turkey breast with gravy, or even get fancy and make turkey breast stuffed with vegetables or something, but I really don't know how to go about it.

Can anybody help me out? I'd like an easy recipe, if you've got one, because I'm not really much of a chef.



Whever I'm stuck for a good, warming winter dish, I always make a crock pot turkey breast. It's really easy, but boy will that stick with you and keep you warm!

Here's the way I do it --

OK, you take your turkey breast. I usually use a three pound Butterball turkey breast, but you can make the recipe with up to a seven pounder, if you've got company coming.

Now, wash your turkey breast and pat it dry. Then rub it with a mixture of oil (I use olive oil, but any works) and salt, pepper, and minced garlic or garlic powder.

Next, absolutely coat the inside of your crock pot with butter or cooking oil. Really pile it on.

Then, slice up a big onion (or two small ones), and put them in the bottom of the pot, and put your turkey in on top.

Next, pour two cans of chicken broth into the pot without pouring it over the turkey -- that way all your seasonings stay on.

Then all you have to do is cover it and cook it on low for about 10 hours -- and believe me,that will be better than any rotisserie turkey breast you've ever tried.


In my opinion, you really can't do better than a good roast turkey breast sandwich. But one made with real turkey breast off the turkey, not the turkey breast sandwich meat.

That's why Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays -- you always have gobs of turkey left over, and that means yummy sandwiches for weeks afterwards!

Of course, if you have too much, then you have to freeze it, and thawed turkey breast isn't nearly as good, but still, I would take that any day over the regular processed deli breast.

What about you all?

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