What Are the Best Tips for Cooking Boneless Turkey Breast?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
A turkey.
A turkey.

Easy to carve and predominantly made up of white meat, boneless turkey breast can be a good alternative to a whole turkey. Just a few tips can make cooking boneless turkey breast simple. First of all, as there are several different possible methods that can be used when making boneless turkey breast, it is useful to begin by deciding which method best suits one’s taste preferences and schedule. Once a preparation method has been selected, the cook should take steps to prevent the turkey breast from becoming dry. Finally, when working with boneless turkey breast, it is important to protect against food-borne illness by using proper thawing and cooking procedures.

Before cooking boneless turkey breast, the cook should decide which cooking technique best fits her taste and schedule. Oven-roasting can provide a traditional taste, but requires a significant amount of active preparation time. Using a slow cooker allows the cook to leave a turkey breast unattended for the bulk of its preparation time, but may not produce the same depth of flavor as other methods. Those who have time for hands-on preparation but wish to veer away from a traditional oven-roasted taste might consider cooking boneless turkey breast on a charcoal grill or in a smoker. Both of these techniques can infuse turkey with a strong, unique taste, but require proper equipment.

One potential disadvantage of cooking boneless turkey breast as compared to making a whole turkey is that boneless breasts can sometimes become extremely dry, especially when they are roasted, smoked, or grilled. To help ensure that a finished turkey breast will be tender and juicy, some culinary experts recommend purchasing a breast with skin, and leaving this skin intact during cooking. If it is not possible to purchase a skin-on turkey breast, cooks can minimize dryness by covering the breast with foil as soon as it has begun to brown. Slow cooking also tends to result in a finished boneless turkey breast that is juicy.

Finally, when cooking boneless turkey breast, it is also important to take precautions to minimize the potential for food-borne illness. To avoid bacteria growth, frozen turkey breasts should be defrosted in a leak-proof tray in the refrigerator rather than on the counter or in the microwave. Note that refrigerator defrosting can take a day or more, making it necessary to plan ahead. Lastly, boneless turkey breast should always be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76.7 degrees Celsius).

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    • A turkey.
      A turkey.