Southern Turkey Breast Recipe

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A juicy, tender, and flavorful turkey breast is a timeless holiday tradition. With a short list of ingredients, you can quickly prepare this Southern turkey breast recipe in an Instant Pot without flipping or basting the whole bird. 

Southern Turkey Breast Recipe

This turkey breast recipe combines sweet brown sugar, tangy apple cider brine, and aromatic spices for a juicy, delicious bird with crisp skin.

Perfect for a holiday dinner or easy enough for a weeknight meal. This herb-roasted turkey breast recipe is coated in a savory spice rub and slathered with apple cider brine before it is cooked to golden brown perfection! 

Southern Turkey Breast

How do you keep a turkey breast from drying out?

The secret to a flavorful, juicy Southern bird is all in my signature apple cider brine! The beautiful fragrant marinade the turkey is roasted in guarantees not to yield a dry result.

Brining enhances the flavor and moisture, making for a juicy turkey breast, and the spice rub coating ensures a crunchy exterior with crispy skin.

This succulent roasted turkey breast offers a quick and easy way to add protein and flavor to your meal without spending the entire day in the kitchen. 

The aroma of this roasted turkey breast is simply mouthwatering, and the meat is so tender you’ll be amazed! 

Garnishing with apples, oranges, pomegranates, or rosemary sprigs are fabulous accompaniments that allow your guests to start eating with their eyes! 

And with this recipe, even the leftovers are fantastic – if you’re lucky enough to have any!

Serve this turkey breast recipe as part of your Thanksgiving menu or Christmas dinner, and watch the compliments pour in!

How do you keep a turkey breast from drying out?

Why turkey breast?

There’s no need to sweat over a whole turkey, especially if you only have a small family gathering or party. Also, preparing a whole turkey can be very laborious and time-consuming. 

You can still have fresh turkey with this simple Southern turkey breast recipe. It’s still healthy and one of the cheapest meats, especially when compared to buying the whole bird! And you can still enjoy turkey leftovers for making pot pies, sandwiches, or salads the next day!

You can use the oven for my Southern roasted turkey breast/baked turkey breast recipe HERE.

Or use the Instant Pot turkey breast instructions below.

Kitchen equipment for a Southern turkey breast recipe

How many minutes per pound should you cook a turkey breast?

Ingredients for the Southern turkey breast recipe

Instant Pot turkey breast

Instructions for the Southern turkey breast recipe

  1. Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
  2. Rub and coat the turkey breast with the Southern spice rub mixture on the top and bottom.
  3. Remove the Instant Pot lid and pour the apple cider into the stainless steel inner pot.
  4. Place the seasoned turkey onto the trivet rack.
  5. Using the trivet rack’s handles, place the seasoned turkey inside the inner pot with the apple cider brine.
  6. Baste the turkey breast by spooning the apple cider over it.
  7. Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes.
  8. When cooking is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes.
  9. To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  10. Baste the bird using a large spoon to scoop the brine from the inner pot over the turkey breast.
  11. Then, remove it from the inner pot using the trivet rack handles. 
  12. Place this Southern turkey breast on a serving platter to slice, add fresh rosemary sprigs (what I used), thyme, or parsley to garnish, serve, and enjoy!

Could you do this with a whole turkey or just a small one?

Yes, check out this recipe HERE for a whole Southern turkey!

What do you serve with Southern turkey breast?

What do you serve with Southern turkey breast?

Southern turkey is one of the most common Thanksgiving meals in the South, so it’s important to serve good soul food sides with it!

Southern candied yamsSouthern cornbread dressing, and Southern mashed potatoes are served at nearly every Southern Thanksgiving dinner because they pair well together and are so good to eat!

You may also want to make fresh cranberry sauce instead of using the canned stuff and drizzle it over the turkey breast to give the whole meal a homey feel!

And don’t forget to bake a Southern sweet potato pie!

What can you make with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving?

Turkey sandwiches are great, but you can make many other meals with leftover turkey. Here are some of my favorites:

Southern Turkey Breast In Apple Cider Brine

Southern turkey breast recipe FAQs

Why do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

The tradition of eating Thanksgiving turkey originated in the 16th century. The English settlers who made their way to North America brought the tradition of eating wild turkeys. 

What size turkey breast should you use?

This recipe calls for a 2 ½ – 3-pound turkey breast, which is sufficient for 4 to 6 people when sliced.

How many pounds of turkey breast do you need per person?

  • A ½ pound of boneless turkey breast is recommended per person. 
  • You’ll need ¾ pound of turkey per person using a bone-in turkey breast.

How many people will this turkey breast recipe serve?

This 2 ½ – 3-pound turkey breast will serve up to six people.

How long to defrost a turkey breast in the refrigerator?

It can take up to 48 hours for a turkey breast to thaw completely in the fridge. But this time is variable depending on the size of the breast. 

The USDA general rule is 24 hours to defrost every 4-5 pounds of turkey breast.

Do you put water in the bottom of the roasting pan for turkey?

Add an apple cider brine instead of water for this Southern turkey recipe.

The apple cider brine will enhance the tenderness and juiciness and contribute to the flavorful pan juices, drippings, and turkey gravy.

Do you need to use a rack in the roasting pan?

You will use the trivet rack for turkey breast in the Instant Pot. 

If you’re roasting a turkey breast, add the apple cider brine to the roasting pan without the rack inside.

Do you put the breast meat side up or upside down?

The USDA advises cooking a whole turkey breast side up because “Turning over a large, hot bird can be dangerous and it’s very easy to tear the skin.” 

This rule is not necessary for a boneless turkey breast. This turkey cut is much smaller than the whole bird, so the danger is less. 

Should a turkey breast be cooked covered or uncovered?

For this Southern turkey recipe, the apple cider brine enhances the flavor and maintains the moisture while cooking. 

If you’re roasting, the spice rub coating ensures a crunchy exterior with crisp skin because the turkey breast is roasted uncovered.

Should you salt a brined turkey?

Even though store-bought turkeys are often pre-brined with salt for tenderness, seasoning with salt or seasoning salt is still necessary.

Do you need to baste a turkey breast while cooking?

What can you put on your turkey to give it flavor?

Turkey meat has no spectacular flavor on its own. So, it’s essential to pump up your roast turkey with complementary flavors. 

Soul food seasoning rule number one: Always season your meat!

Seasoning your turkey (especially with salt) before cooking allows the spices to penetrate the meat and helps release the flavor during the cooking process. 

What can you put on your turkey to give it flavor?

Other great seasonings and spices for a turkey include:

  • seasoning salt
  • black pepper
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Pro tip: Some folks slather fresh herbs and spices on the bird with olive oil or a softened butter mixture.

How many minutes per pound should you cook a turkey breast?

It’s recommended to cook a 2½- to 3-pound boneless turkey breast, roasting at 325 degrees F for 40 to 60 minutes. That’s about 20 minutes per pound.

It will only take 25 minutes for the same size turkey breast in the Instant Pot.

What temperature should turkey breast be cooked at?

Turkey is a lean protein, so it’s important not to overcook it if you want juicy meat. 

You can roast or use the Instant Pot for this recipe.

Roasting turkey breast at a lower temperature, 325-375 degrees F, helps cook the meat evenly, avoiding the dry and tough meat that can result from overcooking. 

However, turkey breast can dry out no matter how you cook it. So, cooking it in this apple cider brine ensures a flavorful, juicy, and delicious finish each time!

What temperature should the turkey breast be when done?

Asked another way, how can you be sure your turkey breast is cooked enough?

A thermometer inserted in the center should register at 165 degrees F after an hour when roasting a turkey breast. A meat thermometer is the best way to ensure the turkey is done.

You can also use a meat thermometer for turkey breast pressure-cooked in the Instant Pot or dutch oven.

How long does it take to roast a turkey breast?

Roating a turkey breast can take 1-2 hours. It takes less time – only 25 minutes in the Instant Pot!

Do you need to baste a turkey breast while cooking?

Yes, for an Instant Pot turkey breast, baste before cooking, and again when finished.

How do you store cooked turkey breast?

To store a cooked turkey breast, wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can turkey breast be frozen?

Yes, a cooked turkey breast can be frozen. You can freeze leftover turkey breasts for up to 3 months when well-sealed in a freezer bag or airtight container.

How many people will this turkey breast recipe serve?

Did you enjoy this Southern turkey breast recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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Southern Turkey Recipe Breast Recipe How To
Southern Turkey Breast Recipe

Southern Turkey Breast Recipe

A juicy, tender, and flavorful turkey breast is a timeless holiday tradition. Prepare this Southern turkey breast recipe easily without flipping or basting the whole bird!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Pressure Release Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southern Food
Servings: 6
Calories: 1443kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
  • Instant Pot trivet rack (comes with the Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 ½-3 pound turkey breast boneless, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning, or similar
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning, or similar
  • 2 cups apple cider Store-bought, or see the notes below to get my homemade apple cider brine recipe
  • 4 sprigs herbs i.e.,fresh rosemary, parsley, or thyme

Instructions

  • Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
  • Rub and coat the turkey breast with the Southern spice rub mixture on the top and bottom.
  • Remove the Instant Pot lid and pour the apple cider into the stainless steel inner pot.
  • Place the seasoned turkey onto the trivet rack.
  • Using the trivet rack’s handles, place the seasoned turkey inside the inner pot with the apple cider brine.
  • Baste the turkey breast by spooning the apple cider over it.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes.
  • When cooking is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Baste the bird using a large spoon to scoop the brine from the inner pot over the turkey breast.
  • Then, remove it from the inner pot using the trivet rack handles.
  • Place this Southern turkey breast on a serving platter to slice, add fresh rosemary sprigs (what I used), thyme, or parsley to garnish, serve, and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 1443kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 248g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 612mg | Sodium: 2363mg | Potassium: 3617mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 1157IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 683mg | Iron: 18mg
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