roasted turkey breast

thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all of the things you are thankful for…

i am thankful for a job that i love.

i am thankful for an amazingly caring and generous family.

i am thankful for the best friends in the world.

i am thankful for my supportive, funny, and loving fiance.

i am thankful for…


haha.  yes turkey.  i mean come on what’s thanksgiving without turkey?  but we don’t only have turkey at thanksgiving.  we also eat a fair amount of turkey through the year,  you know – ground turkey for turkey meatloaf or meatballs and cold cuts for sandwiches.  yum!  still i always look forward to roast turkey during thanksgiving.

chris and i already had plans to have thanksgiving with ohana and also with his family on thanksgiving day, but we thought it would be nice to have a mini thanksgiving just for us.  i love turkey and all of the thanksgiving side dishes, so i said why not!  of course, we didn’t need a massive turkey for just the two of us so we made a turkey breast.  it was perfect.  we had just enough for dinner and leftovers for a couple days.

a few years ago we tried out a brine recipe that we saw on the food network.  by the way, did anyone happen to watch “thanksgiving live” on the food network this weekend?  it was a hot mess!  check out this website for the best… or really the worst moments of the show.  anyway, back to the turkey brine – alex guarnaschelli presented this recipe on one of their thanksgiving specials and it looked so interesting.  it has soy sauce, molasses, lemon, all kinds of stuff.  we tried it out that year and it was amazing!  the turkey stayed really moist and it was super flavorful.

so this year, we used the same recipe to brine the turkey breast.  we only made half a recipe of the brine for a 4 1/2 pound turkey breast and it worked great.

after brining the turkey for 12 hours or overnight, you then slather a bunch of butter mixed with lemon zest on to the turkey breast (under the skin) and then it’s ready for the oven.

i love that the turkey breast only took about an 1 1/2 hours and with the recipe you don’t have to worry about basting the turkey or anything like that.  the butter and brine does the work for you keeping the turkey moist and juicy.

oh but we did tent the turkey about an hour in because we saw that the skin was getting too dark.  i hope you give this recipe a try.  you’ll be glad you did!

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

from (Alex Guarnaschelli)


  • 6 quarts tap water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • Large bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 heads garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled
  • 5 pounds ice cubes
  • 14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 lemons, zested


  1. In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat. Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly (and carefully!) pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.
  2. Add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme and garlic to the salt and water mixture. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. Add the ice to a cooler or bucket large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all of the ingredients.
  3. Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with the liquid as you are submerging it. Cover the cooler and allow the bird to sit in the brine overnight or for about 12 hours.
  4. Remove the bird from the brine and dry it thoroughly with thick (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine.
  5. Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with the other breast. The butter will add extra moisture and richness as the bird roasts.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 1/2 hours.
  8. Remove the turkey from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Printer Friendly Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. apple pie cupcakes « miki's kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: