Dutch Oven Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Butter

This Dutch Oven Turkey Breast is incredibly juicy, succulent, and so flavorful! Perfectly roasted turkey breast with crispy skin, slathered in a garlic and herb compound butter and topped with homemade gravy. The only roasted turkey breast recipe you’ll ever need!

Up close roasted turkey breast sliced on a platter with gravy.

Let’s talk turkey, y’all! I’m breaking down all the tips and tricks to getting a PERFECTLY COOKED TURKEY BREAST EVERY TIME, plus my secret to the best gravy ever, in this post! Halloween is over so we can finally start dreaming about the Thanksgiving (and Christmas) menu!

If you want to know How to Cook Perfect Juicy Chicken Breasts Every Time, check out this post!

This Dutch Oven Turkey Breast recipe is the perfect main dish addition to your holiday feast. I love a whole roasted turkey, but when you’re hosting a smaller gathering, a turkey breast is just the right size. Plus you can cook it right in your dutch oven, no special roasting pan needed. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Makes the juiciest turkey ever – no dry turkey here! 
  • I share my secret to making the best turkey gravy 
  • Perfect for when you don’t need a whole bird
  • No turkey roaster or special pan needed – just your dutch oven

Equipment needed

Ingredients & Substitutions

Turkey – For this recipe you will need a bone-in turkey breast with the skin on. A 6-8 pound turkey breast is the perfect size for 4 people plus some leftovers. You can buy it fresh or frozen. Just make sure you leave enough time for defrosting if you are buying a frozen turkey! When buying a turkey, look for one that has not been injected with a saline solution and is without any added seasonings.

If you’re looking for a boneless skinless turkey breast recipe, try Sous Vide Cajun Turkey Breast. If roasting chicken is more your style, try this Roasted Half Chicken recipe with garlic and thyme!

Vegetables – I like roasting the turkey with added veggies like onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. You can swap some of these out or add others in. Fennel, apples, potatoes, and parsnips would all be great. You will need one head of garlic for roasting with the turkey, plus a few more cloves to go into the garlic and herb butter. 

Fresh herbs – Using fresh herbs adds a great flavor to this turkey and smells amazing while cooking! I use rosemary, thyme, and sage. 

Lemon – You will need a whole lemon for this recipe. The lemon zest goes into the compound butter, and the leftover lemon pieces will go in with the turkey to roast.

labeled ingredients for Dutch Oven Turkey Breast

See the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and measurements.

How to prepare a turkey breast for roasting

There are a few important things to do before you roast your turkey:

  1. Defrost
  2. Note the weight
  3. Pat it dry
  4. Rub it down
  5. Insert thermometer

Let’s go through the prep steps!

First up, and most importantly, DEFROSTING. If you bought a frozen turkey, make sure you leave enough time for your turkey to thaw out! The best and safest way to defrost your turkey is slowly in the refrigerator. 

PRO TIP: The USDA recommends allowing one day of defrosting in the refrigerator per 4-5 pounds of turkey.

Next, NOTE THE WEIGHT. Knowing how much your turkey weights will help you calculate the thawing time as well as cook time. Snap a picture of your turkey label before you unwrap it so you can remember the exact pounds for later!

Pull the defrosted turkey out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking so it can come closer to room temperature and cook more evenly. 

Before seasoning your turkey, you need to PAT IT DRY. Pat the turkey down with paper towels to dry the skin well. Gently lift the skin of the turkey away from the breast to create a pocket. Give the turkey a generous sprinkle of salt, adding some in the central cavity as well. I like using gloves to make handling the turkey easier. 

Turkey breast on a baking sheet.
Pat down dry with paper towels.
Lifting skin away from turkey breast to form a pocket for compound butter.
Gently separate the skin from the breast.

PRO TIP: Patting the turkey dry with paper towels is key in getting a perfectly golden crispy skin. 

Once the turkey is dry and salted, you can RUB IT DOWN with that delicious garlic and herb compound butter. 

To make the compound butter, combine the ingredients in a small bowl until mixed well. Rub down the dried turkey evenly with the butter mixture, concentrating most of the mixture under the skin. Also add some butter to the cavity. Using gloves or a silicone spatula makes coating the turkey with butter easier. 

Garlic and herb compound butter in a glass measuring cup.
Mix compound butter.
Turkey breast coated in garlic and herb butter on a baking sheet.
Coat turkey evenly with butter.

Stuff a piece of quartered onion, some carrot and celery pieces, and a lemon quarter into the turkey cavity. Place the turkey in a large dutch oven. You will need at least a 6-8 quart capacity. 

For the best moist and juicy turkey, use a LEAVE-IN THERMOMETER. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Set the thermometer to alert when it reaches 165°F. You can also use an instant-read thermometer, but I like the leave-in kind better since you can set it to alert at a certain temperature. 

PRO TIP: Using a leave-in meat thermometer is the BEST way to ensure a juicy properly cooked turkey. Remove the turkey from the oven when it is 2-3 degrees away from 165°F, and the residual heat will cause the temperature to continue rising. 

Turkey breast rubbed with compound butter in a dutch oven.
Insert leave in thermometer.
Roasted turkey breast with crispy skin in a dutch oven.
Skin should be golden brown.

Add the rest of the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and lemon pieces around the turkey. Drizzle olive oil on top of the vegetables with a few cracks of salt and pepper. 

Want to change up your cooking method? Try this tasty Smoked Turkey instead! You can use a smoker or a grill.

How long to roast a turkey breast

You should roast an unstuffed turkey at 350°F for 15-20 minutes per pound. For a turkey breast, it is closer to 20 minutes per pound, and for a whole turkey, it is closer to 15 minutes per pound. 

PRO TIP: Roast an unstuffed turkey at 350°F for 15-20 minutes per pound.

To be on the extra safe side though, I always use a leave-in thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast and cook until the turkey reaches 165°F. 

During the cooking process, peek at your turkey through the oven window. If the skin is getting to dark, you can loosely tent a piece of aluminum foil over it so it does not burn. 

Don’t forget to let the turkey rest! Allowing the turkey breast to rest about 15 minutes before cutting into it allows the juices to redistribute and stay in the turkey meat. 

Sliced roasted turkey breast in a serving platter with fresh herbs and roasted vegetables.

How to make homemade turkey gravy

While the turkey is resting, time to make some delicious homemade turkey gravy! This gravy will be made with pan juices from roasting the turkey, and my secret ingredient – blending in the roasted veggies

Strain the turkey drippings into a large measuring cup or glass. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium low heat, and slowly whisk the flour into the melted butter.  Make sure to whisk out all the lumps. 

Melted butter with flour being whisked in a dutch oven.
Melt butter in a pan.
Whisking a roux for turkey gravy.
Whisk in flour and get out all the lumps.

Let the roux cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk the turkey drippings and chicken stock into the roux to make the gravy. 

Pouring chicken broth into a roux in a dutch oven.
Whisk in broth and pan drippings.
Blending gravy with roasted vegetables with an immersion blender.
Blend in roasted vegetables until smooth.

Add in a few pieces of roasted carrot, onion, celery, and garlic cloves, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. This adds so much flavor to the gravy!

Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gravy reaches desired consistency. 

How to carve a turkey breast

Transfer turkey to a cutting board. With a sharp large knife, cut the breast from the bones by cutting gently down along one side of the breastbone. Once you hit bone again, curve your knife away from the center breastbone to cut the bottom of the breast away.

Repeat on the other side. Slice the breast pieces against the grain to desired thickness. Slicing against the grain will help it be more tender.

Save any leftover turkey scraps and bones to make homemade turkey stock with!

An infographic showing how to carve a turkey breast.

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Serving Suggestions

So what to serve with your deliciously moist turkey? I have some ideas for you! This Sweet Potato and Beet Salad is a nice alternative to the heavier traditional Thanksgiving sides. This Spinach and Arugula Salad with Crispy Prosciutto is also a great idea! Looking for a southern style dessert to serve? This Eggnog Bread Pudding is perfect for the holidays!

Another delicious classic holiday main course is a spiral ham with ham gravy recipe. Need a great overnight breakfast to serve on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning? Try this overnight sausage and egg casserole recipe!

Storage & Reheating

How to store leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I find the turkey has the best flavor the first 1-2 days after cooking. 

How to freeze: You can freeze leftover dutch oven turkey breast for up to 3 months. 

How to reheat: Reheat turkey in the microwave. It may dry out as it reheats. Saving extra gravy can help with this.

Expert Tips

  • Leave enough time to defrost your turkey! The USDA recommends allowing one day of defrosting in the refrigerator per 4-5 pounds of turkey. For this recipe you will need a 6-8 pound turkey breast, so this will take about 2 days to defrost in the refrigerator. 
  • Snap a picture of your turkey label before you trash it so you can know the exact pounds! You’ll need this for calculating defrosting time and cook time. 
  • Patting the turkey dry with paper towels is key in getting a perfectly golden crispy skin. 
  • Using a leave-in meat thermometer is the BEST way to ensure a juicy properly cooked turkey. Remove the turkey from the oven when it is 2-3 degrees away from 165°F, and the residual heat will cause the temperature to continue rising.
  • Roast an unstuffed turkey breast at 350°F for 15-20 minutes per pound.
A roasted turkey breast with crispy skin and roasted vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to roast a turkey breast?

Roast an unstuffed turkey breast at 350°F for 15-20 minutes per pound. I found it to be closer to 17/18 minutes a pound when roasting a smaller turkey breast. For the best results, use a meat thermometer so you know exactly when it hits 165°F.

What size Dutch oven will I need to roast a turkey breast?

You need a large dutch oven with at least a 6-8 quart capacity. If you have a large turkey breast, it may fit better in an oval shaped dutch oven. 

Should you baste a turkey?

I don’t recommend basting a turkey! If you are using a meat thermometer to know when your turkey is properly cooked, then it should stay nice and juicy. Basting the turkey will also prevent the skin from getting crispy. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

I don’t recommend roasting the turkey in advance, but you can do some prep work ahead of time. You can make the compound butter, and chop the vegetables 1 day in advance. Take the butter out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before you want to prepare the turkey so it has time to soften. 

Can I make this with a boneless turkey breast?

While using a bone-in skin on turkey will yield better results, you can also make this recipe with a boneless turkey breast. Cook time will be reduced, depending on the size of your turkey breast. You will definitely want to use a leave-in meat thermometer, as a boneless breast will be easier to overcook. 

When to cook a turkey breast over a whole turkey?

Turkey breasts are usually smaller than a whole turkey, meaning they are quicker to cook but also serve less people. This is great when you are feeding a smaller group of people and don’t need an entire turkey. A 6-8 pound turkey breast should feed 4-6 people. 

Lauren sitting on the kitchen counter.

Meet Lauren

I’m the blogger, recipe developer, food photographer, and otherwise food obsessed gal behind Lauren From Scratch. I was born and raised in New Orleans and lived in South Louisiana most of my life. Growing up around Cajun country has instilled a love of food that runs deep in my bones. I am passionate about food and teaching you how to make mouth-watering Louisiana inspired dishes in your own kitchen!


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Roasted turkey breast with crispy skin on a serving platter.

Dutch Oven Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Butter

This Dutch Oven Turkey Breast is incredibly juicy, succulent, and so flavorful! Perfectly roasted turkey breast with crispy skin, slathered in a garlic and herb compound butter and topped with homemade gravy. The only roasted turkey breast recipe you’ll ever need!
4.76 from 41 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 594 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Turkey

  • 6-8 pound turkey breast bone in, skin on, giblets removed
  • 2 onions medium, peeled, quartered, stem ends trimmed
  • 4 carrots medium, cut in half lengthwise, then in 2 inch chunks
  • 3 celery stalks cut in half lengthwise, then in 2 inch chunks
  • 1 head of garlic sliced in half exposing the cloves, loose pieces of peeling removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garlic & Herb Butter

  • 1 stick butter softened, (8 tablespoons/½ cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage about 2 tablespoons when finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary about 2 tablespoons when finely chopped
  • 15-20 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 lemon zest of
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Gravy

Instructions
 

  • 2-3 DAYS BEFORE COOKING: If your turkey is frozen, you want to transfer it to the refrigerator 2-3 days before you want to cook it so it can start to defrost. Keep the turkey in its original packaging, and place it in a large bowl or dish to catch any drippings.
  • 30 MINUTES BEFORE COOKING: Pull defrosted turkey out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  • VEGGIE PREP: Chop vegetables and herbs and set aside. Save the zested lemon and cut into quarters, remove visible seeds.
  • MIX: Combine all the ingredients for the garlic and herb butter in a small bowl and mix well.
  • TURKEY PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Unwrap your turkey, and take note of its weight so you know about how long to cook it! Trim any excess skin from the turkey breast and discard. If the turkey came with a gravy packet, you can discard it or add it into the homemade gravy. If your turkey came with any giblets, you can save for making stock. Pat the turkey down with paper towels to dry the skin well. Gently lift the skin of the turkey away from the breast to create a pocket. Give the turkey a generous sprinkle of salt, adding some in the central cavity as well. I like using gloves to make handling the turkey easier.
  • RUB: Rub down the dried turkey evenly with the butter mixture, concentrating most of the mixture under the skin. Using gloves or a silicone spatula makes this easier.
  • ARRANGE: Stuff the cavity of the turkey with a quarter of an onion, some carrot and celery pieces, a lemon quarter, and some fresh herbs. Place the turkey in the dutch oven skin side up. If you are using a leave-in meat thermometer (I highly recommend you do!), insert it into the thickest part of the turkey breast. Set the thermometer to alert when it reaches 165°F. Add the rest of the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and lemon pieces around the turkey. Drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies with a few cracks of salt and pepper.
  • ROAST: Roast the turkey, uncovered, for 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. I usually take the turkey out when it hits around 162°F, as the temperature will continue to rise when you remove it from the oven. Check the turkey periodically to make sure the skin isn’t getting burnt. If it starts looking too dark, loosely tent a piece of foil on top of it.
  • REST: Once the turkey is done, allow it to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it.
  • GRAVY: While the turkey is resting, strain the turkey drippings into a glass measuring cup. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium low heat, and slowly whisk the flour into the melted butter, whisking out all the lumps. Let the roux cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk the turkey drippings and chicken broth into the roux to make the gravy. Add in a few pieces of roasted carrot, onion, celery, and garlic cloves, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gravy reaches desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • CARVE: To carve the turkey breast, place it on a cutting board. With a sharp large knife, cut the breast from the bones by cutting gently down along one side of the breastbone. Once you hit bone again, curve your knife away from the center breastbone to cut the bottom of the breast away. Repeat on the other side. Slice the breast pieces against the grain to desired thickness.
  • SERVE: To serve, arrange the turkey slices with roasted veggies and fresh herbs on a serving platter with a side of gravy. Option to top with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Notes

 
  • The USDA recommends allowing one day of defrosting in the refrigerator per 4-5 pounds of turkey, so make sure to leave yourself enough time!
  • Snap a picture of your turkey label before you trash it so you can know the exact pounds! You’ll need this for calculating defrosting time and cook time. 
  • Patting the turkey dry with paper towels is key in getting a perfectly golden crispy skin. 
  • Using a leave-in meat thermometer is the BEST way to ensure a juicy properly cooked turkey. Remove the turkey from the oven when it is 2-3 degrees away from 165°F, and the residual heat will cause the temperature to continue rising.
  • Roast an unstuffed turkey breast at 350°F for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  • How to store leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I find the turkey has the best flavor the first 1-2 days after cooking.
  • How to freeze: You can freeze leftover dutch oven turkey breast for up to 3 months.
  • How to reheat: Reheat turkey in the microwave. It may dry out as it reheats. Saving extra gravy can help with this. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 594kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 100gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 2067mgPotassium: 1368mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 7201IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 4mg
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