Cooking Time for Roast Turkey Breast

Updated November 21, 2016

If you are only planning to have a few guests over for turkey, or if all of your guests prefer white meat to dark, roasting a turkey breast rather than the whole bird may be a good decision. The breast of a turkey takes considerably less time to roast than does a whole bird.

Turkey Breast Facts

Turkey breasts usually weigh between 1.81 and 5.44 Kilogram. You can find frozen breasts in most supermarkets, but if you have a source for fresh whole turkeys, you may also be able to get a turkey breast from that vendor.

Safe Thawing

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed useful guidelines for safely thawing and roasting a turkey breast. You can thaw a frozen turkey breast in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

In the refrigerator, a frozen breast will take about one day for every 1.81kg. to thaw. Thus, a 5.44kg. turkey breast will take about three days to thaw. A breast will thaw faster if you put it into the kitchen sink and fill the sink with cold water, changing the water every half hour. This method will thaw your bird at the rate of about a ½ lb. per hour. You can also thaw the turkey breast in your microwave oven. Consult the owner's manual to find out how big a breast you can safely thaw in it. Take the wrapping off and put the breast in a microwave-safe container.

Getting Ready to Roast

When you've thawed your turkey breast, it's ready to roast. Preheat the oven to at least 163 degrees Celsius, which is the lowest temperature the USDA recommends. If you didn't thaw the turkey breast in the microwave, take its wrappings off, dry it inside and out with paper towels, season it and put it on a rack in an open roasting pan.

Cooking Times

According to the USDA, the cooking time for a 4- to 8-lb., unstuffed turkey breast is between 1 ½ and 3 ¼ hours at 325 degrees. Generally, you wouldn't stuff a breast weighing less than 2.72kg. For a stuffed breast weighing between 6 and 8lbs., the roasting time would range from 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours at the same temperature.

Internal Temperature

You may feel supremely confident that your bird will be done when the suggested time has elapsed, but for safety's sake, check the temperature of the breast meat before you take it out of the oven. The USDA recommends you roast your bird to a minimum internal temperature of 73.9 degrees Celsius.


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