The cooking time for a turkey breast depends on several factors, including how the breast is prepared and the method used to cook it. The most common way to cook a turkey breast is to roast it in the oven. An important thing to remember about cooking a whole turkey breast is that, regardless of the standard cooking time, the breast should not be consumed until a meat thermometer registers its internal temperature to be within a safe range.
An unstuffed turkey breast takes less time to cook than a stuffed turkey breast. A small breast (0.907 to 1.36kg.) will take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook in an conventional oven set to 325 degrees. A 4- to 6-lb. turkey will take 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours to cook, while a 7- to 8-lb. breast should be ready within 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours. However, these guidelines can be affected by external factors, such as pan choice, use of a roasting bag and oven variations. Because of this, you should begin testing the breast's internal temperature with a meat thermometer when the meat reaches its minimum recommended cooking time. When the turkey breast's internal temperature registers at 170 degrees, it is ready to remove from the oven. You may need to cover the breast with tented aluminium foil to keep it from browning too quickly.
Smaller turkey breasts are generally not stuffed, but the largest of them can be. Stuffing a turkey breast increases its cooking time. A stuffed large (7- to 8-lb.) turkey breast will take 3 to 4 hours to cook completely in a 325-degree oven. Again, the meat's internal temperature needs to reach 170 degrees before it can be removed from the oven.
Preparing a turkey breast in an appliance other than a conventional oven can affect the meat's cooking time. If you are using a convection oven, plan to reduce the breast's cooking time by about 25 per cent. Grilling the turkey could also reduce the cooking time, depending on the grill's temperature. When frying an unstuffed turkey breast in 350-degree oil, it will take 4 to 5 minutes per pound to cook. Never attempt to fry a stuffed turkey breast.
Though using an appliance other than a conventional oven increases the guesswork involved, you can always depend on the meat thermometer to tell you if the breast is ready. As long as the internal temperature is 170 degrees, the meat is safe to eat.