Turkey breast meat gets a bad rap for being dry and flavorless, but that’s not the bird’s fault. Overcooked meat is usually the result of roasting a turkey whole, as its breasts are way overdone by the time legs catch up. While spatchcocking a bird can even out cooking times, we prefer to roast turkey breasts by themselves, and save the legs for braising.

In our recipe, the turkey breast roasts above a skillet full of caramelized onions and garlic, which both does wonders for your skillet’s seasoning and gives you flavorful building blocks for gravy, sides, and more.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Field Notes:


Our largest pan, the No.16 Double-Handled Skillet, is large enough to hold two whole breasts, or four breast halves, on the bone, but if you don’t need all that meat, you can prepare this recipe in smaller skillets as well.


If you aren’t breaking down a whole turkey yourself, you’ll usually find turkey breasts for sale either whole (that is, two connected breast halves on the bone) or split into two halves, as pictured above. Also, wings may or may not be attached with either cut. While we prefer the ease of roasting a whole turkey breast with its wings, but this recipe will work any way your bird is butchered, though cooking time will decrease with the size of your roast.

Recipe: Roasted Turkey Breasts with Onions and Garlic

Yield: 12 to 16 servings



Pat the turkey breasts dry with paper towels. Generously season the breasts all over with salt and pepper (you’ll use about 2 tablespoons salt per breast). Let sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 hour, which will allow the turkey to come up to room temperature and the salt to penetrate the meat. If you have enough room in your refrigerator, you can also salt the turkey, uncovered, up to 1 day ahead.


While the turkey rests, preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a No.16 Double-Handled Field Skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.


Push the onions to the perimeter and place the turkey breasts in the skillet. Rub the breasts with more oil and transfer to the oven. Roast, rotating the skillet after 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the breasts reach an internal temperature of 150°F, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes total.


Transfer the turkey breasts to a cutting board and let rest, uncovered, until ready to carve (the turkey will stay warm for up to 1 hour).


Remove the roast garlic cloves from the skillet and squeeze the softened garlic into a bowl; discard the skins. If the onions still don’t have much color on them, place the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized to your liking. Use the garlic and onions to make gravy, or reserve for another use.

Seasoning Rating: Best

Roasting a skillet full of onions, garlic, oil, and turkey fat will do amazing things for your pan’s seasoning.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.