Turkey Beast with crispy skin & juicy meat
My herb buttermilk marinade recipe produces a Roast Turkey Breast with extra crispy skin and tender, juicy meat. The perfect blend of herbs and spices makes this Herb Buttermilk Marinated Turkey Breast a mouthwatering family favorite. Oddly enough no one in my family likes the dark meat on turkey, so the drum sticks, thighs, and wings are wasted. Therefore, for the past several years we have only been roasting the turkey breast at Thanksgiving and it has been a big hit. The turkey breast in the picture is roughly around 6 pounds, so there is more than enough turkey breast to feed my family.
I’ve been using this Buttermilk Marinade on chicken for years!
Marinating a chicken overnight in a buttermilk marinade and spices is a very traditional method in the southern USA before frying. The buttermilk, salt, and other spices act as a brine to infuse a tremendous amount of flavor into the chicken. When it came to marinating a turkey, I was hesitant to bake a whole turkey this way. Buttermilk marinades make the skin crisp and give the turkey breast a dark golden brown color. However, a large turkey may be in the oven for a much longer time and I believe that the skin would be burned before the meat was cooked. Therefore, I do not recommend cooking a whole turkey with this marinade. However, if you remove the drumsticks, thighs, and wings, they can be marinated and roasted the same way.
No need for basting the turkey breasts for this crispy skin!
How to Roast a Turkey
- Turkey Cooking time: If everyone is expecting to eat at 3 o’clock, the turkey needs to be roasted, rested, and ready to carve at 2:45. Here are the cooking times for roasting an unstuffed turkey @ 325 °F. If you’re stuffing a whole turkey (I don’t recommend) add 20-30 minutes to these times. Roast the turkey breast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving
- 14-23-pound turkey: 325°F for 2-3 hr.
- 24-27-pound turkey: 325°F for 3-3 3/4 hr.
- 28-30-pound turkey: Bake in a 325° oven for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hr.
Season the Turkey Breast
- Turkey Seasonings: The dry rub I use for the turkey breast is named after the Simon and Garfunkel song ‘Scarborough Fair’! Yes, you guessed it, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are the main ingredients. There are many versions of this recipe on the internet. I will give you my version, it’s easy to make and lasts for months. Add the dry rub just after the salt and let the flavors absorb into the turkey overnight. I use about 1 teaspoon of dry rub per 1 pound of turkey, 15-pound bird = 15 teaspoons of dry rub, rough 1/3 of a cup
- Defrosting: Defrosting a turkey takes time! A frozen turkey takes several days to defrost in the refrigerator and the bigger the turkey the longer it takes. You need to plan for roughly 5-6 hours for every one pound of turkey. Example: a 15-pound turkey takes roughly around 4-5 days plus we need 24 hours to brine the bird before roasting. Therefore, take the (15-pound) turkey out of the freezer no later than Sunday morning.
The onions, lemons, and rosemary help prevent the turkey breasts from sticking and perfume them as the roast.
Forget to buy Buttermilk for the Turkey Marinade?
Buttermilk is one of those things we do not have in the refrigerator unless we have planned on it well in advance. Luckily, I have a very simple Buttermilk Substitute recipe for just such an occasion. After all, you can’t make Herb Buttermilk Marinade without it! Or buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, etc., etc.
What to Serve with Herb Buttermilk Marinated Turkey Breast
- My Mom’s Cornbread Dressing You gotta have dressing with roast turkey breasts! My mom got this Cornbread Dressing recipe from a little old church lady back in 1962. Lucky for us, she’s been making it exactly the same way ever since. The ingredients: cornbread, celery, onions, and sage, are simple and make this dish a comforting classic for your roast turkey.
- Glazed Carrots A Thanksgiving must! My Glazed Carrots recipe is definitely a throwback to my childhood. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the way my Mom and Dad made carrots. Buttery and sweet, their carrots always had a bright beautiful color. They are the perfect side item with buttermilk marinated roast turkey breasts.
- Pommes Anna My Pommes Anna recipe is a simple four-ingredient gorgeous dish of thinly sliced potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper. It is as beautiful as it is delicious. This beautiful potato recipe perfect contrast of a golden brown, crispy crust and the delicate creamy soft interior. A perfect side dish for a great turkey dinner.
- Pommes de Terre Boulangères Pommes de Terre Boulangères is similar to a potato gratin only without the cream, just onions, stock, and potatoes. A very beautiful side dish, who doesn’t love perfectly roasted golden brown potatoes with their buttermilk marinated turkey breast?
- Super Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce My Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is so much better than the stuff that comes in the can. Tart and sweet, the orange and the apple add a nice complexity to this cranberry sauce that makes it a great side for turkey breast and dressing.
Here is my recipe for Herb Buttermilk Turkey Breast
My Herb Buttermilk Marinade is a type of brine. The sodium in the brine acts to keep the turkey breast moist while roasting, resulting in a much juicier Roasted Turkey. A good rule of thumb and my basic formula for a brine is 1:1, 1-teaspoon salt per 1-pound of meat.
Herb Buttermilk Marinated Turkey Breast
Scarborough Fair Dry Rub
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Sage
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
- 6 Pound Turkey Breast
- 1 Pint Buttermilk (Buttermilk Substitute Recipe Here)
- 1/4 Cup Scarborough Fair Dry Rub
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
- 2 Red Onions Cut into 8ths, leave the root intact so it holds together
- 1 Lemon Cut into 8ths
- 3 Sprigs Rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Marinated Turkey Breast
- Combine all ingredients with turkey breast in a large sealable plastic bag. Marinate between 4-24 hours
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Line the bottom of a casserole with the onions, lemons, rosemary, and oil as a base for the turkey to roast on.
- Remove the turkey from the marinade, discard the marinade
- Place the turkey in the casserole dish and place in the oven for approximately 2-2 ½ hours, rotate the casserole dish every 30 minutes. Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving
Don’t forget Dessert!!!
- Orange Snickerdoodle French Toast Hot, and fresh, the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in the air. My Orange Snickerdoodle French Toast recipe topped with a scoop of rapidly melting vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of my Homemade Cranberry Sauce is out of this world good. What better way to finish a great turkey dinner?