Cooking turkey gives even the most seasoned home cook the jitters. Although roasting the whole bird is a very time-consuming affair requiring a lot of preparation, cooking turkey breast is another matter altogether. Turkey breast is the leanest cut of turkey and it is available with skin or skinless as well as boneless and bone-in variety. Since turkey breast is a white meat, it is one of the healthiest options for creating a main course. To make sure that you do not overcook or undercook turkey breast, you need to know turkey breast timing. The cooking time required to create a moist and succulent piece of turkey breast depends upon the cooking method used for preparing the turkey and whether it is a fresh turkey breast or a frozen one. One of the best ways to cook a turkey breast is to sear the skin on a cooking pan and then roasting it in the oven. For tender meat, it is best to buy turkey breast in bone with skin on it since the bone-in turkey meat is more moist. Given below are the cooking time for turkey breast for different cooking methods.
How Long to Roast a Turkey Breast
If you are roasting turkey breast in the oven, then you have to be very careful that you do not overcook it. For bone-in turkey breast, the cooking time is roughly between 1 - 1 ¼ hour for a 2 to 3 pound bone-in turkey breast at 325 ºF. For a boneless turkey breast, the cooking time is slightly less, just under an hour for 2 - 3 pound turkey breast. When you are roasting a boneless turkey breast, you need to ensure that you start checking if the turkey is done by inserting a meat thermometer after 35 - 40 minutes. This will help in ensuring that the turkey meat does not overcook and become dry and stringy. If you are cooking stuffed turkey breast then the cooking time will be determined by the kind of stuffing you are using. If it is a dry stuffing then you need to roast the turkey breast for about an hour. For moist stuffing like feta cheese or steamed spinach, cooking time of about 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes is sufficient.
How Long to Braise a Turkey Breast
A very good way to cook turkey is to braise it in a flavorsome liquid. Braising gives turkey breast a moistness that is difficult to achieve with any other cooking method. You can give turkey meat incredible flavor by using different types of liquid for braising like red wine with balsamic vinegar to a simple turkey broth. The cooking time for one whole turkey breast with skin on, that is braised with a braising liquid is around 1 - 1 ½ hours. Before you remove the turkey from the oven, it is important that you insert a meat thermometer to the thickest part of the turkey breast to check that the thermometer registers 170 degrees.
Cooking time for turkey breast will also depend upon the kind of pan or baking dish that it is used for preparing it. A shallow bottomed cooking pan is ideal for roasting or braising a turkey breast as it distributes the heat evenly. You also need to make sure that you do not cook the turkey breast in too high a heat as it might leave the meat raw on the inside. To be on the safe side, it is best to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to check that the thermometer registers 170 ºF. This is a good way of knowing that the meat is cooked through and is safe to consume. Cooking turkey breast that is juicy and tender is not difficult, once you adhere to the cooking time.