Dutch Oven Turkey Breast

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Dutch Oven Turkey Breast is the perfect alternative to roasting a whole turkey during the holidays. It's moist, tender, and loaded with flavor from the dry rub brine, fresh herbs, and juicy lemons!

roasted turkey in a dutch oven with lemon and rosemary
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Why You'll Love It

  • Great Time Saver - only takes a few hours of cooking time which frees up the oven for other dishes
  • Easy Recipe - simply place a bone-in turkey breast in a large dutch oven and let it do the work
  • Provides Extra Servings - perfect when you need extra breast meat to feed a crowd
  • Simple Clean Up - everything happens in one pot, so clean up is a breeze! Just boil water in the pot after cooking to release any stains.

Recipe Highlights

Sometimes you need an entire turkey for holiday events, and other times you only need a roast turkey breast to serve at Sunday dinner. But, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, you might need extra white meat if the whole family shows up!

This Dutch Oven Turkey Breast recipe fills all of those needs and more! You'll love how easy it is to make, and enjoy the mouthwatering gravy made with lemons, fresh herbs and pan drippings from its own juices.

The best part is the final result...tender and juicy meat with crispy turkey skin that melts in your mouth! Using an enameled dutch oven is a great method for roasting a bone-in turkey breast because it turns out perfectly every time.

turkey breast displayed on a wooden board with decorations.

What's the Difference Between a Bone-In and Boneless Turkey Breast?

There's a big difference in the taste and texture of a bone-in bird compared to the boneless version. The bone-in bird is much larger and includes both sides of the breast, while the boneless is mechanically altered. In my opinion, a bone-in turkey breast has much better flavor.

During the roasting process, the skin-on and bone-in bird is a better choice because the extra fat drips to the bottom of the pot and cooks the vegetables.

For this reason, there's no need to add chicken broth or liquid to the pot! In fact, doing so can keep the skin from getting crispy, and who wants that?

Why Use A Dutch Oven?

  • A cast iron dutch oven seals in the heat and the juices of whatever you're cooking which makes it extra moist and tender.
  • Meat doesn't sit in water for hours like it does in a crockpot. Instead it roasts in its own juices in a fraction of the time.
  • It takes less time to cook in a dutch oven than it does in a slow cooker.
  • The results are always consistent, which takes the guess work out of cooking.

Some of my most popular recipes are made in a dutch oven! Try Dutch Oven Pork Tenderloin and Dutch Oven Corned Beef for the most popular recipes on the blog!

Equipment

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ingredients needed for Dutch Oven Turkey Breast

Ingredients

Complete instructions with quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

DRY RUB BRINE

  • kosher salt
  • garlic powder
  • dried parsley

TURKEY BREAST

  • skin on bone-in turkey breast
  • quartered onion
  • celery
  • butter
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme
  • lemons
  • cornstarch and water (for gravy)
  • heavy cream (optional gravy ingredient)

What Readers Say...

"I was afraid to cook a turkey breast because I thought it would turn out too dry. Then I found this recipe and wow...what a difference. The dry brine is easy to do and it creates a really tender turkey!"

Sarah Beth

Instructions

PREP THE BIRD

  • If bird is frozen, thaw it out in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
  • Pat turkey breast dry with paper towels. Place it on a cutting board.
  • Rub a softened stick of butter into every nook and cranny. Lift the skin and add butter there as well. Add any leftover butter to the bottom of the pot.
  • Insert fresh rosemary, thyme, onion slices and lemon wedges in each turkey cavity.
raw turkey being stuffed with lemons and onions.
  • Chop onions and celery into wedges and add to the bottom of a large dutch oven (ad) with fresh thyme and rosemary. Add lemons if desired, but keep in mind that the gravy will taste like lemons if they're added to the bottom of the pot.
lemons, onions, celery, rosemary and thyme in the bottom of a Dutch Oven.

ROAST THE TURKEY

  • In a small bowl, mix kosher salt, garlic powder and dried parsley together. Sprinkle entire turkey with dry brine.
  • Place turkey breast side up on top of the onions in the dutch oven.
  • Leave the pot UNCOVERED and place in the oven on the lowest rack.
turkey after it has been prepped in a dutch oven.
  • Roast the bird at 350 degrees F until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees F. This could take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of your bird.
  • The turkey skin will turn out golden brown and crispy if roasted without a lid. Check frequently to make sure it is not getting too done. Cover with a tent of aluminum foil once the skin is golden brown and continue to cook until it reaches 165 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the breast.
  • Transfer bird to a sheet pan. Cover with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Carve turkey and serve with herb gravy if desired. (recipe below)
roasted turkey after cooking in a dutch oven.

How to Dry Brine a Turkey Overnight

  • If you want to add extra flavor and ensure your turkey is moist and tender, follow these steps: Rub bird with butter, sprinkle with dry brine, and then wrap it in a large plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • When it's ready to cook, unwrap the bird and follow the roasting instructions above.

How to Make Herb Gravy

Most turkey breasts come with gravy packets that are really tasty. You can use those to make traditional gravy or make Herb Gravy by following the directions below.

  • Place the dutch oven (ad) containing natural juices on the stove top. Remove any large pieces of lemons, celery or onions and discard.
  • Mix cornstarch and cold water together to make a slurry.
  • Over medium heat, stir the cornstarch slurry with the juices from the turkey until thickened. Add chicken broth, milk or water until a gravy forms.
  • Continue to stir over low heat until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add a splash of heavy cream and black pepper if desired.
  • TIP - For a unique taste, add ½ cup white wine to the gravy instead of milk or water. The flavor is amazing and tastes like a piccata lemon sauce!
  • This recipe has a strong lemon flavor. If you prefer traditional gravy, use the gravy packets that are stored inside the breast. Prepare according to directions on the package.
slices of turkey on a wooden board.

Recipe FAQS

Do I have to brine the turkey?

No, it's not necessary to brine the meat if you're in a hurry. But, if you have some extra time to spare, the dry rub brine is delicious and adds a ton of flavor to this recipe. Dry brining is much easier than using a liquid brine, but both make a difference in the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

How long does it take to roast a turkey?

If roasting at 350 degrees, plan on about 20 minutes per pound. But, to be safe, use a meat thermometer to check the progress. This recipe was 8.5 pounds and took 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach 165 degrees in a 350 degree oven.

Why do you roast at a temperature of 350 degrees?

When roasting in a dutch oven, I have found that 350 degrees is the magic number. 325 takes longer and 375 degrees can burn the skin before the meat is done.

What if I don't have a dutch oven?

You can use a roasting pan or any type of deep baking dish. The cooking time may change, so plan accordingly if you use a different cooking method.

Variations

  • Experiment with different dry rub flavors. Some of my favorites are barbecue salt, smoked paprika and cumin. Different herbs change the flavor of the meat and gravy.
  • Use another type of vegetable in the bottom of the pot. Try brussels sprouts, carrots or potatoes. They taste amazing when roasted underneath a turkey or chicken!
  • Omit the lemons and use poultry seasoning and fresh sage with onions and celery for a more traditional flavor.
turkey being roasted in a dutch oven.

Storage and Freezing

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave in 15 second intervals for best results. Reheating in the oven is not recommended because it will dry out the meat.

To freeze leftovers, wrap tightly and use a vacuum sealer to reduce the chance of ice crystals. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw out in the refrigerator overnight and heat up in the microwave.

Top Tips

  • Invest in a good meat thermometer.
  • Use a pot or pan that's large enough to fit your bird with room left over for veggies.
  • Try brining the meat overnight for incredible flavor and tenderness.
  • Sprinkling the dry rub on the bird works better than adding it to the butter and rubbing it on.

What to Serve with Roast Turkey Breast

If you're planning a Thanksgiving menu, I've got you covered! Below are several ideas to help you pair classic southern sides with any main dish.

Casseroles: Skillet Green Bean Casserole, The Best Squash Casserole, Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole, Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Vegetables: Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes, Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots, Lemon Butter Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli

Essentials: Southern Cornbread Biscuit Dressing, Cranberry Jello Salad, Buttermilk Biscuits, Non-Alcoholic Apple Cider, Thanksgiving Punch

Recipe Card

roasted turkey in a dutch oven with lemon and rosemary

Dutch Oven Turkey Breast

Dutch Oven Turkey Breast is the perfect alternative to roasting a whole turkey during the holidays. It's moist, tender, and loaded with flavor from the dry rub brine, fresh herbs, and juicy lemons!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 457kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 pound turkey breast (bone in with skin on)
  • 2 small onions (cut in wedges)
  • 2 fresh lemons (sliced)
  • 6 ribs celery (cut in wedges)
  • 1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Instructions

PREP

  • If bird is frozen, thaw it out in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
  • Rinse turkey inside and out with cool water.
  • Pat turkey breast dry with paper towels. Place it on a cutting board.
  • Rub a softened stick of butter into every nook and cranny. Lift the skin and add butter there as well. Add any leftover butter to the bottom of the pot.
  • Insert fresh rosemary, thyme, onion slices and lemon wedges in each turkey cavity.

ROAST

  • Chop onions and celery into wedges and add to the bottom of a large dutch oven (ad) with fresh thyme and rosemary. Add lemons if desired, but keep in mind that the gravy will have a lemon flavor if added to the bottom of the pot.
  • In a small bowl, mix kosher salt, garlic powder and dried parsley together. Sprinkle entire turkey with dry brine.
  • Place turkey breast side up on top of the onions in the dutch oven.
  • Leave the pot UNCOVERED and place in the oven on the lowest rack.
  • Roast the bird at 350 degrees F until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees F. This could take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of your bird. Plan on about 20 minutes per pound, but the best advice is to use a thermometer to avoid overcooking the turkey.
  • The turkey skin will turn out golden brown and crispy if roasted without a lid. Check frequently to make sure it is not getting too done. Cover with a tent of aluminum foil once the skin is golden brown and continue to cook until it reaches 165 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the breast.
  • Transfer bird to a sheet pan. Cover with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Carve turkey and serve with herb gravy if desired.

HERB GRAVY

  • Place the dutch oven (ad) containing natural juices on the stove top. Remove any large pieces of lemons, celery or onions and discard.
  • Mix cornstarch and cold water together to make a slurry.
  • Over medium heat, stir the cornstarch slurry with the juices from the turkey until thickened. Add chicken broth, milk or water until a gravy forms.
  • Continue to stir over low heat until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add a splash of heavy cream and black pepper if desired.
  • For a unique taste, add ½ cup white wine to the gravy instead of milk or water. The flavor is amazing and tastes like a piccata lemon sauce!
  • This gravy recipe has a strong lemon flavor. If you prefer traditional gravy, use the gravy packets that are stored inside the breast. Prepare according to directions on the package.

Notes

  • Use a dutch oven that's large enough to fit your turkey with room left over for veggies.
  • Try brining the meat overnight for incredible flavor and tenderness. It's perfectly fine to use other herbs if desired. 
  • Sprinkling the dry rub on the bird works better than adding it to the butter and rubbing it on.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave in 15 second intervals for best results. Reheating in the oven is not recommended because it will dry out the meat.
  • View the Google Web Story for Oven Roasted Turkey Breast!

Nutrition

Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1689mg | Potassium: 936mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was afraid to cook a turkey breast because I thought it would turn out too dry. Then I found this recipe and wow what a difference. The dry brine is easy to do and it creates a really tender turkey!

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