Roast Turkey for Two: Doable and Delicious

Sliced roast turkey breast on plate
Paul Poplis/Getty Images
  • 7 hrs
  • Prep: 6 hrs,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings (with leftovers)
Ratings

Even a small turkey breast is a lot of turkey for two people. My approach is to buy a whole small breast, thaw it, then cut it in half and refreeze half for later. Half a breast is not only enough for dinner for two, but enough for a few turkey sandwiches later. I also like to brine the breast, which produces a moister and more flavorful result - especially if you flavor the brine as I do in the recipe below. 

What You'll Need

  • For the Brine:
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage (or 1 Tbsp. rubbed sage)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • For the Turkey:
  • 1/2 bone-in turkey breast (see note 1*)
  • 1/2 stick butter (unsalted)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage (rubbed)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper (ground)

How to Make It

Brine:
1. Combine all brine ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

3. Six hours before cooking, submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 6 hours. Alternatively, you can brine the breast a day or two in advance, then remove from the brine, rinse, pat dry, and store in a sealed container until ready to cook.

Cook:
4. Heat oven to 425F. Melt butter with sage.

5. Brush breast with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Cook breast for about 45 minutes until an instant-read thermometer** inserted in the center of the breast reads 160 degrees.

7. Remove from oven and tent with foil. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

*Note 1: You may be able to get your butcher to cut the breast in half. Don't use a breast that is self-basting or Kosher as they have already been brined.

**Note 2: I can't emphasize enough the value of an instant-read thermometer (compare prices) when roasting any kind of meat. Oven sensors are notoriously inaccurate and variable, so relying on time to determine doneness is completely undependable - and those pop-up thermometers will always overcook the bird.