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 (4 portions)

Even a small turkey breast is a lot of turkey for two people. The best 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. Also consider brining the breast, which produces a moister and more flavorful result - especially if you flavor the brine. 

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


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.


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.