Citrus Roasted Turkey Breast

I can clearly recall the first time I ever roasted a turkey.  There I was, a freshman in college, and my roommate was in charge of a little {big} Thanksgiving party for our church.  She wasn’t the best cook but she did introduce me to Nutella {she remains a fave of mine} so she recruited my very limited expertise to do it.


Having never roasted a turkey in my life I called my mother.  Naturally.  She walked me through it insisting that I needed to get a fresh turkey because a frozen turkey wouldn’t thaw in time.  The grocery store only had frozen turkeys.  So there I was, the night before this dinner with a frozen turkey and no idea what I was doing.

To defrost the turkey in time for us to roast it I stayed up all night, rotating the water in the sink every 30 minutes as the turkey took a bit of a bath and I watched the Christmas Story marathon that’s on TBS every year.  It thawed in plenty of time, was moist and flavorful, and I realized how simple it was to roast a turkey.  I may still get a slight twinge every time A Christmas Story comes on but I came out relatively unscathed.

When developing this recipe for Citrus Roasted Turkey I wanted to create a dish that could be used to feed a large group or a small family.  I find that the best way to do that is with turkey breasts.  You can actually buy them the night before the party without the risk of staying up all night to watch A Christmas Story.  {Great movie, by the way.  Love the bunny pajamas.}

It combines all the warm and fresh flavors of the season with a little twist on the classic.

Citrus Roasted Turkey Breast

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: serves 6-8 adults with leftovers

Citrus Roasted Turkey Breast


  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (or white wine)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4-7 pound turkey breast with skin, thawed with bone-in
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and saute the onion over medium heat until translucent. Deglaze the pan with chicken broth. Add the water, orange juice, cranberries, sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil and simmer until the cranberries are plump. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, and thyme.
  3. Carefully pour the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth, approximately 60 seconds. Set aside.
  4. To get a golden brown crust on the turkey breast the first coarse of action is to sear the outside. Begin by sprinkling each side of the turkey breast(s) with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat until extremely hot, 60-90 seconds depending on your stove-top. Place the turkey breast(s) skin side down and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the outside is golden. Flip and repeat.
  5. Once seared, place the turkey breasts in a roasting pan and generously baste with the citrus cranberry sauce. Roast for 2-3 hours, basting with the sauce at least once more.
  6. Once the internal temperature reaches between 162°-165° remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. This allows the juices to re-distribute and for the turkey to continue to cook.
  7. Slice and serve with remaining citrus cranberry sauce.


A general rule of thumb is to roast for about 20 minutes per pound and I highly recommend using a meat thermometer so you can track the internal temperature. 165° is the desired internal temperature for turkey. For a moist turkey breast, remove from the oven before the temperature reaches the full 165° (162°-164°), cover loosely with foil, and allow to sit. The internal temperature of the turkey will continue to rise slightly and the juices will redistribute making the turkey moist and flavorful.

©Budget Gourmet Mom


  1. This is such a gorgeous and delicious looking turkey breast! Yes, I would like this verrrryyy much :)

  2. Kalyn says:

    Sounds really good!

  3. julie says:

    Is the turkey breast boneless?

  4. Deborah says:

    I love the flavors in this!! I roasted my first full turkey just a few weeks ago, and was actually blown away at how easy it was. I do love turkey breasts, though, and find that they work the best for my family!

  5. carrian says:

    That looks absolutely amazing!

  6. Deborah says:

    PS – I’d love to have you come link up to my turkey link up this month! Here is this week’s entry post:

  7. Ali Buckley says:

    This was STUPID good. I mean really really
    fantastic. Thank you! Our Thansgiving was delish because of this turkey!!! I literally still have my plate in front of me but had to comment now. Yum.


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