Skip to Content

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Split Turkey Breast

Looking for an easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe that doesn’t require cooking the whole bird? This Roasted Lemon Rosemary Split Turkey Breast recipe is simple and easy — and perfect for any Thanksgiving menu.

This shows a cooked bone-in turkey breast on a white platter surrounded by platters of side dishes like green beans

So Thanksgiving.

You know those memories of gathering around the dinner table with your family and digging into your mom’s special dressing recipe? Truth is that most years when I was a child and teenager, my family went on vacation to Florida and went out to eat on Thanksgiving. I loved every minute of our nontraditional Thanksgiving celebrations, often spent at cozy restaurants after long days lazying around the pool.

Of course, over the last 10 years or so, my family has embraced the big, traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Except for a few years ago, my family headed to Florida for Thanksgiving for the first time in a decade — and loved every single second of it. Honestly, celebrating Thanksgiving is about enjoying time with your loved ones, and you can do that anywhere … even in sunny Florida on vacation.

But my family loves Thanksgiving dinner. It’s epic. So we never ever miss it. In fact, the last time we were in Florida, we had a mini Thanksgiving dinner with a roasted turkey breast cooked in our tiny condo kitchen — followed by a full dinner at home when we returned from our trip.

Did I mention that Thanksgiving is epic for us?

The thing is that you can cook Thanksgiving dinner on any scale — depending on your wants and needs. And it can be easy, delicious and fun as ever. In fact, this split turkey breast recipe helps you to create a smaller Thanksgiving dinner.

Bone-in turkey breast cooking time

Whether you are cooking for Thanksgiving on a small scale because it’s only a few of you or you are cooking while away from home, this half turkey breast recipe is a great option. Juicy and flavorful like a full turkey (because of the bone!), bone-in split turkey breasts cook in under two hours and produce enough meat for 4-6 people — without a ton of leftovers.

Serve this with classic sides like cranberry sauce, stuffing and potatoes.

How to cook a split turkey breast

This shows three photos: the ingredients for making this half turkey breast recipe, the lemon rosemary rub in a bowl and the turkey on a rack, ready to go into the oven for the appropriate bone-in turkey breast cooking time.

This flavorful turkey is rubbed with a lemon rosemary rub that takes seconds to whip up. Once the bone-in turkey breast is seasoned, it goes into the oven where it’s roasted to perfection.

When it’s done, let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before carving, as you would a whole turkey. That allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat.

The rub really makes this whole thing extra special.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Split Turkey Breast

And if you happen to be cooking away from home, this half turkey breast recipe is a great option too since it really is low-fuss. Hint: mix up the salt, garlic granules and onion granules at home and bring them with you in a small resealable container, then mix in the lemon zest and minced rosemary at the last minute.

Also, be sure to pack a zester and meat thermometer, if you will be making this split turkey breast recipe away from home (surely, I am not the only one who brings cooking utensils when I travel, right?).

Lemon Rosemary Split Turkey Breast
Roasted Lemon Rosemary Split Turkey Breast

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Split Turkey Breast

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes


  • 1 bone-in split turkey breast, about 3-3.5 lbs
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules, granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules, granulated onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set a baking rack inside a baking pan (for easy clean up, line the baking pan with aluminum foil first).
  2. Rinse the bone-in split turkey breast with cold water and then pat dry with paper towels. Set on the baking rack.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the rosemary, lemon zest, kosher salt, garlic granules, onion granules and olive oil. Rub the mixture all over the turkey breast, including under the skin (you will have to loosen the skin gently with your hand).
  4. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 45 minutes, until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 (yes, you really do need to use a meat thermometer). Remove from the oven and tent the turkey with foil, allowing it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
  5. Enjoy.


Thursday 14th of October 2021

This is a great recipe. I followed it exactly. I used a broiler pan. It's delicious and easy. Thank you!


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Made this recipe once so far and it was great! I’m making it again for our Covid Thanksgiving and was only able to get a 2 lb breast. How should I adjust the cooking time? Thanks!


Thursday 18th of November 2021

@Sarah Walker Caron, This recipe is so amazing! 45 minutes was perfect for my 2 pound split turkey breast. Super moist, gorgeous and delicious!

Sarah Walker Caron

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi Alex, I would expect your 2 lb (bone-in) turkey to take between 40 mins and an hour. Probably closer to the shorter time. Good luck!

Cooking Lady

Friday 16th of October 2020

This was a great recipe! I don’t eat meat, but I’ve been looking for heart healthy meals for my husband and this was perfect—really easy and he loved it! Thanks to covid we’ll be staying home for Thanksgiving and I plan to make this again!

Post Turkey Blues

Wednesday 11th of June 2014

[…] crystal shimmer earrings and J.Crew classic pave link bracelet.  For Thanksgiving I cooked a roasted lemon rosemary turkey breast. Since it was just Andrew and me, I did not want to use a whole turkey. The breast […]


Saturday 7th of December 2013

I think you forgot something...what to do with the olive oil.

Sarah W. Caron

Monday 9th of December 2013

Yes! It's added to the rub. All fixed now. Have a wonderful day!

Skip to Recipe