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.
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 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.
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?).
- 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
- 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).
- Rinse the bone-in split turkey breast with cold water and then pat dry with paper towels. Set on the baking rack.
- 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).
- 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.