Tender, juicy, oven roasted turkey breast wrapped up in a crispy, crunchy, hazelnut crust. With the essence of orange, sage, garlic, and parsley, it’s got all the flavors of a classic Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, but it comes together in a fraction of the time. It’s boneless and skinless, and ideal for families that prefer white meat only. This Thanksgiving it’s time for something different! Read on for my tips and behind the scenes tricks, or scroll right to the recipe and start cooking. Happy Thanksgiving!
As James and I settle into life here in the pacific northwest, the reality of hosting a huge family gathering for Thanksgiving gets smaller and smaller. However, our desire to thoroughly enjoy that huge meal remains the same. Bring on the turkey and all the sides!
Okay, maybe not all the sides. To be honest, it’s a lot of work for just two people and we get sick of all the leftovers before we eat them. Since it’s just the two of us this year, I’m making an effort to keep all the flavors of fall but reduce the amount of work I have to do in the kitchen. The most important part of that meal: the Thanksgiving turkey.
As people who prefer the white meat, this hazelnut crusted oven roasted turkey breast is perfect for us. It has all the flavors you’d expect at the Thanksgiving table: sage, garlic, parsley, and orange, tied in with the flavors of a roasted hazelnut stuffing. It’s literally like having your turkey and stuffing in one. Try serving it with some of my other Thanksgiving recipes and follow it up with my Butterscotch Apple Crisp for a feast you won’t soon forget.
Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast
We are looking for boneless and skinless split turkey breast for this recipe. Split means that it is just one side and not the whole breast. The goal is to feed about 4 people, not a dozen. Skinless, so that the hazelnut crust can adhere directly to the meat. If you love the skin, by all means leave it in place and put the crust on the skin. Boneless, to cut the cook time and the presentation at the table. If you haven’t guessed, I like my food to look pretty. Removing the bone before cooking lets you slice through the meat and preserve that perfect ring of hazelnut crust.
Yes, I’m aware that buying boneless skinless turkey breast isn’t as easy as finding boneless skinless chicken breast. While it is possible, often the split turkey breast you find in the store is bone-in and still has the skin – weighing about 2 1/2 lbs. While it’s fairly easy to remove the bone and skin, it’s even easier if you ask your butcher to do it for you. The bone can be roasted separately to make broth, which can be turned into delicious gravy.
If you can’t find a butcher to do it for you and you don’t want to do it yourself, there are still options! Leave the bone in and skin on. You’ll be using a heavier piece of meat and will need to extend the cooking time, but the recipe still works. It just may not look as pretty when you slice into it. Alternatively you could use boneless skinless turkey tenderloins or you could swap in chicken breasts instead. This hazelnut crust also tastes pretty good with duck too.
Turkey Breast Cooking Time and Temperature
The most important thing about cooking larger cuts of meat is the timing and temperature. For a 325 degree oven I’ve seen recommendations between 16 and 35 minutes per pound. The smaller your cut of meat, the longer it’s going to take per pound. I made a 1.5lb split boneless skinless turkey breast, which is the size the recipe is written for, and it took about an hour and 15 minutes to reach 165 degrees. I also tested a 2.5lb split boneless skinless turkey breast and it took just under 2 hours to reach 165 degrees.
So how do you manage getting it just right when the timing varies based on the size of the meat? Invest in a good probe style thermometer. Some ovens have them built in – mine does – but you can also buy an aftermarket model. I received one as a wedding gift and use it all the time in my grill. I’ve linked to the current version of it below. You can set it to alert you for the initial 150 degrees and again for the 165 degree final cooking temperature.
The hazelnut crust is definitely what makes this oven roasted turkey breast recipe different than your average Thanksgiving turkey recipe. It’s a thick, crunchy, crust that is loaded with the flavors of hazelnut, garlic, sage, parsley, and orange. We use a traditional three step dredging process: flour, egg, crust.
You’ll notice that the crust is made in two steps – first in a food processor or blender, then by hand. Do not just throw everything in the food processor and blend. The panko will get too fine and the crust won’t adhere as thickly. You’ll also notice that we add olive oil to the crust mixture. This makes the mixture the texture of wet sand, which also helps it to adhere more thickly.
The crust is also the reason we start with a low oven temperature then increase it at the end. Hazelnuts themselves are tasty, but when they are roasted and crunchy they are amazing. The higher final cooking temp really brings out the flavor of the hazelnuts.
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Hazelnut Crusted Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Recipe
Hazelnut crusted oven roasted turkey breast has a thick, crunchy hazelnut crust loaded with the flavors of garlic, parsley, sage, and orange. It’s like having your turkey and stuffing in one. Made to serve 2 – 4 people, this all white meat turkey recipe is perfect for a smaller holiday gatherings that want all the flavor without all the leftovers. Serve it with all of your fall favorites for a delicious Thanksgiving treat.
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Hazelnut Crusted Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Recipe
- 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless, split turkey breast
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 TBSP milk
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted hazelnuts
- 4 - 5 cloves garlic
- 3 springs fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 TBSP orange zest about 1 naval orange
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prep a roasting pan fitted with a rack. I used a cookie sheet with a cooling rack, as my roasting pan is only good to 400 degrees.
- Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Pour onto a shallow plate and set aside.
- Whisk together the egg and milk. Pour onto a shallow plate and set aside.
- Trim garlic and remove woody stems from herbs. In a food processor combine the hazelnuts, garlic, sage, and parsley. Pulse to chop until hazelnuts are the same texture as the panko bread crumbs.
- In a small bowl combine the hazelnut, garlic, sage and parsley, with the panko, orange zest, and salt. Mix to combine, then stir in the olive oil. Pour onto a shallow plate and set aside.
- If needed remove skin and bone from the turkey breast. Pat dry with a clean towel.
- Dredge the turkey in the flour, ensuring it is completely covered. Dip it in the egg wash. Roll it in the hazelnut crust, pressing the mixture to adhere.
- Place the crusted turkey on your roasting rack. Insert thermometer (if using) and place in the middle rack of the oven.
- Roast until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees - about 45 minutes to an hour. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast to an internal temperature of 165 degrees - about 7 - 12 minutes. Check after 5 minutes to ensure the hazelnuts on top aren't burning. If they are lay a piece of foil on top of the turkey to shield the direct heat while allowing the rest of the hazelnuts to roast.
- Remove turkey from the oven and allow to rest 7 - 10 minutes before carving.