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✅ Recipe: Simple, Boneless, Roast Turkey Breast

The long dark nights have arrived and it’s gotten cold here in Bavaria, so it’s time to whack the oven on and crack out the roast dinners. As Christmas is approaching, I thought I’d offer my take on a very simple and boneless roast turkey breast.

Now I know it’s not rocket science, but if you’re not used to putting together large meals with multiple components, a roast dinner can be a bit daunting. Especially if you’re cooking for others. There’s pressure to cook everything perfectly and present it beautifully in an easy, stress-free style reminiscent of Nigella Lawson.

Now Nigella I am not. But roast dinners aren’t as complicated as they seem.

So let’s start with the turkey and the fear of either undercooking it or overcooking it into a dry, tough boot. And the first thing I’ll suggest to make life a little easier, is to choose a boneless turkey joint for your dinner plan. Whether you’re purchasing from a supermarket like Waitrose or from a local butcher, the boneless joint saves so much time and worry in the kitchen. There’s no hassle in carving, you’ll save space in the oven and you can be confident it’s cooked through.

When buying a roasting joint in the UK, the meat will already be trussed. That’s where the joint has been tied up in such a way as to make a neat, evenly shaped bundle which helps ensure an even cook. That isn’t the case in Bavaria and I always need to start with a bit of turkey-bondage after visiting my Munich butcher. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this video on YouTube.

Given the piece of meat you buy is likely to be pre-trussed, you’ll not be able to slip seasoned butter under the skin. If you’re doing it yourself though, I do generally like to add a reasonable layer of herby or pepper infused butter. Here I’ve opted for ground rosemary, sage and black pepper.

Stuffing with butter means the turkey is self basting and it adds a lovely bit of flavour. Otherwise, just slather some over the top of the meat. Every little helps, right?

Not sure how to plan the rest of the dinner? I’m afraid there’s no easy way to do that. Just start with the time you want to serve the roast and work backwards, given the rest time for the meat, the roasting time and the preparation time.

On the subject of basting: I’m lazy. My turkey isn’t in the oven for all that long and it doesn’t really require any messing with. I place the prepped turkey on a rack or trivet into a snugly fitting tray. Then pour a scant centimeter of water into the tray below and cover the whole thing with a loose tent of tinfoil. It cooks like that until the final thirty minutes, when I pull the foil off, baste the meat and then leave it to finish roasting. Super simple and no messing.

Which brings me neatly on to cooking times. With a boneless turkey breast joint, the shape is even and you’re not worrying about dry breast and undercooked leg pieces. There are two ways to figure out how long to roast your turkey for.

  1. Weigh the meat. At 180°C in a Fan Assisted oven: allow 20 minutes for every kg and then add 70 minutes if the joint is under 4kg or 90 minutes if it’s over 4kg. Then add a further 15 minutes.
  2. Weigh the meat. Use the British Turkey Cooking Calculator. Then add a further 15 minutes. This calculator does the same thing as option 1, without you having to do the maths.

Now, why am I saying to add a further 15 minutes? Simply put: You will open the oven during the roast, you’ll be adding other things to the oven as the meat cooks. This lowers the temperature and hinders heat reaching the bird. That extra 15 minutes is my safety net. The “for good luck” part of the calculation. I’ve never once had a dry turkey roast – and even managed to convert family who avidly believed turkey was a dry meat (they always ate chicken for Christmas!). In any case, always cook until the juices run clear when skewered in the centre.

Unsure on how to plan the rest of your dinner? Well, there’s no easy shortcut for that I’m afraid. Just start with the time you want to serve the roast and work backwards, factoring in resting time for the meat, roasting time and prep time. Work out how long each side dish takes to cook and write it down. Then it’s just a case of slotting everything together. Give yourself ten minutes in a quiet space to figure it out. Include things like boiling the kettle and changing the oven temperature. Don’t forget your oven isn’t limitless and an overfull oven will struggle to properly roast everything.

If you’re short on time or making a roast for the first time this Christmas, don’t worry about doing everything yourself. Supermarkets sell some great ready-prepared side dishes and it’s not shameful to take shortcuts which will help you get a full meal on the table with less stress, allowing you to enjoy more of the day.

As I’m preparing just an average roast for two people, I’m not making everything from scratch either. I just don’t want to, particularly as I’m in Bavaria. Sausage meat for stuffing can’t easily be found – and so it’s Paxo to the rescue. I don’t want to be making gravy in my shoebox kitchen either – so I’m not, I’m using Bisto. Having been brought up with these ‘cheats’, they’re really more like a taste of home for me. As for the red cabbage? I’m using a microwavable German version from my local supermarket. It’s quick, easy and I like it.

It’s no secret that I buy my essential British kitchen staples from British Corner Shop – nor is it a secret that they’ve occasionally sent me things to try out. In this case, I received some ‘Roast Dinner’ themed products (above) – but as it happens, I’m using the stuffing and gravy I already had in the cupboard!

Whatever sides and sauces you choose to fill your plate with, I hope this guide on how to prepare and roast a simple, boneless turkey breast helps you feel more confident with it. Cooking a perfectly juicy and tasty roast dinner is always a foodie highlight of the colder months for me.

Disclosure: British Corner Shop provided me with a selection of products free of charge, in exchange for a fair and honest representation of the items supplied. All experiences and opinions given are my own and have not been influenced by this exchange.

Simple, Boneless, Roast Turkey Breast

How to cook a simple, boneless, roast turkey breast. It’s great for Sunday dinner or Christmas day!
Course: Main Course


Butter Flavourings (Optional)


Butter the Turkey

  1. Grind together or finely chop some of your chosen herbs or spices. Use whatever flavour combination you like. Mix all your chosen seasonings, along with a good pinch of salt, into enough room temperature butter to cover the top of the turkey.
  2. If using an untrussed turkey: Gently prise the skin away from the meat to form a cavity, then gently push the mixture under the skin in a relatively even layer.
  3. If using a trussed turkey: Generously smear the butter across the top of the turkey skin.

Truss the Turkey

  1. If you’re buying an untrussed turkey breast, you’ll then need to tie it up into a neat, even bundle to ensure an good cook.
  2. Fold thinner portions of the breast under the main body of meat, creating an evenly thick bundle. Keep the shorter edge towards yourself.
  3. Loop oven-safe string all around the outisde edge of the meat, along the horizontal circumference. Pull gently to tighten before tying off at the edge furthest away from yourself.
  4. Then pull a length of string over the top of the meat towards yourself. Using your thumb, hold the string to the work surface, then use your other hand to swiftly slide the rest of the string back under the turkey. Take the string back to the knot at the top edge. Pull tight and tie the string again to fix in place.
  5. From the knot, bring the string diagonally downwards to the left at about a centimeter from the top edge. Hold the string to the work surface with your thumb and slide the length of string under the meat, then upwards towards the top right edge.
  6. Bring the string back over the top of the meat, wrapping it diagonally at around a 1 ot 2 cm distance from the first diagonal length. Wrap the string around the turkey in this fashion until you reach the bottom edge, gently pulling tight as you go.
  7. At the bottom edge of the turkey, bring the string horizontally across the underside and repeat the diagonal wrapping in the opposite direction. This creates a ‘net’ and criss-crossed effect.
  8. Once the string is back at the top of the meat, finish it by turning the meat over and tucking the string underneath another strand. Tie a knot and cut the extra string away.

Roast the Turkey

  1. Weigh the turkey breast and calculate how long to roast the joint for: allow 20 minutes for every kg and then add 70 minutes if the joint is under 4kg or 90 minutes if it’s over 4kg. Then add a further 15 minutes. Alternatively, use the British Turkey Cooking Calculator and add a further 15 minutes.
  2. Place the turkey on a rack or trivet over a snugly fitting tray. Sprinkle with a little more of your ground spice mix, if desired. Pour almost a cm of water into the base of the tray and loosely cover the entire thing with a tinfoil tent.
  3. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for an hour before placing it in the oven.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (Fan Assisted Oven) or 200 degrees C (Standard Oven). Give it plenty of time to come to temperature, around 15 minutes.
  5. Place the turkey in the oven and roast as per your given cooking calculation.
  6. 30 minutes before the roast is due to come out of the oven, remove the tinfoil. Baste the meat with the collected juices, then leave it for the final 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp. Do not discard the tinfoil tent.
  7. Once cooked, remove the turkey from the oven. Replace the tinfoil cover over the top and layer a couple of towels over the top of that. Let the meat rest for around 25-30 minutes before carving.

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