Buttermilk-Brined Turkey Breast

A large turkey breast (sans legs and thighs) may be less intimidating to take on if you've never cooked a whole bird. Here we use the dairy-case staple buttermilk to tenderize the poultry.

roasted turkey breast on white platter surrounded by cut citrus fruit
Photo: Brie Passano
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
2 hrs
Roast Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Stand Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs


  • 3 cup buttermilk

  • ½ cup chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as Italian parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, and/or sage

  • cup kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

  • 1 5-6 pound whole turkey breast with bone*


  1. For brine, in a 2-gal. resealable plastic bag set in a bowl combine first five ingredients (through lemon zest). Add turkey to brine; seal bag. Chill 2 to 4 hours. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange turkey, meaty side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until done (165°F). Cover and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh herbs, if you like.

Buttermilk-Brined Whole Chicken:

Prepare as directed, except use a 3 1/2- to 4-lb. whole broiler-fryer chicken. To roast chicken, skewer neck skin to back, tie legs to tail, and twist wing tips under back. Roast, breast side up, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until done (at least 170°F in thigh) and drumsticks move easily in sockets, cutting string and covering with foil to prevent overbrowning after 1 hour. Makes 4 (4-oz.) servings.Nutrition analysis per serving: 283 calories, 32 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 16 g total fat (4 g sat fat), 101 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 2 g total sugar, 4% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 665 mg sodium, 3% calcium, 8% iron


If using a larger or smaller whole turkey breast, adjust roasting time to allow for 15 to 20 minutes per pound.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

355 Calories
5g Fat
1g Carbs
76g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 355
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 179mg 60%
Sodium 672mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 76g
Vitamin C 0.2mg 1%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 2.5mg 14%
Potassium 781mg 17%
Folate, total 23.7mcg
Vitamin B-12 4.5mcg
Vitamin B-6 2.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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