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Citrus-Roasted Turkey Breast

Courtesy Laura Vitale
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

This recipe is fantastic to make and serve for a smaller crowd. It's also not as intimidating as cooking a whole turkey if you're new to the kitchen. The compound butter with the citrus and smoked paprika is absolutely incredible!

Swap option: Use the same method on a whole turkey or smaller roasters, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 (8-pound) whole turkey breast, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 8 ounces bread, cubed and dried in a 300 F oven
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4-1 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 lemon


For the turkey:


Preheat your oven to 425 F.


In a small bowl, mix together the butter, all the herbs, grated garlic, lemon zest, orange zest, smoked paprika and plenty of salt and pepper; set aside.


Place the onion, celery, garlic head and carrots in the bottom of a roasting pan (or you can use a large ovenproof skillet so you can make the gravy in the same pan), place your turkey breast right on top, stuff half the compound butter under the skin (between the skin and the breast) and smear the rest evenly over the top (make sure the outside is very well patted dry otherwise the butter won't stick) then season all over with salt and pepper.


Pour about 3/4 cup of water around the turkey, roast for 30 minutes at 425 F, then decrease the temperature to 350 F and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 170 F.


Once ready, remove the turkey to a platter, cover and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

For the stuffing:


In a skillet, add the butter, allow it to melt over medium heat, then add the onion and celery, cook until softened, add the herbs and remove from the heat.


In a large bowl, add the cooked onion mixture with the bread, pinch of salt and pepper, the egg and enough stock to soak the bread but not make it very mushy, about 3/4 cup (this part is up to you — if you like a really soft and puffed stuffing, add more liquid).


Place the stuffing in a buttered dish, cover and bake for 20 minutes then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes (right alongside the turkey at 350 F; place it in towards the end of the turkey's cooking time so they come out together at the same time).

For the gravy:


Discard the veggies from the turkey roasting pan and pour all your drippings through a fat separator.


Take a couple tablespoons of the fat and pour into the roasting pan along with the flour, and set over medium heat.


Then add the drippings and some chicken stock (you should have about 1¼ cups of stock/drippings mixture) cook until thickened, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice (trust me, it makes a difference), pour into a gravy boat and set aside.

To serve:

Slice the turkey breast, serve on a platter alongside the stuffing and gravy.