This Dutch Oven Turkey Breast is the easiest way to prep your turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's perfect for smaller crowds and pairs well with all of the classic sides! Learn the best tips and tricks for making moist and juicy turkey every time.
📋 About the Recipe
- A simpler Thanksgiving turkey recipe - If you're hosting a smaller crowd, you won't need to go through the trouble of cooking a full-sized 20-pound turkey. Smaller turkeys are quicker to defrost, easier to prepare, and typically more moist, juicy, and flavorful!
- Easy to repurpose - Turn leftover turkey slices into sandwiches on challah rolls with Kale Apple Slaw or cut into cubes and use as the meat in Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad or Loaded Burger Bowls!
- Safe to refreeze - If you end up with more turkey than you can eat, stick a few slices in the freezer and prevent food waste!
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Turkey - I used a 6 ½ pound, whole, young bone-in turkey breast. In order to follow the cook times closely, I recommend using a turkey that is very close in size.
- Onion, celery, bay leaves - Adding these simple ingredients into the cavity of the turkey breast before roasting creates a more flavorful turkey!
- Apple - Plug the turkey cavity with an apple to keep the flavors inside and infuse the flavors of the onions and bay leaves into the meat. Any apple will work here - sweet or tart!
- Seasoning paste - Coating the skin of the turkey in a simple seasoning paste made with olive oil and spices like garlic powder, minced onion, marjoram, basil, oregano and salt and pepper. This paste creates a beautiful golden brown crispy skin. Both flavorful and beautiful in color.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Red wine substitute - The alcohol in the wine cooks off of the turkey completely, however, if you are uncomfortable cooking with alcohol or prefer not to, substitute the red wine with ⅔ cup pure pomegranate juice plus 2 teaspoons of white vinegar.
- Olive oil substitute - Any neutral oil will work here. Avoid oils with strong flavors.
- Orange juice substitute - I highly recommend using orange juice, but you can use more red wine or some apple juice instead.
- Preheat and prep. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place turkey in dutch oven. Remove any gravy packets or internal packaging from the turkey breast and discard. Place turkey breast in the dutch oven breast-side up. Pat dry using clean paper towels - this will help the seasoning stick to the skin and make it as crispy as possible.
- Prepare the seasoning paste. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oil until a paste forms.
- Rub seasoning on turkey. You want to cover the entire turkey breast, including the cavity, as well as carefully lifting up the skin on top to spread underneath.
- Fill the cavity with additional herbs and vegetables. Add in the bay leaves, celery halves, 2 onion quarters, then plug the end with the apple.
- Place the remaining vegetables in the dutch oven. Scatter the rest of the celery and onion around the turkey as needed.
- Pour the orange juice and wine overtop. Pour orange juice and red wine over top, then sprinkle with dried minced onion.
- Roast! Place the turkey in the oven and roast, uncovered for about 2 hours. Baste the top of the turkey with the juices at the bottom of the dutch oven every 20 minutes or so.
- Cook until 165 degrees F. When the innermost part of the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the skin on top becomes golden brown, remove from the oven.
- Remove the vegetables and apple. Allow the turkey to cool slightly before removing the bay leaves, onion, celery, and apple from the turkey’s cavity.
- Carve. Place the turkey on a large cutting board and carve out the breast meat. Discard remaining bones and cartilage. Follow this tutorial on how to carve a turkey breast, if needed!
- Reserve the turkey drippings. Scoop out the turkey drippings from the bottom of the dutch oven and pour over top of the carved turkey to use as gravy.
🦃 Serving Suggestions
This Dutch oven turkey breast pairs well with several of my classic side dishes. Here are a few to inspire you for your menu this year:
- One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Fluffy Mashed Potatoes Without Milk
- Brown Sugar and Dill Roasted Carrots
- Air Fryer Potato Latkes with Homemade Applesauce
- Baked Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing
- Apple Avocado and Arugula Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
- Challah Rolls
- Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole
- Wild Rice for Thanksgiving
If you're looking for festive holiday cocktails to serve alongside the meal, here are a few you may like:
❄️ How to Store
To store: Leftover turkey breast will store best in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To freeze: Cooked turkey can be safely refrozen if it is refrozen shortly after cooking. For best results, freeze leftover turkey slices submerged in the turkey drippings in an airtight freezer safe zip top bag for up to 3 months.
To reheat: The best way to reheat dutch oven turkey breast and keeping it moist is by placing it back in the dutch oven covered with the lid. Add a splash of broth or gravy to the dutch oven before sticking in the oven and heat for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until warmed through.
In order to fit a turkey in a dutch oven, the turkey should be less than 10 pounds. I used a 6 ½ pound turkey and would recommend roasting it in a 6 or 7 quart dutch oven. Larger turkeys likely won’t fit in a dutch oven and are better suited for roasting pans.
When roasting turkey at 350 degrees F, expect to cook it about 20 minutes per pound. With that being said, always use a meat thermometer to read the innermost temperature of the turkey before determining doneness.
A 6 to 7 pound turkey breast will take about 36 hours (1 ½ days) to thaw in the refrigerator. The USDA recommends allowing for at least 1 day to defrost every 4 pounds of turkey. So, as an example, if your turkey is 20 pounds, you should allow 5 full days for defrosting. Plan ahead!
💭 One More Tip
Please use a meat thermometer! You don't want to pull your turkey from the oven, thinking it's done, just to cut into the center and find it's still raw. Meat thermometers are very affordable and save a lot of time and stress, especially when cooking whole birds.
🍴 Related Recipes
Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Dutch Oven Turkey Breast
- 1 (6 ½ pounds) whole young bone-in turkey breast, defrosted
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 celery ribs, cut in half widthwise
- ½ an onion, quartered
- 1 small apple
- 1 cup orange juice
- ⅔ cup sweet red wine port, zinfandel, or marsala would work
- 3 tablespoons dried minced onion
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large dutch oven with nonstick spray.
- Remove any gravy packets or internal packaging from the turkey breast and discard. Place turkey breast in the dutch oven breast-side up. Pat dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, combine oregano, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir in olive oil to create a paste.
- Rub seasoning paste around the entire turkey breast. Spread it evenly throughout, making sure to add some to the cavity, as well as carefully lifting up the skin on top to spread underneath.
- Fill the cavity with both bay leaves, 2 celery halves, 2 onion quarters, and then plug the end with the apple. Scatter the rest of the onion and celery around the turkey in the dutch oven.
- Pour orange juice and red wine over top. Sprinkle top with dried minced onion.
- Place turkey in the oven and roast, uncovered, for about 2 hours*, basting the top of the turkey with the juices at the bottom of the dutch oven every 20 minutes.Cook until the innermost part of the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the skin on top becomes golden brown.
- Allow turkey to cool slightly before removing the bay leaves, onion, celery, and apple from the turkey’s cavity. Place turkey on a large cutting board and carve out the breast meat. Discard remaining bones and cartilage. Scoop out turkey drippings from the bottom of the dutch oven and pour over top of the carved turkey to use as gravy.
- *When roasting turkey at 350 degrees F, expect to cook it about 20 minutes per pound.
- Follow this tutorial on how to carve a turkey breast.
- A 6 to 7 pound turkey breast will take about 36 hours (1 ½ days) to thaw in the refrigerator.
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I am absolutely going to be trying this recipe for Thanksgiving! Have done turkey breasts in my crockpot in previous years but couldn’t find one small enough this year so the solution is to put my 6 1/2 pound turkey breast in the Dutch oven and use your recipe! Question: doesn’t pouring the orange juice and wine mixture over the turkey breast wash off the seasoning paste that had been applied?
Sounds great! I can't wait to hear how it turns out 🙂 As for the orange juice and wine, most of the seasoning paste will be applied under the skin (just gently lift up the skin without ripping it, and rub the paste underneath with your hands) so it shouldn't wash away. Additionally, because the paste is made with oil, it sticks to the skin pretty well and the juice simply runs off of it. Just make sure to add the dried onion last so you don't wash that away with the juice mixture!