The Ultimate Guide to Cooking a Juicy 9 lb Turkey Breast

Are you hosting a big gathering and need a showstopping main course? Look no further than a delicious, juicy 9 lb turkey breast! This versatile cut of meat is perfect for feeding a crowd, and with the right techniques, you can ensure that it’s moist, flavorful, and cooked to perfection. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every step, from thawing and brining to roasting and carving, so you can serve up a turkey breast that will have your guests raving.

Why Choose a 9 lb Turkey Breast?

There are several reasons why a 9 lb turkey breast is an excellent choice for your next big meal:

  1. Feeds a Crowd: A 9 lb turkey breast can easily feed 12-16 people, making it perfect for large gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or family reunions.

  2. Easy to Cook: While cooking a whole turkey can be intimidating, a turkey breast is a simpler and more manageable option, especially for those new to roasting poultry.

  3. Versatile: Turkey breast is a blank canvas that can be seasoned and flavored in countless ways, from classic herb rubs to bold, spicy marinades.

  4. Healthier Option: Compared to other cuts of meat, turkey breast is a leaner, healthier option, with less fat and fewer calories.

Thawing and Brining: The Keys to Juicy Turkey

Before you can cook your 9 lb turkey breast, you’ll need to thaw it if it’s frozen, and then brine it to ensure maximum moisture and flavor. Here’s how:


  • Refrigerator Method: This is the safest and most recommended method. Place the frozen turkey breast on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow pan and transfer it to the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 lbs of turkey.

  • Cold Water Method: If you’re short on time, you can thaw the turkey breast in cold water. Submerge the packaged turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of turkey.


Brining is the secret to a juicy, flavorful turkey breast. You can choose between a wet brine (soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution) or a dry brine (rubbing the turkey with a salt mixture). Both methods work well, but wet brining is generally considered more effective.

  • Wet Brine: Dissolve 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of water, along with any desired aromatics (such as herbs, spices, or citrus). Submerge the thawed turkey breast in the brine solution and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

  • Dry Brine: Mix together salt, herbs, and spices. Rub the mixture all over the thawed turkey breast, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Place the turkey breast on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12-24 hours.

Seasoning and Roasting: The Path to Perfect Flavor

Once your turkey breast is thawed and brined, it’s time to season and roast it to perfection. Here’s how:


The possibilities for seasoning a turkey breast are endless, but here are a few classic and delicious options:

  • Herb Butter: Combine softened butter with fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, and sage), garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture under and over the skin of the turkey breast.

  • Spice Rub: Mix together your favorite dried spices (like paprika, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder) with salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey breast.

  • Citrus and Herb: Stuff the cavity of the turkey breast with fresh citrus (like oranges, lemons, or limes) and aromatics (like onions, garlic, and herbs).


  • Oven Temperature: Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).

  • Roasting Pan: Place the seasoned turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, breast-side up. Pour a cup of broth or water into the bottom of the pan to prevent drippings from burning.

  • Cooking Time: Roast the turkey breast for approximately 13-15 minutes per pound, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F (74°C).

  • Basting (Optional): For extra moisture and flavor, baste the turkey breast every 30 minutes with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.

  • Resting: Once the turkey breast reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it loosely with foil. Allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.

Carving and Serving: The Grand Finale

After all your hard work, it’s time to carve and serve your beautiful, juicy 9 lb turkey breast. Here’s how to do it like a pro:

  1. Let it Rest: As mentioned earlier, allowing the turkey breast to rest for 20-30 minutes after roasting is crucial. This resting period ensures that the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moister and more flavorful turkey.

  2. Carving Technique: Place the turkey breast on a cutting board, breast-side up. Using a sharp knife, slice down along the breastbone, separating the breast from the bone. Then, slice the breast meat crosswise into thin, even slices.

  3. Serving: Arrange the sliced turkey breast on a platter and surround it with your favorite side dishes, like mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables.

  4. Gravy: Don’t forget to make a delicious gravy from the pan drippings! Simply whisk together the drippings with some flour or cornstarch and broth, and season to taste.

Final Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to ensure that your turkey breast is cooked to the perfect temperature (165°F / 74°C).

  • Tent with Foil: If the skin starts to get too dark during roasting, tent the turkey breast loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.

  • Let it Rest: Always allow the turkey breast to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving to ensure maximum juiciness.

  • Save the Carcass: Don’t discard the turkey carcass! Use it to make delicious turkey stock or bone broth.

With these tips and techniques, you’re now armed with everything you need to cook a juicy, flavorful 9 lb turkey breast that will be the star of your next big gathering. Happy cooking!

Simple Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

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