The Art of Roasting Turkey Breast in a Cast Iron Skillet

Are you looking for a foolproof way to cook a juicy and flavorful turkey breast? Look no further than your trusty cast iron skillet! Roasting a turkey breast in a cast iron skillet is a game-changer, delivering perfectly crispy skin and moist, tender meat every time. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using cast iron, walk you through the step-by-step process, and share some delicious seasoning ideas to elevate your turkey game.

Why Use a Cast Iron Skillet?

Cast iron skillets are a versatile and invaluable addition to any kitchen. When it comes to roasting turkey breasts, they offer several advantages:

  1. Even Heat Distribution: Cast iron heats evenly and retains heat exceptionally well, ensuring that your turkey breast cooks consistently from edge to edge.

  2. Superior Browning: The naturally non-stick surface of a well-seasoned cast iron skillet promotes excellent browning and crisping of the turkey skin, creating a mouthwatering exterior.

  3. Stovetop-to-Oven Convenience: Cast iron’s ability to transition seamlessly from the stovetop to the oven makes it a one-pan wonder for roasting and gravy-making.

  4. Flavor Boosting: The seasoned surface of cast iron adds depth and richness to the turkey’s flavors, enhancing the overall taste experience.

  5. Effortless Presentation: With its rustic charm, a cast iron skillet doubles as an attractive serving dish, taking your turkey from oven to table with minimal fuss.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To achieve a perfectly roasted turkey breast in a cast iron skillet, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (approximately 5-6 pounds)
  • Unsalted butter (softened)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or sage)

You can keep it simple with just butter, salt, and pepper, or elevate the flavors by adding garlic and fresh herbs. The possibilities are endless, and we’ll explore some delicious seasoning combinations later in the article.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of roasting a turkey breast in a cast iron skillet:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Placing the cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats can help ensure even browning.

  2. Prepare the Turkey Breast: Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels and generously season it with salt and pepper (or your desired seasoning blend). Rub the softened butter all over the skin, making sure to cover every nook and cranny.

  3. Arrange in the Skillet: If using garlic or fresh herbs, place them in the bottom of the preheated cast iron skillet. Place the seasoned turkey breast on top, skin-side up.

  4. Roast the Turkey Breast: Place the cast iron skillet in the preheated oven and roast the turkey breast for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F (74°C).

  5. Let it Rest: Once the turkey breast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove the skillet from the oven and let the turkey rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy and tender result.

  6. Make the Gravy (Optional): While the turkey rests, you can utilize the drippings in the cast iron skillet to make a delicious gravy. Simply remove any excess fat, leaving about 2-3 tablespoons in the skillet. Whisk in some flour to create a roux, then gradually add chicken or turkey broth while whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and you’ll have a rich, flavorful gravy to accompany your turkey.

Seasoning Ideas and Flavor Combinations

One of the beauties of roasting turkey breast in a cast iron skillet is the ability to experiment with different seasoning combinations. Here are some delicious ideas to inspire your next turkey feast:

  • Garlic and Herb: Tuck whole garlic cloves and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage around the turkey breast for a classic, aromatic flavor.

  • Lemon and Pepper: Rub the turkey breast with a mixture of softened butter, lemon zest, and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper for a bright and zesty kick.

  • Maple and Mustard: Combine maple syrup and Dijon mustard to create a sweet and tangy glaze, brushing it over the turkey breast during the last 20 minutes of roasting.

  • Cajun Spice: For a bold and spicy twist, coat the turkey breast with a Cajun seasoning blend featuring paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and dried herbs.

  • Southwestern Flair: Rub the turkey breast with a mixture of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and lime zest for a burst of Southwestern flavor.

Remember, the beauty of cooking with cast iron is that you can easily adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences or complement the side dishes you plan to serve.

Serving Suggestions and Leftovers

A beautifully roasted turkey breast in a cast iron skillet is sure to be the star of your dinner table. Here are some serving suggestions and ideas for enjoying the leftovers:

  • Classic Side Dishes: Serve your cast iron-roasted turkey breast with traditional favorites like mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables for a complete holiday feast.

  • Salads and Sandwiches: Shredded or sliced turkey breast makes a delicious addition to fresh salads, wraps, and sandwiches, providing a protein-packed lunch or light dinner option.

  • Soups and Stews: Utilize leftover turkey breast in hearty soups, stews, or chilis for a comforting and nourishing meal.

  • Turkey Pot Pie: Transform your leftovers into a savory pot pie by combining shredded turkey with vegetables and a creamy sauce, topped with a flaky crust.

With its versatility and ability to infuse flavor, a cast iron-roasted turkey breast opens up a world of possibilities for delicious meals throughout the week.


Roasting a turkey breast in a cast iron skillet is a foolproof method that guarantees juicy, flavorful results every time. With its even heat distribution, superior browning capabilities, and ability to transition from stovetop to oven, cast iron is the perfect vessel for creating a showstopping turkey centerpiece. Experiment with different seasoning combinations, embrace the convenience of a one-pan wonder, and enjoy the rustic charm of serving your turkey straight from the skillet. Once you experience the magic of cast iron-roasted turkey, you’ll never go back to any other method!

Roast Turkey in Cast Iron: 2021

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