Dry Brined Turkey Breast

5 from 10 votes

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A brined turkey breast is perfect for serving 2-4 people, with plenty of leftovers! Make this recipe for tender, juicy boneless turkey roast.

A plate of sliced glazed boneless turkey roast

Not everyone has a crowd over for the holidays and for those of you who cook for a smaller group, this brown sugar maple glazed boneless turkey roast is perfect.

This recipe is just for the turkey breast, but if you need to cook an entire bird, I have notes and a great video on roasting and carving a turkey.

Dry brined for 12 hours with spices, roasted and basted with a brown sugar, maple, Sriracha sauce, this is a tasty alternative to the traditional bird. Although eating turkey doesn’t just have to be around the holidays either. I eat it quite often year round.

Dry brined turkey breast

What is brining? Well, in general, a brine is a solution of salt and seasonings used to protect and seal the juices inside of protein before it’s cooked.

There are two types of brining solutions: liquid, also known as wet brine, and dry brine.

Wet brine

A liquid (wet) brine is a saltwater solution that the protein is marinated in. A great example of this is smoked salmon brine. Before making smoked salmon, the fish soaks in a wet brine solution to help seal and protect it from drying out in the smoker.

Dry brine

Dry brining is the same process, except there is no water involved; it’s just a dry rub mixture of salt and seasonings. Keeps it simple and less of a clean up actually. By brining meat, you can decrease the amount of total moisture loss. That means a tender, moist, boneless turkey roast.

overhead: ingredients in small bowls for dry brining turkey breast

When I roast a whole turkey I oftentimes will rub herbed turkey butter under the skin to keep the meat extra moist and to add flavor.

You can certainly do that with a brined turkey breast if you’d like to, but there are plenty of spices in the dry brine. Plus, a maple glaze is brushed over the breast as it cooks, so the meat is is definitely tender, juicy and full of flavor.

overhead: dry brined turkey breast in glass bakeware

After the turkey roasts for a while a flavorful brown sugar maple glaze with smoky paprika and sriracha (completely optional) is brushed on the turkey roast.

This sticky sweet and very aromatic sauce is the perfect seasoning for the bird! Between that and the brine seasoning, you can’t ask for a more flavorful Thanksgiving turkey for two!

Cooking time and temp for boneless turkey

As a general rule, turkey breast takes about 16 minutes per pound to cook. For a 4 pound bone-in breast, it takes just over an hour.

For a boneless turkey roast, the cooking time is about 40 minutes at 350°F. Be sure to check the internal temperature to know for sure that it’s cooked through. The internal temperature should be 163°F at the thickest part of the breast.

When finished roasting, remove the turkey from the oven, set it onto a cutting board or platter where the juices won’t leak onto your counter, and cover it loosely with foil.

Allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. During this time, the turkey will continue to cook another 2-3 degrees, bringing the internal temperature up to a safe 165°F.

overhead: maple glazed turkey breast on roasting rack

Tips for serving turkey for two or four

So I have a couple of tips for those of you cooking for more than two people.

  1. Consider buying a larger turkey breast.

I usually buy a 2 pound boneless breast when I’m only serving turkey for two, but I get a 4 pound turkey roast when we have another couple over.

  1. Cut thinner slices.

I suggest cutting the slices a bit thinner than you would for two people. This will leave you plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and turkey pot pie.

If you’re cooking a turkey dinner for more than two, it’s also nice to add an extra side dish, or double up on the size of the dish.

What to serve with roasted turkey breast

For ideas on Thanksgiving side dishes that can be adjusted easily to serve 4 or less , be sure to check out my post on making a complete Thanksgiving for two.

Serve your boneless turkey roast alongside traditional favorites like French’s green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with pecan streusel or pearl onions with bacon. Enjoy!

Hope you try this instead of making a bigger bird. If not for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, then make it anytime. I enjoy turkey often and when sized down to a large breast like this you are set.

platter of thanksgiving turkey slices

This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Nov. 13, 2017, was last updated with new content on Oct. 19, 2021.

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A plate of sliced glazed boneless turkey roast

Dry Brined Turkey Breast

5 from 10 votes
A brined turkey breast is perfect for serving 2-4 people, with plenty of leftovers! Make this recipe for tender, juicy boneless turkey roast.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Brine Time: 12 hours
Total: 13 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 lb turkey breast boneless
  • 1 tbsp butter softened

Dry Brine:

Basting Sauce:


  • In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper, sugar, paprika and garlic powder. Sprinkle turkey all over with dry brine, patting to adhere. Arrange turkey breast on top of rosemary sprig in a container and chill uncovered for 12 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Shake off any excess dry brine from turkey breast and discard rosemary. Rub turkey all over with butter. Arrange turkey on top of a wire rack over a lined, rimmed baking sheet (or roasting pan for entire turkey).
  • Lower oven heat to 350°F and roast turkey breast until golden brown all over, about 40 minutes. (See Note 1 below for entire turkey ingredients and instructions.)
  • While turkey is roasting: In a microwave safe bowl add the brown sugar, maple syrup, soy sauce, butter, Sriracha sauce (optional) and paprika. Cook for 2 minutes on high.
  • After roasting 40 minutes, start basting every 10 minutes (roasting for another 20 minutes and/or until breast temperature is 163°F in thickest part).
  • When finished roasting, remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow turkey to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. During this time, the turkey will continue to cook another 2-3 degrees, bringing the internal temperature up to a safe 165°F.


To make this recipe with a 12-pound turkey:
  • 12 lb turkey
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
 Dry Brine:
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
Basting Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  1. Plan on 13 minutes of cooking time for every pound of turkey if roasting with an empty cavity, and 15 minutes per pound if you’ve stuffed it.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450°F and then lower the temperature to 350°F when putting the turkey into the oven.
  3. The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  4. When finished roasting, remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow turkey to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.


Serving: 8ounces | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 2487mg | Potassium: 675mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 734IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image- dry brined turkey breast


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    First made this last Thanksgiving to compete with my 4 sons in a turkey contest they have every year. They conceded when they tried mine. Made 2 more this Easter since the last one was so good. I had them sliced up on a platter next to a platter of honeybaked ham. The turkey was gone while the ham was barely touched! I have a recipe here that I will hang on to for years to come. Thanks for sharing this Kevin!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this turkey breast for our Easter supper, it was delicious! I used a bone-in whole breast and left the dry rub on for 20 hrs before finishing in the oven with the incredible glaze. The whole family agreed it was the best turkey we have ever had and will be the only way we make it going forward! Thank you so very much for sharing this delicious recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Kevin, this recipe is absolutely delicious. Took a turn from the traditional turkey this year and decided to take a swing at your recipe for 12lber. Very moist and full of flavor! 5 stars for you

    1. Hey there Jeff! Thanks so much. Sorry I’ve been MIA myself from stopping by. This season has had me crazy busy. I’ll stop by this weekend to catch up on your latest. Cheers!

  4. I love how this is just for two AND for a big 12 pound bird Kevin! So many people don’t have big crowds, so it’s great you scaled down the recipe for those folks. That dry brine and basting sauce sound fabulous!

    1. Thanks Mary Ann. I love a big ol’ turkey, but sometimes just a breast is perfect. Great flavor, too! Have a fantastic holiday. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    The presentation of this dish alone is espectacular, and the recipe is a real winner Kevin, this is something to be very proud of, great job 🙂

  6. Hey Kevin! I usually wet brine my turkey but not this year, I just printed out this recipe! Dry brining is so much easier and uses less space in the frig. Thank you my friend!

    1. Less fuss, clean up and all. Don’t go over 24 hours though dry brining though Dorothy. I taste tested 3 versions of this before posting and 8 hours was too little and 48 hours too salty! 😉

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Kevin,

        Help this vegan out who’s cooking thanksgiving dinner for her meat eating husband. 😅 If we are eating thanksgiving dinner at 4pm and probably cooking the turkey breast right before that, when do I start the dry brine? Can I start it the night before without the salt and add the salt in the morning? What do I do? I’m trying to avoid waking up at 3AM if possible.

        I am hopefully working with the right piece of meat. I am at the mercy of my Whole Foods online order and it looks like they are sending me a boneless breast with skin. But it might not have skin. They were out of stock of my first two choices so we’ll see what the shopper brings. 😭

      2. I do use skin on and if you dry brine longer than 12 hours I would not worry. Make the recipe as directed and just dry brine it over night. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Gianna!

  7. 5 stars
    I love recipes like this, cooking for two! Whenever I see turkey pieces in the grocery, I always pick ’em up! I just love the smell of it roasting in the oven – makes for some nice memories 🙂 Nice twist on traditional turkey with that glaze. Love to try this one over the holidays 🙂