Orange, Honey, and Thyme Brined Turkey Breast

Ingredients (13)

For brining the turkey breast:

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 4 cups cold water, plus more as needed
  • 3 ounces salt (1/2 rounded cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt OR 1/3 rounded cup Morton kosher salt OR 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Ice
  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds total)

For roasting the turkey breast:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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Nutritional Information
  • Calories762
  • Fat31.2g
  • Saturated fat7.88g
  • Trans fat0g
  • Carbs33.94g
  • Fiber2.78g
  • Sugar28.87g
  • Protein84.0g
  • Cholesterol245.27mg
  • Sodium1483.04mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (6 servings) Powered by

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Orange, Honey, and Thyme Brined Turkey Breast

Brining a 15-pound turkey for a Thanksgiving crowd requires a little more finessing of fridge space than this smaller turkey breast for six people. Once you have the orange, honey, and herb brine combined and cooled, just pour it into a resealable bag, add the turkey breast, and let it hang out in a 13-by-9-inch dish in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to cook, add extra flavor with a fresh thyme rub, and roast first on high to get a deep golden skin, then on low for the juiciest meat ever. Serve all the classic Thanksgiving dishes on the side, and see our Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide for more tips, tricks, and recipes.

Special equipment: You’ll need a 2- to 2-1/2-gallon resealable food-safe bag for brining the turkey.

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For brining the turkey breast:
  1. 1Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in wide strips, avoiding the white pith; place it in a medium saucepan. Juice the oranges and set aside 1/2 cup of the juice (save the rest for another use).
  2. 2Add 1 cup of the measured water, the salt, honey, thyme, bay leaves, shallots, and pepper to the saucepan, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the salt and honey have completely dissolved, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof 2-quart container and add the remaining 3 cups of water and the reserved orange juice. Let cool for 45 minutes.
  3. 3Fill a 2-cup measuring cup with ice and add enough water to measure 2 cups. Pour it into the cooled brine mixture and stir to combine.
  4. 4Place a 2- to 2-1/2-gallon resealable bag in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and open the bag. Pour in the brine and place the turkey breast in the bag, skin-side down. Seal the bag, place the dish in the refrigerator, and brine for at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours.

For roasting the turkey breast:

  1. 1Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the oil, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. 2Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels; discard the brine. Place the turkey skin-side up in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Rub the thyme mixture all over the top and sides of the turkey.
  3. 3Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast registers 160°F and the juices run clear, about 75 minutes more. (Check the turkey after 1 hour and if the skin starts to get too brown before the meat is done, loosely cover the breast with foil.)
  4. 4Place the roasting pan on a wire rack and let the turkey rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
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