Indian-Spiced Turkey Breast


Roasting a whole turkey is always tricky, since the breast can dry out while the dark meat finishes cooking. To get around that problem, Melissa Rubel Jacobson roasts turkey breast by itself. With the right amount of cooking, it's always juicy, especially when marinated in a combination of lemon and yogurt.Plus: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide More Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Indian-Spiced Turkey Breast
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins


  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 3 large garlic cloves

  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast halves (about 3 pounds each)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. In a food processor, puree the yogurt with the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. Place the turkey breasts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour the yogurt marinade over the turkey and rub it over both sides and under the skin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

  2. Preheat the oven to 475°. Transfer the turkey breasts (with any marinade that sticks to them) to a large roasting pan, skin side up. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle the butter over the skin. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and roast for 50 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 165°. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Tart, fruity rosé.

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