Easiest. Dinner. Ever. Seriously, this meal is a stand-by at our house and truly could not be easier (unless you’re calling for take-out, of course). Cranberries and turkey go naturally together and make everyone think of Fall; but cranberries are excellent for much more than just cranberry sauce, just as turkey should not be relegated only to Thanksgiving.
Cranberries are naturally acidic, and in addition to tasting fabulous with turkey, will work to tenderize the flesh and makes the most tender, juicy turkey breast you’ve ever had. Serve with a simple green salad, roasted veggies or rice, or, as here, a quick saute’ of spinach and green garlic, and you’ve got a delicious meal in about 5 minutes of prep-time. Leaving you the roasting time to focus on more important things: like dessert!
Cranberry Roasted Turkey Breast
- 1 half turkey breast, bone-in, with skin, about 3 lb (I use Empire Kosher, or buy an entire organic turkey breast from D’Artagnan)
- 1 cup cranberry sauce (preferable homemade and/or low sugar, but any cranberry sauce will work)
- 1/4 cup orange juice, apple juice or white wine
- 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- handful of fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Rinse the turkey breast, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan or dish that is just slightly bigger than the turkey breast.
- Combine the cranberry sauce, juice or wine and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork; depending on how thick your cranberry sauce is, adjust the juice and/or vinegar ratio so that you like the taste, and so the consistency of the sauce is such that it will not run off the top of the turkey, but not so thick that it will prevent the skin from getting crispy; somewhere between the consistency of maple syrup and ketchup. (If you go with a skinless breast, use a thicker sauce in order to preserve the juiciness of the meat). If you have whole cranberries, toss them into the sauce and give it a quick mix.
- Pour the sauce over the turkey breast; spread with a spatula so that all the exposed skin is covered with marinade. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes; if desired, you can marinate this for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. After about 30 minutes, check turkey breast and spoon additional pan juices over the top of the breast if necessary. If there are not enough juices, marinate with additional wine or juice.
- Roast in the middle of the oven until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast is 170 degrees F (or, cut a small slice in the meat and check for any signs of pink; when no pink is observed, meat is done), approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check frequently to prevent overcooking. In the last 10 or 15 minutes, if the skin has not become crispy, put the oven temperature on broil and crisp the skin under the broiler for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest in the roasting pan for 10 minutes prior to carving. Serve over salad greens, mashed potatoes, or sauteed spinach and garlic. Drizzle turkey with pan juices and enjoy!
Serves 4 to 6.
- This will work with boneless, skinless turkey or chicken breast, but I l ike the bone-in turkey breast the best. The meat stays juicer, it is much less expensive, and you can freeze the bones until you are ready to make stock. Frugal and delicious!
- You can also use cranberry chutney or a cranberry mustard to make the marinade.
The turkey will last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Thank you so much! I used to make something very similar to this, but after several moves and household changes I lost my “recipe” and couldn’t remember exactly how I’d made it… this will be an excellent starting place (I didn’t want to experiment too wildly and ruin my turkey!) and I think that YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON ON THE INTERNET with a cranberry turkey recipe that does NOT involve stuffing or a glaze, but actual baking with cranberries!