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Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Apple cider turkey breast is a moist, delicious main course perfect for smaller holiday celebrations or as an extra main for large gatherings. It will add extra flavor to your holiday season!

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Apple Cider Turkey Breast sliced and spread out on a silver serving platter with stuffing makes a perfect small holiday entree.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

The holidays just beg for turkey. 

My family and I are not huge turkey eaters and definitely not into leftovers for days. I prefer the other stuff: the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, cornbread and cranberries.

Basically give me all the carbs and let me pour some gravy over it and I’m happy, you know?

Since we are doing a small quiet holiday this year, we are planning on making a turkey breast for the 4 of us. We made this garlic roasted turkey last year and it was delicious. This year, I’ve been loving apple cider everything so apple cider turkey breast it is!

This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s moist (sorry) and slightly sweet and topped with an incredible apple cider turkey gravy that is to die for.

Why only make a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey?

Apple Cider Turkey Breast sliced and spread out on a silver serving platter with stuffing makes a perfect small holiday entree.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Lots of reasons!

If you are having a low key, small Thanksgiving or other holiday celebration, you might only need a turkey breast.

Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to roast a whole turkey if no one in your family likes the dark meat.

However, sometimes a turkey breast makes sense for a huge occasion. For example, some holidays in the past, we’ve had 15 or so people. Instead of making a giant turkey, we often make a couple different main dishes like this 3 cheese ziti or butternut squash gnocchi since we feed a few vegetarians and a couple people who prefer beef like this stuffed flank steak over poultry. A turkey breast makes sense for those situations too.

And honestly, it’s fairly easy to make and has a much shorter cook time so you can have it as part of a big spread without needing the oven all day long for your turkey.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the turkey brine on a white counter. Ingredients include apple cider, salt, sugar, oranges, apples and spices.

Ingredients for the Turkey Brine

To make an apple cider turkey breast, you’ll need a 4 to 6 pound turkey breast. Use fresh or frozen just make sure it’s thawed first if you are using frozen.

For the brine

  • Salt- Use kosher salt or sea salt for best results. You need a lot of salt and kosher salt or sea salt has a better flavor.
  • Sugar– We used granulated sugar but you could brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Apple cider– If you’ve made a big batch of homemade apple cider you can use that or you can use storebought.
  • Fruit– Both an apple and an orange quartered infuse the brine with extra flavor.
  • Spices– A blend of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole pepper corns, ground ginger, dried rosemary, garlic powder and bay leaves.
  • Garlic– Fresh garlic adds a lot of flavor.

For the turkey:

  • Olive oil– To make the base of the rub
  • Spices- Dried rosemary, all spice, salt and fresh sage, rosemary and parsley
  • Butter– To sear the turkey breast in
  • Apple cider– Use the apple cider to deglaze the pan after you sear it

For the gravy:

  • Butter and Flour- to make a roux
  • Pan Drippings
  • Chicken or Turkey Stock

How to Make

  1. Make the Apple Cider Brine.
    Turkey breast in a stock pot of liquid with oranges, spices, and apples

    Brine the turkey

    Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Bring the temperature of the liquid up to room temperature and let sugar and salt dissolve. Once they dissolve, remove it from the heat and carefully put the turkey breast in. Let the turkey soak in the brine for at least 2-4 hours but preferably overnight.

  2. Make the rub and season the bird.
    Pouring the spice rub onto the turkey breast.

    Pour the rub onto the breast.

    In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, dried rosemary, all spice and salt until it’s combined. Then rub the oil mixture into the skin. Stuff the fresh herbs inside of the turkey cavity.

  3. Sear the turkey breast.
    Stuff and sear the bird

    Stuff and sear the bird

    Melt the butter in a cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add the turkey to the pan. Sear it on each side for 2 minutes per side. 

  4. Deglaze and roast.
    Apple cider being poured over a turkey breast.

    Deglaze the pan. Then roast the turkey.

    Deglaze the skillet by pouring a cup of apple cider into the pan and using a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits. Spoon the cider over the turkey breast. Cover the breast loosely with foil and cook the turkey breast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. The turkey is done when an internal thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the breast reads 160. Take the breast out of the oven and let it set. The internal temperature will continue to raise and should reach 165.

  5. Let it rest and slice.
    Let the turkey rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to distribute. Cut into slices and serve.

How long does leftover turkey last in the fridge?

Turkey sliced on a plate with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and cornbread.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Leftover turkey breast can safely store in the fridge for about 3 days. Make sure you store it covered and don’t leave it out for more than 2 hours prior to refrigerating.

Tips and Tricks

Turkey sliced on a plate with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and cornbread.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

  • When searing the turkey breast, watch it carefully. While you may need to multitask when making a big holiday meal, pay attention during searing the breast so you don’t burn it.
  • Sear all the sides of the breast.
  • Don’t skip the rest time. Letting the turkey rest will make sure that it’s nice and juicy.

How to Make Apple Cider Gravy

Turkey sliced on a plate with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and cornbread.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Is it the holiday season without gravy covering your turkey, potatoes and stuffing?

No, I think not! And this apple cider turkey gravy is outstanding! It’s slightly sweet from the cider and so dang delicious I know you’ll adore it.

To make it:

  1. Make a roux with an equal parts butter and flour. (3 tbs of each)
    In a small pot over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of flour and keep stirring while you cook. The butter and flour will form a golden paste.  
  2. Whisk in the liquid.
    As soon as the butter and flour form a paste, whisk in 2 cups total of pan drippings and turkey or chicken stock. Keep whisking until all the liquid is incorporated into the roux.
  3. Let it come to a simmer. Reduce heat and let it simmer until it thickens.
    Let the mix come to a simmer. Once it simmers, reduce the heat to low and let it slowly simmer until it thickens. Then serve and enjoy.

Yummy Sides

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes with Rosemary Butter

Delicious Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes with Rosemary Butter are one of my weaknesses

Looking for delicious holiday side dishes to round out your turkey dinner this holiday season? These are some of our holiday favorites:

Did you make this APPLE CIDER TURKEY BREAST or any other recipe on my site? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked. And make sure you follow along with me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see everything we’ve got going on.

 

Turkey sliced on a plate with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and cornbread.

Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes

Apple cider turkey breast is a moist, delicious main course perfect for smaller holiday celebrations or as an extra main for large gatherings. It will add extra flavor to your holiday season!

Ingredients

For the brine

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 gallon of apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 apple, quarted
  • 1 tbs cloves
  • 1 tbs whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbs ginger
  • 1 tbs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tbs garlic powder

For the turkey

  • 1 3-4 pound bone in turkey breast
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary 
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A mixture of fresh herbs- sage, rosemary and time
  • 2 tbs butter for the pan
  • 1 cup of apple cider

Instructions

  1. Make the Apple Cider Brine. Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Bring the temperature of the liquid up to room temperature and let sugar and salt dissolve. Once they dissolve, remove it from the heat and carefully put the turkey breast in. Let the turkey soak in the brine for at least 2-4 hours but preferably overnight.
  2. Make the rub and season the bird. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, dried rosemary, all spice and salt until it's combined. Then rub the oil mixture into the skin. Stuff the fresh herbs inside of the turkey cavity.
  3. Sear the turkey breast. Melt the butter in a cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add the turkey to the pan. Sear it on each side for 2 minutes per side. 
  4. Deglaze and roast. Deglaze the skillet by pouring a cup of apple cider into the pan and using a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits. Spoon the cider over the turkey breast. Cover the breast loosely with foil and cook the turkey breast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. The turkey is done when an internal thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the breast reads 160. Take the breast out of the oven and let it set. The internal temperature will continue to raise and should reach 165.
  5. Let it rest and slice. Let the turkey rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to distribute. Cut into slices and serve.

Notes

See post for instructions on gravy.

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