Why I Roast My Turkeys Breast DOWN

posted by Andrea | 11/11/2015
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roasting turkeys

While I would never consider myself a “master chef” or even a “really amazing cook”, I do enjoy being in the kitchen and trying new recipes and ideas. I also like finding simple solutions to improve the taste of my food and reduce the amount of time I spend in the kitchen.

And since Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away, I thought I’d share one of the super simple (yet slightly unconventional) things I often do to help my turkey meat come out nice and juicy every time.

For starters, I always roast my turkeys in an Oven Bag — in fact, I can’t even remember the last time I roasted a turkey (or a chicken) without a roasting bag.

The bags are very inexpensive, they are available at most grocery stores (or online), they save your oven from boatloads of grease splatters, and they almost assure your meat will turn out extremely moist and juicy.

As you probably guessed by the title of my post, another slightly unconventional tip I use is to roast my turkeys breast DOWN.

This allows all the juices to flow down through the white meat and keeps it nice and juicy! (The dark meat is still very juicy too)

As you can see by the 2 photos below, roasting the turkey with the breast down is not nearly as pretty as when it is roasted breast up… but since I almost always carve the meat off the bones before I bring it to the table, it really doesn’t matter much what the bird looks like coming out of the oven.

I’m positive Martha Stewart would not approve — but my dinner guests have never once complained!

And the extra juicy meat is fabulous for freezing and using later in soups, stews, casseroles, and more! (Read how I make the most out of a whole turkey in this post)

Although I’ve roasted many turkeys these past 9 years, Dave and I are actually hosting our first Thanksgiving party this year… and you can bet I’ll be using this tip to assure our turkey meat is fall-off-the-bone delicious!

Have you ever roasted a turkey breast down?

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15 comments

  1. Tonya

    11/12/2015

    I always use oven bags! I love them for Turkey, chicken and even pot roast. I host Thanksgiving and I have never had a dry turkey.

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  2. Lauren D

    11/11/2015

    You encouraged me to thaw my turkey (on super sale from last year) and cook it up this weekend! What temperature do you cook it at? I’m cooking it breast side down too for the first time! I will report back on its deliciousness!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yay for turkey! The cooking time depends on the weight of the turkey and if you are going to stuff it or not (I never stuff mine) so just follow the instructions on the cooking bag (or on the turkey) and you should be all set!

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    Lauren D Reply:

    The turkey I made last weekend breast side down and in a bag was AMAZING!! It was the most moist white meat! It does cook faster in the bag as well. Just follow the instructions in the box and good to go! My 16lb turkey took 3 hours. Yummm! I also softened 1.5 sticks of butter and mixed into the butter some dried oregano, basil and sage. About 1 TBSP of each and rubbed the top and bottom of it while in the bag! Thanks for making our turkeys tastier, Andrea!

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    Andrea Reply:

    glad to help 🙂

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  3. Annette Robinson

    11/11/2015

    Hi Andrea. I have a question regarding your turkey-cooked-in-a-bag. Are you able to save the drippings to make the gravy from the bag?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yup, you will need to cut open the bag to get the turkey out, so all the juices just run into the pan and are ready to go to make gravy.

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  4. Katie P.

    11/11/2015

    Yes! I don’t make a lot of turkeys but I make whole chickens all throughout the year and always roast breast side down! Much better white meat this way — I totally agree! (Usually do mine in the crock pot).

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  5. Carrie

    11/11/2015

    Does cooking the turkey in the bag change the cooking time at all? Does it cook faster or slower? Are there any other changes to the normal cooking process by cooking it in the bag?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure, I’ve only ever used a bag so I don’t have experience roasting a turkey without one. However, the bag comes with instructions so just follow those and you should be all set!

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  6. Karynz

    11/11/2015

    Normally, I don’t used a cooking bag, but I do roast my turkey “Breast Down”. If it is a smaller turkey (12-14lbs), I turn it over to “Breast Up” about halfway through the cooking process and it browns the skin nicely for presentation or some crunchy “Skin Snacking”.

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    Julie Reply:

    I do the same thing, both with turkeys and with whole chickens. Works wonderfully!

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  7. Sandra

    11/11/2015

    My grandparents always made turkeys this way, too! Delicious!

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  8. Jen T

    11/11/2015

    I’ve never roasted a turkey, period. We go out each year, thankfully, b/c I hate turkey and can order filet mignon 🙂

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  9. JoAnn C.

    11/11/2015

    I’ve been doing this for years. In fact lately, over the last five years, I cook my turkey breast side down in the slow cooker/crock pot. The oven bags as well as the slow cooker bags keep mess to a minimum and help keep the bird juicy.

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