This Dutch oven turkey breast recipe makes the most delicious Thanksgiving meal for a smaller gathering. The breast is cooked with apples in it is served in a creamy sauce,
If cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is too much for you, here is an easy and incredibly flavorful alternative: cook a Dutch oven turkey breast on the stove; this easy recipe is perfect for the holiday feast and makes an amazing main dish for a Sunday dinner, actually.
But if you would still like a whole bird, have a look at this Dutch Oven Turkey recipe; it is dead easy and incredibly delicious!
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Why should you use a Dutch oven for this recipe?
- Ready in about 1 hour, juicy turkey breast meat that's full of flavor. This allows more time to spend on side dishes, appetizers, or some really great desserts.
- Sauce included. No need for extra stuffing or for making a sauce from scratch using the turkey giblets or similar. Just the moist turkey breast, some white wine, onions and apples, and a little bit of cream at the end.
- Cheaper: It is much cheaper to buy one part of a bird than an entire turkey. The rest of the ingredients are very cheap as well.
- Healthier: Super lean, white meat, and has no skin.
Why not try the healthier green bean casserole, these puff pastry pesto nibbles, or these cheese crackers? The oven will be empty anyway, so you can use it for baking side dishes or appetizers. And for dessert, a double chocolate cheesecake or a lemon meringue pie?
- Turkey: You will need boneless, skinless turkey breast of about 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs.
- Apples: I used two sorts of apples: Granny Smith and Jonagold. After trying both, I recommend Granny Smith because they hold their shape much better.
- Wine: Semi-sweet white wine. If using dry wine, you will have to adjust the taste of the sauce with a pinch of sugar, if necessary. If you don't want to use wine, you can substitute it with low-sodium chicken stock or turkey broth; but I must say that wine yields the best results in terms of flavor.
- Spices: Cinnamon and sugar; it might sound unusual, but it really works; you will love the flavor. You will also need fine sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Curry powder: I used a mild yellow curry powder, very flavorful but not hot at all. If using hot curry powder, adjust the amount according to taste.
- Heavy cream for the sauce and a bit of olive oil for searing the meat.
How to cook turkey breast in the Dutch oven?
This recipe is so easy and requires so little actual work you will keep coming back to it. It is not only suitable for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other festive meals but also a regular meal on a Sunday or any day of the week. It is just that easy to make.
- Season the breast: Pat dry with paper towels. Mix curry, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the meat with this mixture.
- Sear on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. If the breast is rather higher than flat, it will have more than only two sides to brown; I had to turn mine on four sides.
- Add the chopped onions and quartered apples during the last 3 minutes of the browning time.
- Add white wine and stir slightly.
- Simmer: Place the lid on the Dutch oven, turn the heat down to medium-low, and braise for 1 hour, turning 2 times in between.
- Check the internal temperature using an instant-read meat thermometer. The temperature should be 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the breast is rather flat, check after about 50 minutes of cooking time already.
- Rest: Remove from the pot, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let turkey rest while you finish the sauce. If you like a thicker sauce, you could thicken it with a little cornstarch stirred into a paste with some water. However, I don't find it necessary; I like the consistency of the sauce as it is.
- Pour the heavy cream into the pot and let bubble until slightly thickened. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- To carve a boneless turkey breast, place it on a large cutting board, and slice it across the grain with a sharp knife; the slices should be about as thick as your finger or just a tad thicker.
Variations on the recipe
Try other spices or dry rubs for poultry. The cinnamon-sugar-curry combination is amazing, but you can easily substitute it with your favorite spice mixtures.
To give your Dutch oven turkey breast a Mediterranean flavor, choose dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary instead. You could also add a few sprigs of fresh herbs to the pot and remove them before serving.
- Make sure the turkey breast is completely thawed before cooking, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
- Don't skip searing the turkey; this step enhances flavor and locks in moisture.
- The best way to ensure that the Dutch oven turkey breast is cooked through but not overcooked is by checking with a thermometer; just stick it into the thickest part of the turkey breast. However, this recipe is more forgiving than others; due to the slow cooking in the sauce, the turkey will not dry out so easily.
- Thaw safely: Thaw frozen turkey breast in the refrigerato; never thaw at room temperature.
- Avoid cross-contamination: Keep raw turkey separate from other foods, utensils, and surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Cook to safe temperature: Cook the turkey breast to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella.
- Use an instant-read thermometer (the Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab) to check the internal temperature, ensuring it's safe to eat.
- Properly store leftovers: Refrigerate or freeze leftover turkey within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
What is a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a thick, heavy cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. It can be made of seasoned cast iron, or it can be enameled. They are also called casserole dishes or cocotte.
They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. I have four of them:
- One seasoned cast iron Dutch oven (the Amazon link opens in a new tab). It is oval-shaped, and I use it for making large roasts, for instance, this slow-cooked turkey leg recipe. I bought this one at the flea market (new ones are really expensive around here), and my husband spent quite a few hours restoring it and seasoning it again.
- A smaller red oval enameled Dutch oven (the Amazon link opens in a new tab) for making smaller roasts or casseroles.
- A round Dutch oven (the Amazon link opens in a new tab), which I use mostly for soups, stews, and occasionally for baking bread.
- And a large, shallow Dutch oven (the Amazon link opens in a new tab) which I use for making chicken stews, goulash, or anything requiring a wider pot, actually.
- Generally, I prefer to use the enameled Dutch ovens, not because they are better than the seasoned ones (they are all great), but because they are easier to clean. But otherwise, whether cast iron or enamel, use whatever you have or buy whatever you like best.
No. According to USDA, washing poultry will only spread the bacteria in your sink and working surfaces. Only heat will destroy the bacteria anyway.
You can season the turkey breast one day ahead, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until ready to cook.
I prefer to remove it for this recipe; you will not miss it at all. Thanks to the cooking method, the breast will remain juicy even when cooked without the skin on.
How to store and reheat?
- Refrigerate Dutch oven turkey breast leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
- Freeze leftover turkey breast slices in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
- You can freeze the sauce, but keep in mind that the apples might not hold their shape well when you thaw it. To still enjoy the sauce, just blend the sauce after defrosting it.
- Reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave before serving. Add a splash of milk to loosen the sauce, stir the sauce, spoon it over the meat, and flip the turkey breast slices halfway through.
What to serve with it?
- Serve Dutch oven turkey breast with the sauce and the apples.
- The recipe goes very well with either rice, potatoes, or noodles, any of your favorite side dishes. And if you like, Semmelknödel or other dumplings are a great idea; they are perfect for this homemade gravy.
More turkey recipes
- Slow-Cooker Turkey Legs (with Gravy)
- Easy Turkey Chop Recipe (with Balsamic Sauce)
- Turkey with Red Wine
- Baked Turkey Wings Recipe
- Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast
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Dutch Oven Turkey Breast
- 2.5 lbs turkey breast 1.2 kg, boneless, skinless
- ½ teaspoon curry powder Note 1
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 crisp sweet-tart apples Note 2
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup semi-sweet white wine 250 ml
- 1 cup heavy cream 250 ml
- fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- Season: Pat dry the turkey breast with kitchen paper. Mix the curry, cinnamon, sugar, ¾ fine sea salt, and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Rub the turkey breast with this mixture. 2.5 lbs turkey breast/ 1.2 kg + ½ teaspoon curry powder + ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Brown: Heat a little oil in the Dutch oven and brown the turkey breast on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. If the turkey breast is rather higher than flat, it will have more than only two sides to brown.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the chopped onions and quartered apples during the last 3 minutes of the browning time. Add the white wine and stir slightly around the turkey breast.1 medium onion + 2 crisp sweet-tart apples + 1 cup semi-sweet white wine/ 250 ml
- Braise: Place the lid on and braise the turkey on medium low heat for 1 hour, turning the breast twice in between.
- Check the internal temperature after about 50 minutes if the turkey breast is relatively flat. To ensure that the turkey breast is cooked through (even a thicker one should be done after one hour), check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165°F/ 74°C.
- Rest: Remove the turkey breast from the pot, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let rest while you make the sauce.
- Make the gravy: Pour the heavy cream into the pot and let bubble until slightly thickened. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.1 cup heavy cream + fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- Spices: I used an aromatic yellow curry powder, which was not hot. If using hotter curry powder, please adjust the amount according to your taste. Alternatively, use your favorite dry rub for poultry or another spice mixture. Although, I must say again, that the combination of apples, cinnamon and a bit of curry is amazing!
- Apples: Granny Smith are a great choice; they keep their shape very well.