Dutch oven turkey breast braised with apples in a creamy sauce, a delicious alternative to a whole Thanksgiving turkey.
If cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving is too much for you, here is an easy and incredibly flavorful alternative: cook a Dutch oven turkey breast on the stove. 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!
Why should you cook turkey in a Dutch oven?
- Ready in about 1 hour, tender and full of flavor.
- Sauce included. No need for extra stuffing or for making a sauce from scratch using the turkey giblets or similar. Just the turkey breast, some white wine, onions and apples, and a little bit of cream at the end. That's it!
- When cooked alone, a turkey breast remains juicy.
- Cheaper: It is much cheaper to buy a turkey breast than a whole turkey. The rest of the ingredients are very cheap as well.
- Healthier: It is super lean, white meat, and has no skin. OK, I admit, there is the heavy cream, and that adds calories, but still, this dish is much lighter than a whole bird.
- Fewer leftovers
- More time for other stuff like a side dish, appetizers, or some really great desserts.
Why not try the healthier green bean casserole or the sweet potato gratin, 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?
And if you like turkey breast, check out the Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast in the Oven.
What is a Dutch oven?
But what is a dutch oven, and why should you use it for making this turkey breast?
A Dutch oven is a thick, heavy cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. They can be made of seasoned cast iron, or they can be enameled. They are also called casserole dishes or cocotte.
They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. I have four of them (Amazon affiliate links):
- One seasoned large cast iron dutch oven. 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 dutch oven for making smaller roasts or casseroles.
- A round dutch oven, which I use mostly for soups, stews, and occasionally for baking bread.
- And a large, shallow dutch oven 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.
- 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.
- Spices: Cinnamon and sugar: might sound unusual, but it really works; you will love the flavor.
- 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.
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 kitchen paper. Mix curry, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper. 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 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 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.
The best way to ensure that the meat is cooked through but not overcooked is by checking with a meat thermometer. However, this recipe is more forgiving than others; due to the slow cooking in the sauce, the turkey will not dry out so easily.
No. According to USDA, washing poultry will only spread the bacteria in your sink and working surfaces. Only heat will destroy the bacteria anyway.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave before serving. Add a splash of milk to loosen the sauce and stir.
How to serve?
- Slice and serve Dutch oven turkey breast with the sauce and the apples.
- The recipe goes very well with either rice, potatoes, or noodles. And if you are in Germany, Semmelknödel is just perfect for the sauce.
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
Do you like this recipe?Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
Dutch Oven Turkey Breast
- 2.2 lbs turkey breast 1 kg, boneless, skinless
- ½ teaspoon curry powder See note 1
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 crisp sweet-tart apples See 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 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.
- I used an aromatic yellow curry powder, which was not hot. If using hotter curry powder, please adjust the amount according to your taste.
- For instance, Granny Smith.
The star here is definitely that sauce with apples. So yummy!
tanzeela fawad says
This combination is irresistible! What a delicious idea!!.....it looks so yummy!!...and the picture is so great and presentative!.
Can i do this in the oven instead on top of the stove?
Hi Pam, I can't really say, I have only ever cooked this recipe on the stove. Merry Christmas!
Mark Sullivan says
Help / how long do I cook a 7 lb Turkey breast on a Dutch oven ???
Hi. The best thing is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
David Grote says
If my turkey breast is 6 lbs does the recipe still work? Should I triple the amount of wine and apples etc.?
Hi David. It will still work, but you will have to check the internal temperature with a thermometer to see when the turkey is cooked. I would only double the rest, triple just seems too much, the recipe has a generous amount of sauce as it is.
Dawn Marie says
Did I miss how many onions to use?
Hi Dawn. One medium. I added.
Dawn Marie says
You rock! As does this recipe. Thank you!! ♡♡♡
This was a tasty recipe, but it will not look anything like the pictures. The apples do not keep their form being cooked for that long. They became a part of the sauce. No slices.
Also, it appears that the pictures show parsley, but that is not called out in the recipe at all. I also found it surprising when going through the directions that onions is called out. An onion is not on the ingredient list. Luckily I caught that before starting and I was able to get an onion. I found myself guessing on what to get. I think a medium yellow onion worked out well.
This is a recipe that I will use again. Thank you Adina.
Thank you for the feedback, Kris, I am happy it worked for you. When it comes to apples it depends very much on the sort of apples you have. They have to be really crisp ones. I cooked this recipe with different sorts of apples over the years and I can say that the kind really matters. I find Granny Smith to be able to hold their shape. As for the parsley, I often forget to list it because is more part of the decoration than of the recipe. For taste purposes, it won't make a difference, but you will be surprised how much it makes for the eyes, for instance, see the picture with or without the parsley.
David Grote says
Just a follow up--I used the recipe to cook a 6 pound breast. Per Adina's suggestion, I doubled the wine, apples, spices, etc. It took 1 hour and 45 minutes before the temp got to 165. I suspected the apples would be sauce if they cooked that long so I put half of the apples in for the duration and the other half for the last 30 minutes only. Everyone was raving. Best turkey ever.
Hi David. I am so happy to read your comment. Thank you very much for the follow up, it is always important to me to know how a recipe works for other people as well. 🙂
What oven temp do you use to cook a turkey breast!
@Linda, Hi Linda. I've never cooked this recipe in the oven, you can try it at about 180-200 degrees Celsius/ 360-400 degrees Fahrenheit and check if the turkey breast is done with a meat thermometer.
I’d love advice on the presence of sugar in the spice list. I found it burned easily when I was searing the breast. Any tips?
Hi Julia. Turning the breast more often should help.
I am an American living in Japan and turkey is non existent here but I’m able to order a frozen turkey breast from America. We don’t have Ovens here in Japan but we do have Dutch ovens mine is a Le Cruesant French Dutch oven so I followed your recipe .
The apples all melted and didn’t hold their form but it was still a very decent meal and the fact that I could actually eat Turkey in japan was almost unbelievable..
we served it with rice ( my wife is Japanese ) And we enjoyed it very much.
I was excited to try cooking my turkey breast on the cooktop in order to free up space in the oven for all my sides. Just made this for our Thanksgiving dinner and I was blown away. I’ll only be cooking turkey in my Staub Dutch oven from now on. Note: I didn’t use the prescribed seasoning, mostly just the method. Also I did salt brine for 24 hours prior to cooking. I seasoned with sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper (not the seasoning listed in the recipe ). I used a Gala apple since that is what I had on hand and my slices were fully intact even after stirring in cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Hands down the best turkey I’ve ever had. Ever. My split fresh turkey breast was 3.5 pounds and after browning, I cooked for about an hour and 20 minutes then let rest for 15 minutes before plating. Sauce was outstanding.