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!
Table of contents
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
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Dutch Oven Turkey Breast
- 2.2 lbs turkey breast 1 kg, boneless, skinless
- ½ teaspoon curry powder See note 1
- 1/8 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.