How to Keep Turkey Moist

One of the biggest Thanksgiving blunders is preparing a turkey that has dry breast meat. The legs and thighs take longer to cook than the breast. Therefore, when the legs and thighs are done the breast is most likely overcooked.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to ensure a moist and delicious breast of turkey.
Read this over to make sure you are doing all you can do for your turkey in order to keep the breast moist. We also added a few tips at the end on how to make an overcooked breast appear moist… just in case!

turkey moist

How to Keep Turkey Moist

Tips for a Moist Turkey Breast

Here are several suggestions on how to cook and keep a moist turkey breast. The list begins with cooking tips in preparing the turkey for the oven, then continues into tips for when the turkey is removed from the oven and then ends with tips on what to do if it’s too late and the breast is indeed dry.
Tip: if you follow the first few tips, you should not have to read the last few tips.

  1. Begin roasting a turkey with the breast side down and the legs facing the back of the oven. An oven is hotter toward the back, thus the legs (which take longer to cook) will cook more quickly. About halfway through the cooking time, carefully flip the bird over so that it is breast side up in order to allow for browning and crisping of the skin.

  2. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thigh at the point where it meets the breast (do this after you have flipped the bird over).
    WARNING: Make sure that the thermometer tip does not touch any bones. The reading will be false unless the thermometer is in the center of the thickest part of the meat. A temp of 165°F is a done turkey.

  3. When the turkey is removed from the oven, cover it loosely with foil to keep it warm and moist for up to an hour, while you finish preparing other things.

  4. Once carved, cover the turkey slices with a moist clean towel.

  5. Serve the turkey with very hot gravy. A gravy that’s good and hot can cover up most any flaw that may lie below.

  6. If the meat is already dry, sprinkle it with some hot chicken broth. About one tablespoon of broth should cover one average size cut turkey breast.

How to Cook Moist Turkey Breast

Additional Information

To check on the shelf life of turkey, see our turkey page.

To see how to defrost a turkey, see our how to defrost a turkey page.

For leftover turkey breakfast ideas, see our turkey leftovers post.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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