How to Grill a Turkey Breast: Easy Steps for Juicy Results

Discover the delicious art of grilling a turkey breast with our easy-to-follow guide that will leave you mastering this flavorful skill in no time.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a deliciously grilled turkey breast? Grilling a turkey breast may seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique and some helpful tips, it can be an easy and mouth-watering addition to your holiday feast. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of grilling a turkey breast from start to finish, ensuring that your guests will be impressed by both your culinary skills and your boldness in trying something new.

So grab your apron and let’s get grilling!

Selecting the Turkey Breast

how to grill a turkey breast easy steps for juicy results

When it comes to grilling a turkey breast, selecting the right cut of meat is crucial. You want to choose a boneless and skinless turkey breast that weighs between 2-4 pounds.

This size will ensure that the meat cooks evenly on the grill without drying out or becoming tough.

If you’re unsure about which type of turkey breast to purchase, consider going for an organic or free-range option as they tend to have better flavor and texture than their conventionally raised counterparts.

Preparing the Grill

First, clean the grill grates with a wire brush and remove any debris or leftover food from previous use. Then, oil the grates by brushing them with vegetable oil using a paper towel or silicone brush.

Next, decide whether you want to use direct heat or indirect heat for cooking your turkey breast. Direct heat means that you will be placing the meat directly over an open flame while indirect heat involves heating one side of the grill and placing meat on another side without direct exposure to flames.

If using charcoal as fuel source for your grill then light up enough briquettes in a chimney starter until they are covered in white ash before spreading them evenly across one half of grate surface area leaving other half empty (for indirect cooking). If using gas-powered barbecue then preheat all burners on high setting until temperature reaches 400°F-450°F (204°C-232°C) before reducing it down medium-low level when ready to cook.

Brining the Turkey Breast

Brining is a process of soaking meat in a saltwater solution that helps to tenderize and flavor the meat. It also helps to keep the turkey moist during cooking.

To make a basic brine for your turkey breast, combine 1 cup of kosher salt with 1 gallon of water in a large pot or container. You can also add other seasonings such as herbs, spices, sugar or citrus fruits for additional flavor.

Place the turkey breast into the brine solution making sure that it is fully submerged and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Once you’re ready to grill your bird remove from its bath and rinse thoroughly under cold running water before patting dry with paper towels.

Choosing a Rub or Marinade

A good rub can add flavor and texture to your grilled turkey breast, while a marinade can help tenderize the meat and infuse it with delicious flavors.

When choosing a rub or marinade for your grilled turkey breast, consider what flavors will complement the natural taste of the meat. For example, if you prefer bold flavors, try using spices like cumin or smoked paprika in your dry rub.

If you want something sweeter, consider adding brown sugar to balance out any savory notes.

If using a marinade instead of (or in addition to) dry seasoning is more up your alley then be sure not overdo it as too much acid from citrus juices may break down proteins causing them become mushy rather than tenderizing them properly.

Applying the Rub or Marinade

Applying a rub or marinade is an essential step in grilling a turkey breast that will leave your taste buds wanting more. A rub is typically made up of dry ingredients such as herbs, spices, salt, and sugar that are mixed together and then rubbed onto the meat before cooking.

On the other hand, a marinade consists of wet ingredients like oil or vinegar along with seasonings which are used to soak the meat for several hours before grilling.

When choosing between these two options for adding flavor to your grilled turkey breast recipe consider what type of flavors you want to achieve; do you prefer sweet or savory? Do you want something spicy? Or maybe something tangy?

Preheating the Grill

Preheating ensures that the grill is hot enough to cook the turkey breast evenly and thoroughly. To preheat your grill, turn all burners on high and close the lid for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches a temperature of around 400°F (204°C).

This will also help clean any remaining debris from previous grilling sessions.

Once you’ve reached this temperature, reduce heat to medium-low or low depending on how thick is your turkey breast cut. If using charcoal or wood-fired grills wait until coals are covered with white ash before placing meat over them.

By properly preheating your grill, you’ll be able to achieve those beautiful sear marks while ensuring that every inch of meat cooks perfectly without drying out or becoming tough.

Grilling Techniques

One of the most crucial aspects of grilling a turkey breast is ensuring that it cooks evenly throughout. To achieve this, use indirect heat by placing the turkey on one side of the grill while keeping the other side empty or with low heat.

This will allow for even cooking without burning or drying out any parts.

Another technique is basting your turkey breast with oil or butter every 20-30 minutes during cooking time to keep it moist and flavorful. You can also add wood chips such as hickory, applewood, mesquite or cherry into a smoker box for an extra smoky flavor.

It’s essential not to flip your meat too often; flipping once halfway through should suffice unless otherwise specified in recipe instructions.

How Long to Grill Turkey Breast

The cooking time will depend on a few factors such as the size of your turkey breast and the temperature of your grill. As a general rule, plan for about 15-20 minutes per pound of meat at around 350°F (175°C).

To ensure that you’re grilling your turkey breast to perfection, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone or fat. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (75°C) before removing from heat.

Remember that every grill is different and may require some adjustments in cooking times based on its heating capacity or other variables like weather conditions.

Testing for Doneness

Undercooked poultry can be dangerous to consume, so testing for doneness is a crucial step in the grilling process. The best way to check if your turkey breast is fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer.

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching any bones and wait for an accurate reading.

The USDA recommends cooking poultry until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Once your turkey breast has reached this temperature, remove it from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving into slices.

If you do not have a meat thermometer on hand or are unsure about its accuracy, there are other ways to test if your turkey breast has been properly cooked. One method involves piercing the thickest part of the meat with a fork or knife; if clear juices run out instead of pinkish ones then chances are high that they’re done! Another technique involves cutting into one slice near its center – when cut open should reveal no signs whatsoever indicating rawness such as blood spots etc., but rather appear uniformly browned throughout which indicates proper cooking time was achieved during grilling process.

Resting the Turkey Breast

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful final product.

To rest your grilled turkey breast, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board or platter. Tent loosely with foil or another heat-proof cover and allow it to sit for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.

During this time, you can prepare any sides or garnishes that will accompany your dish. Once rested, carve into thin slices against the grain of the meat for maximum tenderness.

Carving the Turkey Breast

Begin by removing any twine or netting that was used during cooking. Then, using a sharp carving knife, slice the turkey breast against the grain into thin pieces.

Be sure to cut all the way through each piece so that they are easy for your guests to eat.

If you’re unsure of where to start carving, look for natural seams in the meat and use those as guides. You can also remove one side of the breast at a time if you prefer.

Arrange your slices on a platter or individual plates and garnish with fresh herbs or citrus wedges for added flavor and presentation.

Serving Suggestions

There are many ways you can present this delicious dish, depending on your personal preferences and the occasion. One classic option is simply slicing the turkey breast and serving it alongside traditional Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

For a lighter meal or summer barbecue vibe, try slicing the turkey thinly for sandwiches or wraps with fresh veggies like lettuce and tomato.

Another great way to enjoy grilled turkey breast is by incorporating it into salads or grain bowls for a healthy yet satisfying meal. You could also chop up leftover grilled turkey breast into small pieces for use in tacos or quesadillas – perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.

Storing Leftovers

To ensure that they stay fresh and safe to eat, it’s important to store them properly. First, let the turkey cool down for about 20 minutes before storing it in an airtight container or plastic wrap.

You can keep the leftover turkey in the fridge for up to four days or freeze it for up to three months.

When reheating your leftover grilled turkey breast, make sure that its internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C) before consuming it again. You can reheat by using a microwave oven or placing slices of meat on a baking sheet and heating them in an oven preheated at 350°F (175°C) until warm.

Turkey Breast Grilling Tips

1. Use indirect heat: Turkey breasts are large and thick pieces of meat that require slow cooking over low heat to ensure they cook evenly without burning on the outside.

2. Keep it moist: To keep your turkey breast from drying out while grilling, consider brining it beforehand or basting it with butter or oil during cooking.

3. Don’t flip too often: Flipping your turkey breast too often can cause it to lose its juices and dry out quickly; aim for only one or two flips during the entire grilling process.

4. Let it rest before carving: After removing your grilled turkey breast from the grill, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving into slices; this will allow all of those delicious juices to redistribute throughout the meat instead of spilling onto your cutting board.

Grilled Turkey Breast Ingredients

First and foremost, you’ll need a boneless turkey breast that weighs around 2-3 pounds. Make sure it is fresh and not frozen for best results.

Next up are your seasonings – choose from a variety of rubs or marinades to add flavor to your turkey breast. You can opt for classic herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage or try something more adventurous like citrus-based marinades.

You will also need some olive oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking on the grill grates as well as salt and pepper for seasoning.

Instructions for Grilled Turkey Breast

  1. Select a boneless turkey breast that is about 2-3 pounds in weight.
  2. Brine the turkey breast overnight to ensure it stays moist and flavorful during grilling.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F).
  5. Apply a rub or marinade of your choice onto both sides of the turkey breast.
  6. Place the seasoned turkey on an oiled grill grate over indirect heat (not directly above flames) with skin side up first if there’s any skin left on it
  7. Cover and cook until internal temperature reaches around 165°F which should take approximately one hour depending on thickness
  8. Remove from grill when done cooking; let rest covered loosely with foil tented over top so juices redistribute throughout meat before carving.

Citrus-Herb Grilled Turkey Breast

This recipe combines the tangy flavors of citrus with aromatic herbs, creating a mouth-watering taste that will leave your guests wanting more.

To make this dish, start by selecting a fresh turkey breast and brining it overnight in a mixture of water, salt, sugar, orange juice and lemon slices. The next day you can prepare the grill by preheating it to medium-high heat while you pat dry the turkey breast.

For added flavor use an herb rub made from rosemary leaves chopped finely along with garlic powder or minced garlic cloves mixed together with olive oil. Apply generously all over both sides of the turkey breast before placing on the grill grates.

Grill for about 20-25 minutes per side until golden brown on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F when tested at thickest part using an instant-read thermometer inserted into meat without touching bone. Once done remove from heat source and let rest for about 10 minutes before carving into thin slices across grain direction so as not to lose any juices inside meat fibers which would result in dryness instead of moist tenderness we want here!

Grilled Turkey Breast Brine

A brine is essentially a saltwater solution that helps to tenderize and add moisture to the meat, resulting in a juicy and flavorful turkey breast. To make your own brine, start by combining water with kosher salt, sugar, herbs or spices of your choice (such as rosemary or thyme), garlic cloves and peppercorns.

Bring this mixture to a boil until all ingredients are dissolved before allowing it to cool completely.

Once cooled down, place the turkey breast into the brine solution making sure it’s fully submerged for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight for maximum flavor infusion. After removing from the brine rinse off any excess liquid then pat dry with paper towels before applying rubs or marinades.

Notes for Grilled Turkey Breast

First and foremost, make sure that the turkey breast is fully thawed before cooking. This can take several days in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly.

Be mindful of the temperature of your grill throughout the cooking process. You want to maintain a consistent heat level to ensure even cooking and prevent burning.

Don’t forget about safety! Always use clean utensils when handling raw meat and wash your hands frequently throughout preparation.

Did You Make This Recipe?

We always appreciate feedback from our readers and welcome any tips or tricks that you may have discovered along the way. Don’t forget to snap a photo of your perfectly grilled turkey breast and tag us on social media using #grilledturkeybreast for a chance to be featured on our page! Happy grilling!


How long do you grill a turkey breast?

Grill a turkey breast for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

How to cook a whole turkey breast on the grill?

To cook a whole turkey breast on the grill, brush the skin with melted butter, place it skin side up over a foil pan using indirect medium heat, close the lid, and grill for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF in the thickest part (not touching the bone).

How to grill a 2 lb turkey breast?

To grill a 2 lb turkey breast, place it on the center of grill grates, close the grill, and cook for about 28-30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F at its thickest part and the juices run clear.

Do you grill a turkey breast up or breast down?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should cook a whole turkey breast side up during the entire cooking time to prevent tearing the skin and ensure an attractive finished product.

What are the best marinades or dry rubs for grilling a turkey breast?

Some of the best marinades and dry rubs for grilling a turkey breast include citrus-herb, garlic-rosemary, tandoori, and classic BBQ blends.

How do you maintain the right temperature while grilling a turkey breast outdoors?

To maintain the right temperature while grilling a turkey breast outdoors, frequently monitor and adjust the grill’s heat to ensure it stays within the recommended range for turkey (usually 325°F to 350°F).

Are there any side dishes that pair particularly well with grilled turkey breast?

Some popular side dishes that pair well with grilled turkey breast include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and garden salads.