Juicy Grilled Turkey Breast with Italian Marinade
Hosting a smaller group for Thanksgiving? Yes, you can make a juicy turkey breast on the grill! This grilled turkey breast recipe has an easy marinade and butter baste.
I know that preparing a whole turkey breast on the grill can be a bit intimidating! It’s definitely faster than cooking a whole bird, but can still be a stressful endeavor. And why’s that? Because turkey breast is a lean meat, and you always run the risk it drying out a little bit!
Even with this as a consideration, I think that grilling a turkey breast is one of a few delicious ways to cook this cut of meat! (It’s also darn good in the air fryer, see my Easy Air Fryer Turkey Breast).
White meat turkey is a super lean cut of meat. So, to make sure this turkey breast turned out nice and juicy, I marinated it in Italian dressing overnight. Then, I grilled it over medium heat for a bit over an hour. The cook time will vary a little depending on the size of your turkey breast!
While the turkey grills, I check on it every 20 minutes or so to make sure the grilling temperature is steady, and the turkey is progressing! I know that it’s hard not to peek more than this, but you really want to keep the grill lid closed as much as possible. Why? Well, heat escapes when you open it, and the grill will take a few minutes to come back to temperature. Think of it like an oven!
But, I make the most of each time I open the grill by also basting the turkey! Each time you check the turkey, you will baste it with a simple melted compound butter. Doing this, plus the marinade, will keep the breast meat nice and juicy.
How much Turkey Breast per Person?
Not sure how much turkey to buy? The general rule of thumb for a bone-in turkey breast is to purchased 1.25 pounds of raw turkey per person. If you are serving an ample amount of side dishes, you could possibly take this number down to 1 pound per person. I know this sounds like a lot, but remember that the leftover carcass will weigh quite a bit!
If you’re using a boneless turkey breast for this recipe, purchase about 3/4 pound of turkey per person.
I used a bone-in turkey breast for this recipe, which is the whole breast (both sides). You can also use a split turkey breast (half of the whole breast), but please know your cook time will reduce. Having a good meat thermometer on the ready is crucial!
Yes, you can absolutely use a boneless turkey breast for this recipe, If you use a boneless breast, try grilling it in an aluminum pan since they don’t hold their shape super well.
You can substitute olive oil for the butter in the basting liquid.
BBQ Turkey Breast: Baste the turkey breast with your favorite barbecue sauce for the final 5-10 minutes of grilling.
Add a few wood chunks to your charcoals for extra smokey flavor.
Looking for more delicious turkey recipes? Check out all of my turkey recipes on Blackberry Babe.
Preparing your grill:
For this recipe, you’ll need to prepare your grill for indirect grilling. This means that you need to prep an area to grill the turkey breast over indirect heat, where it will not be directly over the flames! You can do this in a few different ways.
I used a gas grill for this recipe. My grill has three burners/zones. I turned on the left and center zones to about half power, and left the right zone off. If your grill has an elevated rack, you may be able to use it instead of turning a burner off. My turkey breast was too tall and did not allow me to use the rack above the grill!
Of course, you can also use your charcoal grill! Group the coals on one side of the grill, or you can use a Vortex tool to group the charcoal, funnel the heat and create an indirect cooking area outside of the coals.
If you want to, you can “beer can” the cavity of your bone-in turkey breast for extra moisture. If you do this, I recommend filling the beer can with a mixture of light beer and/or chicken broth!
Serve this turkey breast recipe as the main dish for a smaller Thanksgiving gathering or holiday dinner! Check out this list for suggestions on the best side dishes for Thanksgiving.
Saving Turkey Leftovers:
Place leftover turkey in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This turkey recipe freezes beautifully and should stay good for up to 6 months.
I hope you and your family enjoy this grilled turkey recipe! If you tried it, leave me a note in the comments, below.
- 1 3-5 pound bone-in turkey breast, fresh or thawed
- 15 ounces zesty Italian dressing
- ½ pound butter, salted
- 1 packet Italian dressing mix
- Day Before - Marinade: Add the turkey breast to a casserole dish or large Ziploc bag. Pour the Italian dressing over the top of the turkey breast, starting in the cavity. Seal (or cover), and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for a minimum of 4 hours. You may want to flip the turkey breast halfway through.
- Day Of - Grilling: Thirty minutes before grilling, remove your turkey from the fridge to allow it to come closer to room temperature. Remove from marinade and pat the turkey skin dry with paper towels.
- Prepare the grill to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and prep a zone for indirect cooking.
- Prepare the butter baste by whisking together the melted butter and seasoning packet.
- Place turkey breast skin side down (breast down) directly on the grill grates, in the zone prepared for indirect cooking. Brush the turkey with the seasoned butter baste, including inside the cavity.
- After 20 minutes, flip the turkey over so that it is breast side up, and baste again.
- Check on the turkey every 20 minutes. Baste each time, and rotate the breast 90 degrees clockwise if the heat source is to the side of the breast. If the heat source is under the breast, you shouldn't need to rotate it.
- Continue to grill until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit using an instant read thermometer. For my 4.5 pound bone-in breast, it took about 80 minutes total.
- Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- Serve garnished with fresh herbs or whole cranberries for a pop of color!
I used a 4.5 pound bone-in turkey breast. I found that the side closest to the heat did char a bit, so I rotated the turkey breast each time I checked on it to give each side a chance to char. The skin was crispy and delicious.
If this doesn't happen for you, you may want crisp up the skin by searing your turkey breast skin side down for 1-2 minutes over direct heat before pulling it off.
Nutrition InformationYield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1203Total Fat 65gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 460mgSodium 1614mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 0gSugar 10gProtein 137g
The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.