Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Shari Mason
Cooking a Jennie-O turkey breast reminds me of my first solo Thanksgiving feast. The beauty of this turkey breast is its simplicity.
Even as a rookie in the kitchen, I managed to serve up a juicy, golden centerpiece that had everyone asking for seconds. If I can do it, so can you!
Here’s a straightforward guide on how to cook Jennie-O turkey breast.
Simple Guide On Cooking Jennie-O Turkey Breast
- 1 Jennie-O Turkey Breast (frozen or thawed)
- Olive oil or melted butter (optional)
- Seasonings of your choice (salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, etc.)
- If your turkey breast is frozen, you’ll want to thaw it first. Place the frozen turkey breast in the refrigerator for approximately 1-2 days or until fully thawed. Alternatively, you can use the cold water thawing method by submerging the turkey breast in cold water (keep it in its original packaging) and changing the water every 30 minutes. This will take approximately 4-6 hours for a turkey breast.
- Preheat Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
- Remove any packaging from the turkey breast. Some Jennie-O turkey breasts come pre-seasoned, so check the packaging to see if additional seasoning is needed.
- If you wish to add more flavor, rub the turkey breast with olive oil or melted butter. This will help to give the skin a golden brown finish.
- Season the turkey breast with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs or spices.
- Place the turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- Roast in the preheated oven. As a general guide, for a thawed turkey breast, cook for 2-2.5 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F (74°C). If you’re cooking from frozen, you may need to add additional cooking time.
- Basting (Optional):
- If you want a more flavorful and moist result, consider basting the turkey breast every 30 minutes with its juices or a mixture of melted butter and broth.
- Once cooked, remove the turkey breast from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. Resting helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, which makes it more tender and juicy when you slice it.
- Slicing and Serving:
- Use a sharp knife to slice the turkey breast against the grain. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
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What’s The Best Way To Thaw It?
The best way to thaw a Jennie-O turkey breast  is to plan and use the refrigerator method.
Place the frozen turkey breast in its original packaging on a tray to catch any potential drips and let it thaw in the fridge.
“What a marvelous resource soup is for the thrifty cook – it solves the ham-bone and lamb-bone problems, the everlasting Thanksgiving turkey, the extra vegetables.”-Julia Child, Chef
It’s a slow but safe process that allows the turkey to thaw gradually, ensuring it stays at a safe temperature throughout. Allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey breast.
If you’re in a hurry, you can use the cold water method by sealing the turkey in a leak-proof bag and submerging it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes.
This method takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature to avoid food safety risks.
How Do I Season & Prepare The Turkey Breast?
Seasoning and preparing a Jennie-O turkey breast is a delightful culinary adventure. Start by patting the turkey dry with paper towels to ensure a crispier skin.
Then, season generously with your choice of herbs, spices, and aromatics.
Classic options include garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Rub the turkey breast with olive oil or melted butter for added flavor. A light drizzle of maple syrup or honey can work wonders if you prefer a sweet note.
Remember to stuff the cavity with aromatic ingredients like onions, lemons, or fresh herbs to infuse the turkey with extra flavor.
Once seasoned, let it rest for a while to allow the flavors to meld before roasting or grilling.
What’s The Ideal Cooking Temperature & Time?
The ideal cooking temperature and time for a Jennie-O turkey breast depend on the cooking method. When roasting in the oven, preheat to 325°F (163°C) and place the seasoned turkey breast in a roasting pan.
For a bone-in turkey breast, roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound, while a boneless breast may require a shorter cooking time, about 15 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safety.
When grilling, preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F or 190°C) and grill the turkey breast for about 15-20 minutes per side, again checking the internal temperature to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked.
Cooking times may vary slightly based on your specific oven or grill, so it’s always a good idea to use a thermometer to guarantee doneness.
Should I Use A Roasting Pan Or Oven Bag?
Whether to use a roasting pan or an oven bag for cooking a Jennie-O turkey breast depends on your preference and desired results.
A roasting pan is a classic choice and allows for browning and caramelization of the skin, resulting in a more traditional roast turkey appearance. It also gives you the option to collect drippings for gravy.
On the other hand, an oven bag can be a convenient choice, as it helps seal in moisture, making the turkey breast juicy and tender. It can also simplify cleanup since the bag contains any drips or splatters.
“Cooking a Jennie-O turkey breast is like crafting a masterpiece in your kitchen. With a few simple steps and some love, you can turn this wholesome bird into a delicious centerpiece that will have your guests asking for seconds.”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your cooking style and whether you prioritize the appearance of the turkey or the convenience of cooking and cleanup.
How Can I Ensure My Turkey Breast Stays Moist & Tender?
Ensuring that your Jennie-O turkey breast stays moist and tender involves critical techniques.
First, cook it sparingly, as this can lead to dryness. Use a meat thermometer  to monitor the internal temperature, and once it reaches 165°F (74°C), remove it from the heat source promptly.
Resting the turkey breast after cooking, tented with foil, allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, keeping it moist.
You can also consider brining the turkey breast before cooking, which involves soaking it in a saltwater solution with added aromatics for extra flavor and moisture.
Basting the turkey breast with pan juices or butter during cooking can enhance its tenderness.
Lastly, using an oven bag or roasting pan, as mentioned earlier, can help trap moisture and keep the turkey breast juicy.
Is Jennie O turkey ready to cook?
Yes, Jennie-O turkey is typically ready to cook, but it’s essential to follow proper thawing and cooking instructions based on the specific product you have.
Is a precooked turkey fully cooked?
Yes, a precooked turkey is fully cooked. It has been cooked and then chilled or frozen for convenience. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential to ensure it’s heated thoroughly before serving.
Cooking a Jennie-O turkey breast can be a delicious and convenient meal option.
To achieve a moist and flavorful result, follow these steps: thaw it properly, season and prepare it to your liking, cook it at the recommended temperature and time, and consider using a roasting pan or oven bag for added moisture.
Ensuring its tenderness is essential, so use a meat thermometer, allow it to rest, and consider brining or basting for extra flavor and juiciness. Enjoy your perfectly cooked Jennie-O turkey breast.
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