Stop Buying Sliced Turkey Breast: DIY Turkey

October 27, 2014   20 Comments

My last visit to the supermarket revealed that the big bird is back in town.

DIY Sliced Turkey Breast

My husband, a native of Australia, loves turkey. He never had it growing up and now he can’t get enough. He thinks Thanksgiving is the best American holiday and has roasted our turkey for years now.

I take a more practical approach because I love turkey sandwiches. You can save a lot of money by roasting your turkey breast and slicing it for sandwiches yourself. Not only is it less expensive but it tastes much better.

Which would you choose? Molded, salted, turkey breast stored I a refrigerated case for ???? or freshly roasted bird. Give me the bird please!

This takes some planning and some work but the results are worth it. Why?

  1. You get many meals out of an eight pound turkey breast.
  2. The sodium in your home-cooked version will be much less than a deli brand. Some brands have as much as 1151 grams of sodium for four ounces.
  3. Turkey breast can be frozen (and it still tastes great).

Also the nutritional facts on four ounces of turkey breast (with skin removed) are excellent:

118 calories, 1.8 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 4.7 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 20.0 g protein, 0.6 g fiber, 55 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Low in fat, lots of protein, and it tastes good!

Once you get the hang of roasting turkey breast yourself, you will wonder why you didn’t do it before. My problem is that they only sell turkey breasts for about half the year so I have to remember to buy a few in season and freeze them (but I forget).

Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

Makes approximately 7 pounds of lunch meat

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1-8 pound frozen turkey breast - bone in
2 tablespoons softened butter
salt and pepper


Thaw the turkey breast in the refrigerator. It may take two days to thaw completely.

Heat oven to 325 F.

Take the turkey out of its packaging and rinse it and dry with paper towers. Place breast in a casserole dish or roasting pan and rub with butter. Salt and pepper liberally.

Roast in oven for 1.5 – 2.5 hours. Check with a meat thermometer for when the breast meat reaches 160 F. You should check often so it doesn't over cook (dry turkey is bad news). Take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. It will reach 170 F on its own.

Slice the turkey using serrated knife, moving back and forth fairly quickly to ensure a nice slice. At this point you can slice the entire turkey and package the meat in freezer bags for future lunches.

Nutrition Facts

Four ounces (without skin) is 118 calories, 1.8 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 4.7 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 20.0 g protein, 0.6 g fiber, 55 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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DO you buy a boneless turkey breast or bone-in? -

Do you have any ideas for cooking a turkey breast in the crock pot?

To clarify are you freezing the cooked, sliced turkey breast meat? And if yes, that tastes good defrosted in sandwiches ?

@Janey - THANK YOU! I will fix the recipe to reflect that I meant bone-in turkey breast.

@Jenny - Not yet, but now I will get on it because that seems like a great idea.

@Mary - yes, I am freezing cooked, sliced turkey breast and (after it is thawed) it does taste good. Don't leave it in the freezer for longer than 3 months.

Thanks for your questions!

Love turkey - an alternative to roasting a breast is Boars Head No-Salt turkey breast - I have it cut a bit thicker (#2 on my deli's slicer - tastes like fresh turkey). The nutritional value from Boars Head is :

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size Serv Size 2 oz (56g)
Serving Per Container Varied
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70 Calories fom Fat 10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 55mg 2%
Potassium 190mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 2%

Better yet, try cooking it in the crock pot. I place the bird, breast side down, in the crock. Fill the cavity with celery, onion, salt and pepper. Low for about 5 hours. Don't add any liquid, it makes it's own that I save for soup.

Just curious, why bone-in? Is it better in some way? I always buy the boneless turkey breast roast and cook it in the crock pot.

Has anyone ever tried roasting turkey or chicken in a brown paper bag? It is amazing! The bird browns and stays tender and juicy.. and no, the bag does not catch fire in the oven. If you try this method I don't think you'll ever go back. Easy clean up too!

I chose bone-in because I didn't see boneless. I will go back and see if I can find boneless turkey breast. Thanks for the suggestion!

There's no way my family would eat this much turkey in a reasonable amount of time. How do you store it, if it can't be eaten in a week?

@Jill - I slice it and wrap it in tinfoil and then a freezer bag in one pound servings. Then I am ready to go the next time we want turkey. Thanks for the question!

or, even better, buy a whole, fully cooked turkey breast at Costco for $3.99/lb and slice it yourself. I slice a full one, put enough slices in a sandwich bags for a few of sandwiches and then put all the baggies into a large freezer bag and stick the whole thing in the freezer. You can then take one small baggie out as needed. MUCH cheaper than lunch meat.....and healthier too.

Does the frozen bone-in turkey breast have the skin and if so do you cook with or without the skin?

I buy several before Thanksgiving and cook them in the Reynolds oven bags. A 20 pounder cooks in 3 1/2 hours. I then freeze them in small bags and the drippings too. Then I freeze some not cooked and cook them during the year as the ones I already have cooked are eaten. You can't beat the taste or the price if you get them before Thanksgiving. We eat sandwiches all year and soups all winter.

Does it have the skin on it? Or skinless??

@Kathryn - I roast it with the skin on and then I take it off. It keeps the juices sealed in so the turkey remains moist.

Thanks for the question!

A few years back roasting a turkey in a brown paper bag was very popular. My question is: How do you know whether you are getting a bag that is not made of recycled paper?

I don't think it matters whether the bag is recycled or not? Do you?

Evidently it does. When this was the thing to do, they specified bags that were not recycled. Recycled bags must have impurities that shouldn't be used when preparing food.

My turkey was cold so it was pretty messy covering it in the butter. I even softened my butter in the microwave to make it spread more easily. do you think it would work to brush a heavy coat of olive oil over the turkey instead?

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