Does Turkey Breast Cook Faster Than Chicken? (You Might Be Suprised)

Wondering if turkey breasts cook faster than chicken?

Although roasting a turkey is as easy as cooking chicken, it can get tricky due to its sheer size, bulk, and unfamiliarity.

Read on to find out how the time process of roasting your turkey breast varies the next time you are substituting it for chicken in your recipes.

Does Turkey Breast Cook Faster Than Chicken?

Turkey breast does take a little longer to cook than a chicken because it is bigger.

Furthermore, it is important to be careful with the breast meat and make sure it doesn’t overcook, as the breast and legs are a mismatch in size in a turkey compared to a chicken.

Note: if your cooking multiple turkey breasts at once, you may experience a stall.

Difference In Cooking Turkey Breast And Chicken

On average turkeys are larger than chickens.

This means you will need a bigger pan and more seasoning. Due to its size, you will also have to brine the bird and cook it for a little longer.

Other than that, the technique used to cook or smoke turkey breasts is the same as when roasting chicken.

Can You Use Turkey Breast Instead Of Chicken?

Boneless turkey breast can easily be substituted for chicken breast in most recipes due to its healthy and protein-packed qualities.

You just have to make sure to cut back the cooking time of the meat.

Does Turkey Breast Cook Faster Than The Thighs And Legs?

Turkey breast does cook faster than the leg or thigh meat.

Hence, the main goal of preparing a turkey is to minimize the cooking of the breast to prevent it from overcooking while roasting the dark meat thoroughly so that it can get tender and have crispier skin.

Keeping The Turkey Breast Moist

You can keep the turkey breast moist by preheating your oven to 400°F and raising the oven temperature when the turkey first goes into it.

This will also help seal the juices in while the thigh and dark meat come up to temperature which may prevent the turkey breast from overcooking and going dry.

You can also baste the top of the breast periodically throughout the cooking process to keep the white meat juicy.

How To Prep Turkey Breast

Although boneless turkey breast is the best substitute for chicken, you may choose to keep the skin on and breast bone in for maximum flavor and moisture.

Leaving the skin will hold in moisture and cooking meat on the bone can prevent the poultry from drying out.

You may also add softened butter under the skin for flavor. Press and pat the butter onto the top of the skin as well. The butter will melt into the meat and help brown the skin as the turkey cooks. If you are cooking for a crowd remember you need to allocate around 1¼ lbs of raw turkey breast per person.

Cooking Turkey Breast

Season your turkey breast with salt and freshly ground pepper. You may choose to squeeze fresh lemon and scatter fresh herbs on it for a more succulent flavor.

Next, roast the turkey until the internal temperature is 155°F as measured by a meat thermometer.

Lastly, let the turkey rest at room temperature for 20 minutes while covering it in aluminum foil. The meat will cook as it rests and the juices from the turkey will reabsorb back into the meat.

Time Taken To Cook Turkey Breast

The larger your turkey breast, the longer it will take to cook.

When roasted at 400°F, turkey breast with the bone in requires approximately 25 minutes of cooking time per pound.

However, if you are cooking split, boneless turkey breasts at 400°F, it takes about an estimation of 12 minutes of cooking time per pound.

The breasts are at a safe temperature when they reach an internal temperature of 150°-155°F when tested with a meat thermometer.

Using A Slow Cooker

Since a slow cooker operates at a lower temperature compared to an oven, it will take much longer for the turkey breast to reach your desired internal temperature of 155°F.

Remember to thaw and unwrap your turkey breast before placing it in the slow cooker. You should also discard the skin as you cannot achieve crispy skin in a slow cooker.

Next, add seasonings and fresh herbs that will simmer with the turkey breast all day, creating a flavourful final product. Cover everything with chicken broth or water to prevent the turkey from drying out.

Lastly, set the power level on your slow cooker. Setting it to low heat will take five to eight hours to cook while high heat will take much less.

Should You Cover Turkey Breast In Foil?

Covering turkey breasts in foil is recommended as it will yield moister results than roasting them without foil.

Covering the turkey breast can also help to even out the cooking time.


Bottom Line

Turkey breast can be a great option when looking to substitute chicken breast in your favorite recipes.

Turkey breast does cook slower than chicken. Hence, you need to be sure to increase the cooking time slightly compared to when you cook chicken due to the turkey’s larger size.

Furthermore, be sure to follow the above steps to prevent the breast from overcooking and drying out to get the most succulent, juicy, and crispy turkey meat.

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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