How to Butterfly and Stuff a Turkey Breast—a Delicious Alternative to Roasting a Whole Bird

This preparation ensures your turkey breast is moist and there's stuffing in every bite.

If you're having a smaller Thanksgiving this year, you may be thinking about scaling back on the turkey. There are alternatives to a big bird, and one of the best is a turkey breast. Preparing a stuffed turkey breast makes a delicious and elegant centerpiece to a Thanksgiving dinner.

The Benefits of Butterflying and Stuffing

When you butterfly and stuff a turkey breast you are transforming an otherwise plain and mild white meat into a burnished roulade with bits of aromatic stuffing in every bite, essentially making it dry-proof. Not only that, a stuffed roasted turkey breast can be prepped ahead of time and it cooks in a fraction of the time a whole bird would take, leaving you plenty of time and room in the oven to bake up your favorite side dishes.

What's the catch? There's a little bit of technique involved when it comes to butterflying the turkey breast, which is a term used for turning a thick piece of meat into a thinner cut. This is done so the turkey breast will cook evenly, so it's well worth the extra step!

How to Butterfly and Stuff a Turkey Breast

Turkey breast steaks on a chopping Board. fresh poultry meat.

To get started, you'll need a sturdy cutting board and a sharp chef's knife, then follow our step-by-step guide.

1. Remove the Skin

Place turkey breast skin-side-up on a large cutting board. Starting at the tapered bottom, slide your fingers underneath the skin and slowly peel the skin away from the flesh. Set the skin aside for later.

2. Butterfly the Breast

Think of the turkey breast like a closed book that you need to open at about the halfway point. Turn the breast over so the smooth side is facing down. Holding the knife parallel to the cutting board, slice into the thickest portion of the breast, keeping the knife about 1/2 inch above the cutting board. Cut along the length of the breast and stop at about 1/2 inch from the edge so you don't cut all the way through. Open it up like a book.

3. Even it Out

With your knife or kitchen shears, remove any tough pieces of cartilage and discard. Then, cover the turkey breast with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet until the breast is an even 1/2 inch thick throughout.

4. Roll it Up

Remove and discard the plastic wrap and spread the filling evenly over the turkey, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting with a short end, roll turkey breast into a tight log to completely enclose stuffing. Take the reserved piece of skin and fit it over the seam of the turkey log.

5. Tie it Up

Use butcher's twine to secure the log so it doesn't unravel when cooking: tie the breast at 1-inch intervals, then tuck ends of the turkey in and loop a piece of twine around the ends to keep the stuffing inside.

Stuffed Turkey Breast Recipes

The five steps above cover the basics of butterflying and stuffing a turkey breast, but each recipe has its own unique instructions for you to follow—and a delicious stuffing to roll the meat around.

slices of rolled turkey breast with sausage-pecan stuffing

Rolled Turkey Breast with Sausage-Pecan Stuffing

A true crowd-pleaser with a classic stuffing combination, this rolled and stuffed turkey breast looks gorgeous when sliced up and presented on a platter.


Tuscan-Roast Turkey Breast

For an Italian-inspired turkey breast, try this recipe. It's stuffed with bold aromatics like rosemary, orange zest, fennel seed, and a little pancetta for a boost of savory flavor.

Bryan Gardner

Roasted Rolled Turkey Breast

For a more traditional roulade that will go with all of your favorite side dishes, this entrée fits the bill. The recipe includes how to make an irresistible citrus-scented gravy from the drippings.

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