Fried Turkey Breasts

Get crunchy, juicy turkey without the hassle of frying a whole bird.

Fried Turkey Breasts
Makes 8 to 10 Servings
  • 1 quart water
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart ice water
  • 6 pounds bone-in skin-on turkey breast halves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk
  • Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: fresh thyme leaves, flaked sea salt
Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon satsuma zest
  • ¼ cup fresh satsuma juice
  • 1 (12-ounce bag) fresh or thawed frozen whole cranberries
  • 4 teaspoons Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine 1 quart water, ½ cup salt, garlic cloves, thyme, paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until salt and sugar are dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 quart ice water; let cool completely.
  2. Place turkey breasts in a large nonreactive container. Pour brine mixture over turkey; place a sheet of plastic wrap on surface to keep turkey submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Let turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour. In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, pour oil to halfway full, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325°.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  5. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and remaining 3 tablespoons salt. In another large bowl, place buttermilk.
  6. Working in batches, remove turkey from brine mixture, letting excess drip off. Dip each piece in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip turkey in buttermilk; dip in flour mixture again, shaking off excess.
  7. Fry turkey in batches, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer, check internal temperature of each piece. Place larger pieces that register less than 165° on prepared pan.
  8. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on size of turkey breast). Serve with Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce. Garnish with thyme and sea salt, if desired.
Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce
  1. In a small cast-iron Dutch oven, combine granulated sugar, ½ cup water, brown sugar, and satsuma juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cranberries; return mixture to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and mixture is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in mustard, thyme, satsuma zest, and pepper. Let cool completely before serving.
Note: Remove bone from turkey breast before slicing.

Kitchen Tip: Don’t fret if your turkey breast is a bit pink post-frying. Brining can give meat a pink hue even when cooked all the way through.