Curtis Stone’s Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon and Sage Brown Butter

Avoid dry turkey this holiday season with this recipe from chef Curtis Stone, which calls for soaking your bird in a lemon-and-herb-flavored brine to add moisture.

Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon and Sage Brown Butter

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Roast turkey is perfect for holiday meals. A soak in a lemon-and-herb-flavored brine is insurance against dry turkey, as the brine works itself into the meat and adds moisture.

Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon and Sage Brown Butter
(Makes 6 servings)

Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon and Sage Brown Butter
Roast Turkey Breast with Lemon and Sage Brown Butter. Photo from What’s for Dinner? by Curtis Stone. Photo © Quentin Bacon.


  • 4 cups cold water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled, plus 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh sage leaves
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 (3 ¼-pound) boneless turkey breast
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
  • 2 large celery ribs, cut into 1 ½-inch lengths
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium turkey or chicken broth

Sage Brown Butter Ingredients

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Leek and Herb Stuffing [Click here for recipe.]


  1. To brine turkey: In large bowl, combine water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, lemon zest, lemon juice, and crushed garlic cloves. Using side of heavy knife, lightly crush sage, thyme, and rosemary on cutting board, then stir them into brine. Submerge turkey breast, meaty side down, in brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 8 hours.
  2. Meawhile, make sage brown butter: In medium skillet, stir 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until it melts and turns nutty brown. Add sage, shallots, and garlic and stir for about 1 minute, or until shallots soften. Pour butter into medium bowl and let cool. Add remaining 10 tablespoons butter to brown butter and blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. To roast turkey: Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Rinse turkey under cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Place turkey on cutting board. Using your fingers, carefully make pocket between skin and breast meat. Spread about ⅓ cup of butter under skin to cover breast meat completely, then rub ⅓ cup of remaining butter all over outside of turkey breast. Tie breast crosswise in a couple of places with kitchen twine to help it hold its shape.
  4. Spread carrots, celery, onions, and garlic halves on large, rimmed sheet. Set turkey breast on top and roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of turkey reads 155°F. Transfer turkey and vegetables to platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, pour any pan juices into small saucepan. Let stand for 3 minutes, then spoon off fat that has risen to surface of juices. Set baking sheet over medium heat, then pour in broth and bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits in pan with wooden spoon. Add to skimmed juices in saucepan. Bring to simmer and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to sauceboat.
  6. In small saucepan, melt remaining sage brown butter over medium-low heat; transfer to bowl. Using large sharp knife, cut turkey crosswise into slices. Return turkey to platter and serve with stuffing, melted sage brown butter, and pan juices.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving

Calories: 688
Total fat: 34 g
Saturated fat: 20 g
Carbohydrate: 43 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 56 g
Sodium: 472 mg

Recipe from What’s for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life © 2013 Curtis Stone, published by Random House.

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