Dry Rubbed Turkey

Whether you’re celebrating Thankgiving with a smaller group, or you just want more leftovers, roasting a Dry-Rubbed Turkey Breast is a simple way to have just the right amount of turkey for sandwiches or whatever else.

Dry Rubbed Turkey

With nearly 3 weeks since Thanksgiving, I’ve had plenty of time to recover from the feast and settle into the unavoidable overeating for the remainder of the year.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday meal.

From sides to dessert and everything in between, it’s a total dream of a food extravaganza.

Since everyone contributes a little something, it’s essentially the ultimate potluck.

Dry Rubbed Turkey

We celebrated the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s house. Dessert was our responsibility for the spread that involved a massive turkey of course. 

We were a hungry bunch, which was obvious from the overloaded plates in front of each person at the table. The serving platters were pretty much polished off by the end.

After a meal like that most people would have had their fill of turkey, but I always crave a leftover sandwich.

It involves turkey with lettuce and a soft, spreadable cheese like brie on crusty bread smeared with cranberries fig jam.

When you don’t host the dinner, you usually don’t end up with leftovers, if they even exist.

Dry Rubbed Turkey

Dry Rubbed Turkey: The Ingredients

To satisfy my need for a leftover sandwich, I roasted a dry rubbed turkey breast.

I realize it doesn’t exactly make sense to cook a meal and call it leftovers the first time you eat it, so excuse my wording!

I do marinades on occasion. Spice mixes are so much easier.

You don’t have to season the meat, poultry or whatever hours in advance to get amazing flavor. And those spices don’t slide off during cooking like a liquid marinade can.

My go-to spice rub is a mix of rosemary, thyme, oregano, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

I sprinkle it on lots of things including vegetables.

The combination of spices on the dry-rubbed turkey gave the bird so much personality, but kept it adaptable enough to work in a sandwich or be thrown into a salad.

Now I can say my turkey fix has been satisfied for the season.

How To Make Dry Rubbed Turkey

The first step is to stir together the spice mix.

Once that is ready, I put the turkey on a rack, breast side up, in a roasting pan.

I like lining the bottom of my roasting pan with aluminum foil to help with cleanup later.

Then I rub the spice mix all over the turkey breast including some underneath the skin.

The turkey roasts in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes. After that, I turn down the temperature to 375 degrees F and continue roasting for an hour to an hour and a half.

It helps to have an instant thermometer. When the turkey is cooked, its temperature should be at 165 degrees F.

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before slicing it.

Dry Rubbed Turkey

The Best Plate Garnish For Turkey

You can’t go wrong with fresh herbs and fruit to decorate your serving platter.

Since the turkey is golden brown on the skin, I like to boost the plate with lots of color.

Some of my go-to garnishes include:

  • Fresh Herbs: sage, parsley, rosemary
  • Citrus Fruit: oranges (especially blood oranges), grapefruit, lemons
  • Fall Fruit: pomegranate (quartered), persimmons
  • Hearty Greens: kale, swiss chard, beet greens

Dry Rubbed Turkey

Dry Rubbed Turkey
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1-1/2 – 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2-1/2 – 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 68 1x


1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

For turkey
1 8-pound bone-in turkey breast


In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, thyme, oregano, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Place the turkey breast skin side up on a rack inside a roasting pan. Rub the spice mixture on the entire turkey breast including underneath the skin. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue roasting for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast is 165 degrees F. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!



  1. Pingback: Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Round Up | Food Done Light
  2. Pingback: Brisket Tacos
  3. Pingback: Butternut Squash Cauliflower Quinoa | Last Ingredient