Plate of grilled turkey breast and mashed potatoes with a fork and knife.

Why I love grilling turkey breast

  • This turkey breast makes just enough meat to serve our small family.
  • The process of brining and grilling the turkey gives it a depth of flavor that’s unbeatable.
  • Split turkey breast cooks in way less time than a traditional roasted turkey.
  • Grilling frees up oven space giving you more room for your favorite side dishes.
Grilled turkey breast on a platter sliced and ready to serve, a fork and knife resting on the platter.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make it

Overhead shot of grilled turkey breast on a platter sliced and ready to serve, with a fork and knife resting on the platter

How to make apple cider turkey brine

Make the apple cider brine. In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring the apple cider, molasses and soy sauce to a simmer. Add the salt, garlic, shallots and herbs. Continue cooking until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add the remaining water.

Brine the turkey breast. Allow the brine to cool completely before adding the turkey breast. When it’s ready, submerge the turkey completely in the brine and cover. I like to brine mine in a large stockpot, but you can also use a large plastic container, bowl or zip-top bag.

Allow the turkey to brine for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. You can brine your turkey for up to 24 hours in advance, but anymore than this is uneccesary and might alter the texture of the turkey.

How to grill turkey breast

Prepare the turkey for the grill. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub both sides with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic.

Grill the turkey breast. Heat the grill to medium-indirect (about 325-375˚F). When the grill is nice and hot, add the turkey with the skin side down. Grill for 45 minutes. Turn and continue coking for about 15 – 30 minutes. Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165˚F.

Rest before slicing. Remove the turkey breast from the grill and allow it to rest on a cutting board for about 5 – 10 minutes. This helps the juices stay in the turkey which will prevent it from being dry.

FAQs and tips for how to grill turkey

How many mintues does it take to grill turkey?

You want to make sure your turkey is at an internal temperature of 165˚F. This usually will mean about 15-30 minutes but that will depend on the size of your turkey breasts.

How do you keep a turkey from drying out on the grill?

Using a marinade or a brine is super important to keep your turkey moist. For this recipe we are making an apple cider turkey brine. Basting is also another good method to keep moisture in the turkey meat while cooking.

Do you flip turkey when grilling?

Yes, for this recipe you will want to flip the turkey breast once during the grilling process.

Close up of grilled turkey breast sliced on a plate with mashed potatoes.

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Close up of a platter of grilled turkey breast sliced and ready to serve.
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Grilled Turkey Breast

Want to change things up this Thanksgiving? Try grilling your turkey instead. This grilled turkey breast is soaked overnight in an apple cider brine and grilled until it’s perfectly tender with a crispy golden skin. It’s so good it doesn’t even need gravy. Serve it with your favorite sides for a simple holiday meal that cooks in about an hour.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the brine:

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups water

For the turkey:

  • 2 bone-in, split turkey breast (about 6 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot, bring the apple cider, molasses and soy sauce to a simmer. Add the salt, garlic, shallots and herbs. Continue cooking until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add the remaining water. Allow the brine to cool completely before adding the turkey breast.

  2. Submerge the turkey in the brine and cover. Allow the turkey to brine for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

  3. Preheat grill to medium – indirect heat (350 – 375˚F). 
  4. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush or rub with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
  5. Grill turkey breast skin side down, for 45 minutes. Turn and continue coking for about 15 – 30 minutes, or until temp reaches 165˚F.

Keywords: Grilled turkey breast, grilled turkey, turkey breast, thanksgiving turkey, dairy free grilled turkey breast, dairy free thanksgiving

Last Updated on October 19, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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