A different turkey for Thanksgiving: Stuffed turkey breast

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Here is an alternative for Thanksgiving for those of you who either don’t want to cook a whole bird or don’t have to. In our household, a whole bird is a must but if you want something different for Thanksgiving, here is a delicious alternative.  I also think that turkey white meat is pretty bland and dry and this recipe gives it a lot of flavor and combines the turkey and stuffing in one neat package.

heavenly stuffing with cranberries, apples and pecans


This is a whole turkey breast, doboned and rolled with a stuffing of cranberries, pecans and breadcrumbs.  It is basted as it cooks with apple cider and chicken stock and is really delicious.

Most whole turkey breasts are sold with the bones.  The ones that I have seen in the grocery stores that are boneless are very small and the meat is not very good. They aren’t suitable for this recipe.  You will have to buy a whole turkey breast and debone it, something that is not hard to do.  I’ve made a video showing you how to debone the turkey breast and it’s at the bottom of this post. 


Turkey Breast Stuffed with Apples, Cranberries and Pecans


for a printable recipe, click here

serves 6-8

Stuffing can be prepared a day ahead if you like.  You can also assemble the whole thing the day ahead and refrigerate it and just roast it the next day (make sure your stuffing is completely cooled.) You will need kitchen twine for this recipe. 


  • 7-pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced  (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock




Preheat oven to 375°F.  Bone the turkey breast, being careful to keep the skin intact.  The skin will act like a wrapper for the whole thing. Lay plastic wrap on the breast and pound it till it’s flat.

a whole, bone-in turkey breast

Toast the pecans in the oven on a sheet pan for about  8-10 minutes until fragrant. Place in a plastic bag and pound until the whole pecans are broken up into pieces.  Lower oven temperature to 350°F.

Saute the onion, apple, celery in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the bread crumbs, pecans, parsley and thyme and mix thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Completely cool the stuffing.

Combine the chicken stock, apple cider and 2 tablespoons butter in a large pyrex measuring cup and warm in the microwave until butter has melted and mixture is hot.  Set aside.

Lay the turkey breast flat on the counter and season with salt and pepper. Spread the cooled stuffing mixture on top. Roll the turkey breast up tightly and tie with the kitchen twine.  Lay the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and roast in a 350°F oven for about one hour, basting every 15- 20 minutes with the cider mixture. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

About The Italian Dish 29 Articles
My name is Elaine and I live in neighboring Okemos. My mother, Angela, was from Italy and I guess I just have that Italian gene in me — I love to feed people. I began this blog to teach people how to cook. It pains me that so many people do not cook for themselves and instead order carryout five nights a week. Cooking from scratch is much easier than most people think. It's healthier and cheaper. Cook along with me — I'll show you how. I love photography and, in a previous life, was a painter. My food photography enables me to really show you how to create things, step by step. I love the beauty of food and the creativity of the kitchen. Developing my own recipes is just another way to fill a canvas. I hope you enjoy what I love so much — cooking for people and the joy of the table.