How to Cook Turkey Parts

by Gail Sessoms

Stuff a turkey breast for a special meal.

Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

Turkey is a holiday favorite, but turkey parts are an inexpensive, year-round alternative to cooking a whole turkey. Turkey parts include wings, legs, thighs, hind quarters, breasts, breast cutlets and necks. You can purchase turkey fresh, frozen or smoked. Turkey is a low-fat, high-protein meat that has plenty of nutrients, including iron, potassium, zinc and the B vitamins. You can cook turkey parts using just about any recipe or cooking method you would use for other meats. Roast turkey breast goes well with any side dish, and you can take advantage of healthy herbs as seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and adjust the racks in the oven to accommodate a roasting pan.

Place a rack in a roasting pan, and set the turkey breast on the rack with the skin side up. Using the rack raises the meat above its drippings, but if you prefer, set the turkey breast directly on the bottom of the roasting pan.

Season the turkey breast with your preferred seasonings and spices, such as salt and pepper or herbs. Apply the seasonings all over the skin, or loosen the skin with your fingers and rub the seasonings into the meat.

Roast the turkey breast uncovered for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the turkey breast is done or nearly done, the skin color is golden-brown.

Insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast to take the internal temperature. Turkey is fully cooked when the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the turkey breast from the oven, cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, and allow the breast to stand for 15 minutes before carving.


  • Turkey breasts cook more quickly than turkey parts with dark meat, such as legs and hind quarters, and can become very dry if overcooked.

    If you have an oven-proof meat thermometer, insert it into the turkey breast before placing the meat in the oven.

Photo Credits

  • Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.