This post was created in partnership with the National Turkey Federation. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
Stuffed and rolled turkey breast roasted to perfection that is guaranteed to impress. An elegant holiday turkey feast is one of the most fun meals of the year. And if you don't like the hassle of cooking a whole turkey, then turkey roulade is the perfect solution.
This dish might look fancy, but don't let that deter you from giving it a try. It's only slightly more effort in the preparation. Once it's in the oven, all the work is done and you can relax.
While stuffing doesn't really belong inside a whole turkey, mostly for safety reasons and because a whole turkey just doesn't cook evenly when it's stuffed. But when the stuffing is rolled up in a nice and cozy "roulade" (and not a whole turkey), it is absolutely wonderful.
What Is Turkey Roulade?
A roulade is simply a rolled dish — all the different ingredients rolled up into a neat and tidy package. The turkey is butterflied, flattened, layered with a flavorful stuffing, then rolled and tied to hold it in place. After roasting, it is sliced crosswise to reveal a beautiful spiral of delicious layers.
Why It's So Wonderful!
There are some wonderful benefits to a roulade versus cooking a whole turkey
- It's easy to cook perfectly and cooks quite quickly.
- It's the best parts of the meal all in one — turkey and stuffing.
- It has a stunning presentation on the platter. It easily transports and doesn't leave you with a fridge full of leftovers if that's not your thing.
- It's easy to make ahead and re-warm before serving.
What You Need
- Turkey Breast - Whole breast boneless with the Skin on and butterflied (see instructions below)
Tip: Utilize your local butcher to source a boneless double turkey breast. Have your butcher take care of the technical work of deboning and butterflying for you to make this recipe even easier.
- Melted butter for brushing on the turkey to brown it.
- A brine - you can go with a wet brine (see recipe card) or a dry brine with just salt, sugar and some aromatics.
Tools & Equipment
- Very sharp boning knife
- Cutting board
- Meat pounder
- Butcher twine
- Parchment paper
- Sheet pan
- Instant-read probe thermometer
Let's simplify things... To break it down, we're just making a basic stuffing, flattening out a whole turkey breast, brining it, covering it with a layer of stuffing and rolling it all together. Then that little roll is tied into a neat little package, roasted to perfection and enjoyed in all its glory.
How to Butterfly Turkey Breast for Roulade
If you are buying from a butcher (or a store that has a butcher), you can have them butterfly the turkey breast for you.
If you can't get turkey breasts already butterflied. You can do it yourself pretty easily.
- Remove the bone from the breast, keeping the skin on.
- Spread the breast out skin-side down on a cutting board.
- Slice into the breasts at the thickest part to butterfly, but don't cut all the way through. Then fold out the flaps like opening a book. Repeat on both sides until the meat is of roughly even thickness.
- Place a layer of plastic wrap on the top and bottom, and pound it with a meat pounder or heavy skillet until it is ½" thick throughout.
Brining the Turkey Breast
After butterflying, brine the breast for 8 hours. Brining is optional, but I highly recommend taking the step. Rinse and pat dry after it is finished brining.
I have tested brining and not brining the breast for the roulade, and the brined version wins every time. It comes out so juicy and super flavorful. Brining is even more important if you're using a skinless turkey breast.
*Don't brine a turkey that has been pre-brined or "enhanced." This will make it too salty.
Because of the brine time, all of the prep work for this recipe can be done the day before.
Make the Stuffing
While the turkey brines, make the stuffing with sweet Italian sausage, onions, celery, apples, cranberries, fresh herbs and bread mix. If you already have a favorite stuffing recipe, you can totally use that, too. Just make sure there aren't any large pieces of bread or sausage. The smaller the better when it comes to rolling them up into a roulade.
The recipe makes extra stuffing to serve as a side or for leftovers. You will only need about half of it for the roulade. Bake the extra stuffing covered alongside the turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then uncover for about 5 minutes to brown.
If you don't want extra stuffing beyond what you need for the roulade, then halve the recipe.
How to Make the Roulade
- Season and apply a half-inch-thick layer of stuffing, and then tightly roll it up. Start on the small side, so the wider side will end up on the outside.
Tip: Remove the skin before stuffing and rolling. Then add the skin back on after the roulade is rolled and before you tie it up. This will put the skin around the whole breast so none is left inside where it won't brown.
- Tie it up. Both around the middle and lengthwise, with butcher twine.
- Roast it at 375° F (350° in a convection oven), until the internal temp reaches 160° F. This should be about 75 minutes, but be sure to use a probe thermometer to know exactly when to pull it from the oven.
Optional: to further brown the skin, you can place it under the broiler on high for just a few minutes. Do this before the breast reaches the pull temp to be careful not to overcook.
- Rest for at least 15 minutes, remove the twine, slice and serve.
Key Temps and Times
Oven temp: 350° F on convection (if you have it), or 375° F if not.
Pull temp (when it should be removed from the oven): 160° F
Finished internal temp: 165° F (after carryover cooking during the rest)
Approximate roulade cooking time: 25 minutes per pound / 75 minutes total
Note: There will be some carry-over temperature, but not as much if cooking a whole turkey. I remove the roulade from the oven 5 degrees below the target temp.
Always verify temperatures with an instant-read probe thermometer.
It will take about 25 minutes per pound or 75 minutes total to cook a 3 pound turkey roulade.
Yes, you can definitely make the roulade ahead of time. Either prepare it a few days before roasting, or fully roast it and reheat it gently in an oven.
What to Serve With It
- Your favorite gravy
- More stuffing
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Perfect Green Beans
- Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Cranberry sauce
Turkey Roulade Recipe
- 2 to 3 pound whole boneless turkey breast (skin on, butterflied)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
For the brine
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup Diamond kosher salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 4 sage leaves
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 2 Tbsp. crushed garlic cloves
For the stuffing
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery (¼" dice)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup peeled and diced Granny Smith apple
- ½ cup dried cranberries (soaked in hot water for 5 minutes)
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, parsley (1 tsp. each, but could be more)
- 1 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock (low sodium, preferably homemade)
- 12 oz. (4 cups) bread stuffing mix (such as Pepperidge Farm)
Brine the Breast
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add to a large bowl with the remaining brine ingredients. Stir to completely dissolve. Steep for 10 minutes before adding a 6-cup combination of cold water and ice to the bowl.
- Place the turkey breast in the brine and refrigerate for 8 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Make the Stuffing
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown sausage, breaking it apart until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onions and celery with a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions are softened and translucent.
- Add the apples, soaked cranberries and chopped fresh herbs. Add the chicken stock, scraping any brown bits off the pan. Then stir in bread stuffing mix. Taste for seasoning. If the stuffing is too dry, add more stock.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the turkey.
Make the Roulade
- Preheat oven to 350° F on convection, or 375° F if you don't have convection.
- Place the butterflied turkey breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat pounder until ½" thick all the way around. Optional: remove the skin before adding the stuffing and rolling. Then add it back before tieing the roulade together.
- Brush both sides with melted butter.
- Place the breast skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Evenly distribute a stuffing layer that is about ½" thick over the entire surface of the breast (you will only need about half of the stuffing).
- Tightly roll (starting with the smaller side first) until you reach the end.
- Tie with butcher twine about every 2" and once longways.
Roast the Roulade
- Place in the oven on the middle rack and roast until the internal temperature reaches 160° F, about 75 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan 180 degrees halfway through for even browning. Optional: Broil for 2 to 5 minutes to brown the skin at the end of the cook (before it reaches the pull temp).
- Remove from oven and rest uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the twine to slice and serve.
- Recipe time does not include the 8-hour brine time.
- Ask your butcher to butterfly the turkey breasts for you.
- Turkey breast can be prepared and rolled the day before, covered and chilled before roasting.
- Recipe makes extra stuffing, which you can bake alongside the turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then uncover for about 5 minutes to brown.
- For the stuffing, you want it to be a fine texture, so avoid large pieces of sausage or bread.
- Don't rely on cook time; always rely on the internal temperature.
- If there are any pan juices, you can add those to your gravy or the extra stuffing.
- The turkey skin isn’t going to be as crispy as if you cooked a whole turkey, but it’s important to leave it on to help keep the turkey breast moist while it cooks. If you prefer, you can discard the skin after it rests.
- Use convection in your oven if you have it to brown the skin.
Thanks to the National Turkey Federation for sponsoring this recipe and helping to make this site possible!
This recipe was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated and republished in October 2022 with updated and more useful information.