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Roasted Turkey Breast, Porchetta Style

Scott Phillips

Servings: 7 to 9

This centerpiece dish starts with a boned whole turkey breast (do this yourself or ask the butcher to do it for you) or two boneless breast halves. It’s rubbed with a spice paste and topped with pancetta for a clever take on porchetta, a traditional Italian preparation of pork wrapped in strips of pork belly or pancetta.

For more turkey recipes visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.


  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 whole skin-on turkey breast (5 to 7 lb.), boned or 2 boneless skin-on turkey breast halves (2 to 3 lb. each)
  • Eight 1/8-inch-thick pancetta slices, unrolled into strips, or 8 strips thick-cut bacon

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 480
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 230
  • Fat (g): 26
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 155
  • Sodium (mg): 960
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 56


  • In a large mortar, pound the coriander and fennel seeds with a pestle to form a coarse powder. Add the rosemary and sage and pound to crush and bruise the herbs. Add the garlic and 1 Tbs. salt and pound until a paste begins to form. Stir in 2 tsp. pepper and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and set aside.

    Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel and lay it skin side down on a work surface. Rub half the spice paste over the meat. Turn the turkey over and carefully separate the skin from the meat without tearing the skin. Rub the remaining spice paste under the skin. Reform the breast and tie with 4 to 6 loops of butcher’s twine to make a roll. (If you’re using boneless halves, season the two halves, lay them on top of each other skin side out, and tie them together.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

    Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey breast and cook until golden-brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the breast seam side down to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Crisscross the pancetta over the top of the breast. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Let the turkey breast rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Remove the pancetta and chop or crumble it. Remove the strings from the turkey, slice into 1/4-inch slices, and serve, sprinkled with the pancetta.


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Reviews (10 reviews)

  • BldrGrrl | 11/06/2017

    I used this recipe to prepare a whole turkey. I pinned the bacon across the top of the breast and drumsticks with toothpicks. No basting or tenting needed. I chopped the bacon and put it in the stuffing (cooked outside the bird). Everyone agreed this was the best turkey we'd ever had.

  • ambers | 09/22/2015

    Definitely making this again...but going to make extra marinade/paste as it excellent for dipping fresh bread.Another home run Fine Cooking!Thank you!

  • sinjawns | 11/11/2014

    This was a great way to serve turkey for a small group- very flavourful and moist. I used two boneless breast halves tied together. Next time I may increase the rub by half for a little extra oomph.

  • DJ | 05/15/2014

    Excellent flavor; might not guess it started out as turkey. Very moist and succulent.Will become a favorite for impressing quests.

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