What Is a Rolled Turkey Breast? (with pictures)

Eugene P.
Eugene P.
A turkey.
A turkey.

A rolled turkey breast is a method of preparing a boneless, skinless turkey breast by butterflying it and rolling the thinner meat into a compact log shape and cooking it. This turkey breast treatment can provide a more compact form of the meat that has some internal space for processes such as smoking, or stuffing can be rolled inside the breast to make a roulade. The stuffing inside the turkey breast can be anything from traditional holiday stuffing to spinach and chestnuts, although care has to be taken with stuffing ingredients that expand when cooked to prevent the roll from bursting or the filling from being forced out.

Sage is a spice commonly used in turkey stuffing.
Sage is a spice commonly used in turkey stuffing.

To prepare a rolled turkey breast, the first step is to trim the breast meat from the bone and remove any excess meat, skin or fat. The breast is placed on a board and then cut from one long edge toward the other, but not far enough to actually separate it into two pieces. It is then folded open. Depending on the size and shape of the turkey breast, it is sometimes placed between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and pounded out until it is flat and of an even thickness throughout. Pounding out the meat also can make it easier to roll the breast.

A rolled turkey breast is quite often stuffed. For a holiday preparation, the stuffing is usually bread, spices such as rosemary and sage, onions and celery. A more complex stuffing can be made from spinach, mushrooms, onions and the meat of chestnuts. An Italian version may contain sausage, leeks and tomatoes. Nearly anything that fits can be placed inside the breast, although ingredients such as eggs that could expand significantly should be avoided or used in moderation.

The amount of stuffing placed inside the rolled turkey breast needs to be carefully measured. If too much stuffing is put inside, then it will make the breast difficult to roll up and could be pushed out of the meat as it cooks or is rolled. Too little stuffing inside the roll could lead to a dish that does not contain the unique flavor expected in a roulade.

Once the stuffing is spread on the inside of the breast, the meat is carefully rolled from one edge to the other. The meat itself will actually expand while cooking, so it is necessary to secure the rolled turkey breast in some way, usually by tying the log at several points along the length with twine. Skewers or toothpicks also can be used to help secure the meat while it is cooking. The finished rolled turkey breast should have the twine or skewers removed before serving.

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Discussion Comments


I've had rolled turkey breast and it was good, but you have to be careful. The meat was kind of dry. I understand everything has to be cooked through, but it seems like the cook could have basted the breast a little more often to avoid that problem.


Rolled turkey breast is probably the best way to have traditional stuffing with turkey and not worry about food poisoning from underdone food. With the rolled breast, the meat is thinner and allows the stuffing to cook more quickly.

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    • A turkey.
      A turkey.
    • Sage is a spice commonly used in turkey stuffing.
      Sage is a spice commonly used in turkey stuffing.