This Smoked Turkey Breast is simple and flavorful, perfect for throwing on your Traeger or any smoker setup you have. Boneless turkey breast is brined for flavor and juiciness, then gently hickory smoked and sliced.

Slices of Smoked Turkey Breast on Wooden Board

I’m a huge BBQ fan, and love making Smoked Pork Butt, brisket, ribs, and other meats on the smoker.

While I will generally take beef and pork over turkey most days, there are times when I like to throw it in for variety.

My family tends to prefer white meat over dark meat when it comes to poultry and turkey recipes specifically, and this is an easy way to enjoy this particular cut.

Slices of Smoked Turkey Breast on Wooden Board with Pepper and Rosemary

In this post I will show you how I like to make it, smoked on my Traeger pellet grill, though there are many other ways to hack a smoker setup if you don’t have a dedicated grill. My gas grill for example sells a smoker box that you can use for adding smoke flavor, though you’d need to watch temperature very closely.

Though we make this periodically for weeknight dinners, it’s also a great option for Thanksgiving if you have a small family and don’t want to make a whole bird.

What Kind of Wood To Use

I love using hickory pellets with turkey, but apple wood and cherry wood are also excellent choices.

Most manufacturers making wood pellets or wood chips will tell you which ones to use with poultry, so that’s another good guide for making your selection. You can even try a blend.

Step by Step Overview:

First we need to prepare the turkey brine. The brine is essential for ensuring the most juicy turkey breast possible, and also for infusing flavor into the meat.

In a large skillet or pot, combine water, fresh rosemary sprigs, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and kosher salt:

Making the Brine with Salt, Water, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, and Pepper

While I enjoy this combination of herbs and spices, you may also play with the brine ingredients. You may use tricolor peppercorns instead of black pepper, or you may try other kinds of herbs like fresh thyme or parsley.

You can also use your favorite poultry seasoning, or add honey or brown sugar for sweetness.

Bring the brine to a boil, until the salt dissolves, then remove it from the heat. Add ice cubes to the brine:

Adding Ice Cubes to the Turkey Brine in Skillet

While the brine cools down, prepare your turkey breast.

I purchased a boneless turkey breast from the grocery store, and the butcher had already tied it with kitchen twine.

I like keeping the skin on, so you have a little bit of fat on top. Turkey breast is already incredibly lean.

A Boneless Turkey Breast With Skin Tied With Twine

Before adding the turkey to the brine, check that the liquid has cooled down below 40F, using a meat thermometer.

Showing The Brine at 38 Degrees With Thermometer

At that temperature, it is safe to add the boneless breast to the brine:

The Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast In Bowl Of Brine

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then place it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours. I like to do this a full day ahead of time.

While you can go longer than 24 hours, be mindful that it may become a bit too salty with longer brine times.

When you’re ready to cook, take the turkey breast out of the brine and pat the exterior dry with paper towels.

Taking The Brined Turkey Breast Out Of Liquid and On Paper Towel

Then let the meat sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat your smoker.

I am using a Traeger pellet grill, but any smoker setup set to 275F will work.

Then put the turkey breast on the grill grates, and insert a probe into the thickest part of the breast, if you have one.

Brined Turkey Breast On Traeger Grill Grate With Probe

My Traeger has built in temperature probes, which is helpful for making sure I do not overcook the meat. Otherwise you will need to check the temperature using an instant read thermometer.

Smoke the turkey for about 3 hours of cook time, until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F.

Smoked and Brined Turkey Breast On Traeger Grill Grate With Probe

Remove the turkey from the smoker, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. It will rise another 5 degrees to 165 degrees F with carryover cooking.

Slice the turkey using a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife, as thick or thin as you would like.

Slicing Smoked Turkey Breast On Wooden Cutting Board With Serrated Knife

I find the serrated knife a bit easier to use, but the meat will look a little more “torn” when using this kind of knife.

Enjoy the meat while warm!

Serving Suggestions

I will often serve this as the main course on a dinner plate, with a side of Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, or Roasted Acorn Squash.

I love pairing it with the sweeter sides, but you could also pair with Carrot Raisin Salad, Wild Rice Salad, Thanksgiving Green Beans or White Bean Salad.

Leftover turkey breast can also be used in place of chicken for recipes like Cobb Salad, Cranberry Chicken Salad, Curry Chicken Salad, and Waldorf Chicken Salad.

You may also slice thinly and put it into sandwiches. Try it with the same ingredients as the Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini Sandwich.

Recipe FAQ and Tips

Can you use a dry brine instead?

I think a wet brine is better, but if you prefer this route, you can add other spices on there like garlic powder, onion powder, etc. Try 1 tablespoon of sea salt for 24 hours.

How do you store leftovers?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or cover tightly with aluminum foil. This is very important to keeping the meat from drying out.

Can you freeze leftover turkey breast?

Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating, as the meat is very prone to drying out.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Slices of Smoked Turkey Breast On Wooden Cutting Board

Smoked Turkey Breast

This simple Smoked Turkey Breast is brined to maximize juiciness and flavor, then gently hickory smoked and sliced.

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  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 8 cups ice
  • 4 lb boneless turkey breast tied


  • In a pot or saucepan, combine the water, salt, bay leaves, rosemary, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Boil the brine for 1 minute, until the salt dissolves, then let rest off the heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the ice cubes, which should get the temperature of the brine below 40F within a few minutes.
  • Check that the brine is below 40F, then add the turkey breast, which should be completely submerged. Brine in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours, but ideally one day* ahead of time.
  • When ready to cook, discard the brine and pat the exterior of the turkey dry with paper towels. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat the smoker to 275F. For the pellets, I recommend hickory, apple wood, or cherry wood.
  • Place the turkey breast on the grill grates of the smoker, and insert the temperature probe, if your smoker has one. Smoke the turkey for 3 hours, until an internal temperature of 160F is reached. Carryover cooking will bring the temperature up another 5 degrees during resting.
  • Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve.


*Anywhere from 8-24 hours is great, but try not to brine more than 24 hours, as the meat may become too salty. 
Storage: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezing: Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating, as the meat is very prone to drying out.


Calories: 310kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 65g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 163mg, Sodium: 647mg, Potassium: 754mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 73IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.