Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, a Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast is a delicious option. It’s just the right size for dinner and leftovers.
If you’re craving turkey but you don’t need all of the meat that you get from a whole bird, grilling a boneless turkey breast is a great option. It’s really quite easy and a 4 pound boneless turkey breast only takes about 2 hours to grill, much less time then roasting a whole turkey.
The key to grilling a boneless breast is to truss it with kitchen twine and grill it over indirect heat. The result is slightly smoky, tender and juicy meat. It’s perfect to serve at a summer BBQ as well as a Thanksgiving dinner.
Either a charcoal grill or a gas grill will work just fine. We grill our turkey on charcoal over indirect heat and it is absolutely out of this world.
To prep the turkey for the grill, first rub it with olive oil, then rub in a spice mixture. The rub used in this recipe includes thyme, sage and rosemary, but you could mix it up and use whatever spices you like.
If you’re using charcoal, you’ll have to babysit the turkey a little bit more and periodically add more charcoal to keep the temperature steady. With gas, you can set the temperature and not have to monitor it quite as often.
An instant read meat thermometer is also very helpful. The turkey is ready to come off of the grill once it reaches 160 degrees. After you take it off the grill, you let it rest, lightly covered with foil, until it reaches 165 degrees, which takes about 20 minutes.
Tips and Tricks for a Delicious Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast
- Whether you’re using a gas grill or a charcoal grill, cooking with indirect heat is the best way to insure a perfectly cooked, juicy turkey breast. If you were to cook it over direct heat, the outside would get overcooked before the internal temperature was where it needed to be.
- If you’re cooking on a gas grill, you will not turn the burners on underneath the turkey. Put a drip pan directly under the meat. Set the temperature to 300-350 degrees.
- With a charcoal grill, your will also off-set the charcoal. If your grill is round, place a drip pan in the center and place the charcoal around the pan. Place the turkey on the grate over the drip pan. With a rectangular grill, the charcoal will go on one side and the drip pan will go on the other side and the turkey will also be placed over the drip pan.
- An instant read thermometer is highly recommended to insure that your turkey breast comes off the grill at the perfect temperature.
The Best Place to Find a Boneless Turkey Breast
Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may be able to find a boneless turkey breast at your regular grocery store, but in the summer that will be less likely. If you’re not able to find one at your grocery store, you will likely be able to find one at one of your local meat markets.
We called our local meat market for this turkey. They didn’t have any boneless breasts at the time, so they boned one for us. We bought the whole breast and split it into two halves. Each half of the breast was about 4 lbs. We grilled both halves and froze one for later.
Tips for Trussing a Boneless Turkey Breast
Trussing the turkey is an important step to insure even cooking of the turkey breast. It’s not difficult to do, but it’s a little hard to explain. This video demonstrates exactly how to truss a boneless turkey breast.
Delicious Ways to Season Your Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast
My favorite way to season the breast is with a combination of sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper. This is a great way to season the boneless turkey breast if you’re serving it for Thanksgiving, Christmas or really anytime.
If you’re serving this in the summer at a backyard BBQ, I would recommend either Sweet Rub or Chicken Rub from Hey Grill Hey. Their seasonings are top notch and will definitely enhance the flavor of the the turkey breast.
Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Your Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast
- Asian Style Cucumber Salad
- Steakhouse Wedge Salad
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette
- Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Ultimate Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Field Greens Salad
- Coleslaw Minus the Mayo
- Easy Cornbread Dressing
- Classic Potato Salad
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Cajun Fried Corn
Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast
If you're hosting a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, a Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast is a delicious option. It's just the right size for dinner and leftovers.
- 1 (4 lb) boneless turkey breast
- olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
The prep time includes time to heat the grill.
The additional time is the time that the turkey needs to rest before slicing.
If your charcoal grill is round, you'll put the drip pan in the center of the grill and place the charcoal all around the pan to create the indirect heat.
If your charcoal grill is rectangular, you'll put the drip pan on one end and the charcoal on the other end inorder to create the indirect heat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 156mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
Originally published 11/11/2016 – Updated on 5/16/23
Wednesday 25th of November 2020
I am going to use this recipe, but I am brining the turkey first. I might also add just a little brown sugar. Since the turkey is brining overnight, I plan to rinse it, and may be hesitant to use much salt on the outside. I am going to grill over charcoal briquettes and some hickory wood blocks, with some soaked apple chips, for an accent. Anyone have thoughts or suggestions?
Tuesday 24th of November 2020
This sounds great, and we will be doing this for Thanksgiving this year. However, what cooking time adjustment should I make considering that we have a 2.5 lb. organic turkey breast? Your help would be much appreciated!
Tuesday 24th of November 2020
I'm assuming your turkey breast is boneless? If it is, it will probably take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours to get to 160 degrees. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. I hope this helps!
Saturday 13th of June 2020
I tried this recipe last November with a boneless turkey roast (it came already in the netting) and I cooked it on a three burner weber gas grill with the center burner turned off. It was wonderful! The only variation I made was spraying the turkey with Trader Joe's Olive Oil spray and I also ground the herbs and seasonings together since I grow my own and my dried herbs are in larger pieces. Yesterday I used the same process on a 6 lb bone-in turkey breast that was on special at my market. I put a meat rack over the drip pan directly on my grill grate. It cooked in about 90 minutes and was perfect. Thank you for a great recipe. We will have turkey more often now.
Thursday 2nd of May 2019
IM going to try this in a gas grill.....you say the drip tray should go under the turkey...so I assume you do not put the turkey in the drip tray....so it just sits directly on the grill then right? With the tray underneath it? The tray does not block the heat?
Wednesday 29th of November 2017
Where do you get the twine bag? I tied it with string, and it was not easy. But the turkey tasted truly great! But it would have been easier to handle with a twine bag.
Thursday 22nd of November 2018
Replying to myself ;-) i bought TSM meat netting bags on Amazon. Size 20 is t00 small, though. Need size 24 or 28.l
Wednesday 29th of November 2017
I'm so happy to hear the turkey tasted great! I got my turkey breast from the butcher and it came in the twine bag. I'm not sure where you would find a twine bag, I would recommend asking the butcher.