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Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast

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.

Sliced turkey plated with grilled potatoes and coleslaw

Boneless Turkey Breast – A Great Grilling Option

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.

Uncooked turkey breast that's been trussed for the grill

Grill With Either Charcoal or Gas

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.

Uncooked turkey on the grill illustrating how to position the charcoal around the drip pan

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 ensure that your turkey breast comes off the grill at the perfect temperature.

Finished turkey shown on a platter before slicing

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

picture of plated turkey with side dishes



Yield: 8-10

Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast

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.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes


  • 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


  1. Coat turkey with about 1 tbsp olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp of each of the herbs, seasonings, salt and pepper, rubbing in until the turkey is evenly coated.
  3. Place a drip pan (preferably a disposable aluminum pan) in the bottom of your grill.
  4. If using a gas grill, light the burners on one half of the grill and heat to 300-350 degrees.
  5. If using a charcoal grill, place charcoal around the drip pan, light and heat until coals are glowing and about 300-350 degrees. (see notes below)
  6. Once your grill is ready, place the prepared turkey over the drip pan, cover and grill, turning about every thirty minutes, until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. It should take about 2 hours.
  7. Cover turkey with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. It's temperature will continue to rise as it rests.
  8. If you're grilling with charcoal, you'll need to add additional charcoal several times to keep the temperature constant.


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 in order to create the indirect heat.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


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

Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast Recipe





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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

Hi Joe,

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!


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