Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast

Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast

This Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast filled with Italian bread, dried cranberries, shallots, celery, pine nuts, and Italian sausage. Perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving gathering.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Sliced stuffed turkey breast on a serving tray.

Don’t need to cook a 20-pound bird this year? This Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast, or Turkey Roulade, is perfect for smaller Thanksgiving gatherings. The stuffing made with Italian bread, dried cranberries, shallots, celery, pine nuts, and sausage will have all your guests asking for the recipe!

Are you in Thanksgiving menu planning mode already? I definitely am even though our Thanksgiving menu stays pretty much the same year after year.

Sliced stuffed turkey breast on a serving tray.

We always, without fail, have Oven Roasted Turkey and Southern Cornbread Dressing. Always. It’s the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving meal and I sometimes think certain family members would swoon and fall over in a faint if I, for some unknown reason, didn’t make the dressing.

You can’t have Thanksgiving here without dressing. And Polly’s Pink Stuff and Southern Butterbeans and Sweet Potato Casserole. You just can’t.

Even though there are certain dishes that are set in stone, I always try to add a few new ones for us to try each year. They’re usually side dishes, but every once in a while I offer a choice for the entree.

I think I just might slip this Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast onto the table. It would be a nice surprise as an additional main dish and a bit of a change for everyone.

If you’re coming to my house for Thanksgiving, don’t start hyperventilating…this will be in addition to the usual turkey and dressing. Y’all can take a deep breath now :-)

❗ Let’s Try Something New This Year

I’ve seen this technique demonstrated many times and every time I watched I thought – “Wow, that looks good. I should make that!” And so I did.

I made up my own stuffing recipe but used the classic technique for rolling and prepping the turkey breast itself.

You’ll need a half breast that is butterflied and pounded somewhat flat then filled with a delicious stuffing containing Italian bread, onions, shallots, dried cranberries, Italian sausage, pine nuts, and parsley.

The rolled breast (technically, a roulade) is encased in the reserved turkey skin, wrapped in cheesecloth, and slathered in butter. The result? Very delicious if I do say so myself.

This is a great alternative to the usual roast turkey and is perfect for a small gathering since it serves 4 to 6.

❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • It’s great for a small-ish Thanksgiving gathering.
  • Something out of the ordinary and just a bit chic if I do say so.
  • The flavor profile of the stuffing perfectly complements the turkey.
  • Easier to handle and carve than a huge bird filled with stuffing.
  • Cooks in under an hour.

🥘 Ingredient Notes


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  • Italian breadThe bread is the basis of the stuffing and can be anything that’s sturdy such as a batard, baguette, or ciabatta. And it’s even better if the bread is just slightly stale. It can be homemade, from a bakery, or off the grocery store shelf.
  • Shallot Although they’re in the same family, shallots have a more delicate, sweet taste than onions. You can substitute a bit of mild, sweet onion if you like.
  • Italian sausageI prefer mild (sweet) sausage for this recipe. Purchase either bulk sausage or cased sausage and remove the meat from the casings before using.
  • Dried cranberriesThe tart sweetness of cranberries pairs really well with the sausage and pine nuts in the filling.
  • Pine nutsAlso called pignoli, they’re a staple of Italian cuisine.
  • Boneless turkey breast half with skin onIf you don’t find what you need in your market’s meat case, ask the butchers for help. They can cut what you need.
  • Butter Essential for browning the roulade.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Stuffed Turkey Breast


Start by Making the Stuffing

A loaf of Italian bread cut into cubes on a cutting board.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the bread, remove the crusts, and cut the slices into cubes. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted. Set the bread cubes aside to cool while you continue making the stuffing.
Photo collage showing chopped shallot and celery on the left and the same cooking in a skillet on the right.
  1. Slice or chop the shallot and celery. Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and celery along with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Saute until the shallot is translucent. 
  1. Add the sausage into the same skillet and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or potato masher, until no pink remains.
  2. Now, add the cranberries, thyme, and broth. Continue cooking for an additional minute or two, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the toasted bread and pine nuts and stir until all the bread is moistened.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and add a bit more if needed.
  5. Allow the stuffing to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Stuff the Turkey Breast

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Photo collage showing how to remove the skin from the turkey breast.
  1. Using a very sharp knife with a thin blade and your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breast (or ask your grocery store butcher to do it for you). Set the skin aside and save it for later.
  2. Place the breast with the original skin side down on a clean work surface. If necessary, butterfly the thicker areas to get a uniform thickness throughout.

    Pound the breast out with a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin until it is about 1/2” thick. Sprinkle the inside generously with salt and pepper.

👉 PRO TIP: If you’d like a walkthrough of how to butterfly a turkey breast, check this post from The Spruce Eats.

Turkey breast with stuffed mounded on top.
  1. Spread the cooled stuffing over the pounded turkey breast leaving about a 1-inch border all around.

Create the Roulade

Rolled turkey breast with skin over the top.
  1. Starting at one long side, carefully roll up the breast to enclose the stuffing. Place the reserved skin over the seam edge of the rolled turkey breast.
Photo collage showing the rolled, stuffed turkey breast covered with cheesecloth and coated with softened butter.
  1. Wrap the entire breast in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Tie each end with kitchen twine. Tuck the ends under the package. Tie additional twine in three or four places down the length of the roll.
  2. Rub the softened butter over the entire rolled turkey breast making sure to cover all surfaces.

Bake Until Golden Brown

Cooked stuffed turkey breast on a baking sheet.
  1. Place the wrapped stuffed turkey breast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roulade reads 155 degrees.
  2. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. During the resting time, the internal temperature should increase to 165 degrees.
  3. When ready to serve, remove and discard the cheesecloth and twine. Slice crosswise into approximately 1” pieces.
Sliced stuffed turkey breast on a serving tray.

🍽 How to Serve


Your stuffed turkey roll will be delicious with many of the more traditional Thanksgiving side dishes such as cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potato casserole, and broccoli casserole.

For a less traditional dinner, try pairing it with roasted asparagus, tomatoes provencal, oven roasted leeks, or apple cranberry salad.

💡 Tips


  • Increase the recipe as needed to serve your guests. Allow about one-half pound of turkey breast per person.
  • Store completely cooled leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, carefully wrap in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat: If frozen, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave.

❓ Questions About Rolled Turkey Breast


Can I make the rolled stuffed turkey breast in advance?

Yes, you can make stuffed turkey breast in advance! On the day before you plan to serve, make the recipe up to the point of baking the roulade. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove it from the oven about 30 minutes in advance so that it can come to room temperature. Bake and serve.

Pine nuts (pignoli) are really expensive where I live! Is there a good substitute?

If you need a substitute for the pine nuts, either cashews or pistachios make an excellent alternative! I’ve also used pecans with good success.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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📖 Recipe

Sliced stuffed turkey breast on a serving tray.

Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast

This Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast filled with Italian bread, dried cranberries, shallots, celery, pine nuts, and Italian sausage. Perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving gathering.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 698kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed Italian bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 ounces mild Italian sausage
  • cup dried cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 pounds boneless turkey breast half with skin
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened

Instructions

Make the Stuffing

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the bread, remove the crusts, and cut the slices into cubes. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted. Set the bread cubes aside to cool while you continue making the stuffing.
  • Slice or chop the shallot and celery. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and celery along with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Saute until the shallot is translucent.
  • Add the sausage into the same skillet and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or potato masher, until no pink remains.
  • Add the cranberries, thyme, and broth. Continue cooking for an additional minute or two, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the toasted bread and pine nuts and stir until all the bread is moistened.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and add a bit more if needed.
  • Allow the stuffing to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Stuff the Turkey Breast:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Using a very sharp, thin-bladed knife and your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breast (or ask your grocery store butcher to do it for you). Set the skin aside and save it for later. 
  • Place the breast with the original skin side down on a cutting board. If necessary, butterfly the thicker areas to get an even thickness throughout.
    Pound the breast out with a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin until it is about 1/2” thick. Sprinkle the inside generously with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the cooled stuffing over the pounded turkey breast.

Create the Roulade:

  • Starting at one long side, carefully roll up the breast to enclose the stuffing. Place the reserved skin over the seam edge of the rolled turkey breast.
  • Wrap the entire breast in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Tie each end with kitchen twine. Tuck the ends under the package. Tie additional twine in three or four places down the length of the roll.
  • Rub the softened butter over the entire rolled turkey breast making sure to cover all surfaces.

Bake:

  • Place the wrapped stuffed turkey breast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roulade reads 155 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. During the resting time, the internal temperature should increase to 165 degrees.
  • When ready to serve, remove and discard the cheesecloth and twine. Slice crosswise into approximately 1” pieces.

Notes

  • To increase the recipe, allow about one-half pound of turkey breast per person.
  • Store completely cooled leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, carefully wrap in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat: If frozen, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 812mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 596IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on November 12, 2015. It has been updated with additional information.

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14 Comments

  1. Wow! What an impressive presentation. That will certainly be the most striking dish on the table. Tasting wonderful to boot is not a bad deal at all.

    Miss P

  2. This is a fabulous idea – especially for those of us having a smaller Thanksgiving. I am definitely inspired to give this recipe a try!

  3. I’d be in deep trouble if I didn’t roast a huge bird for Thanksgiving, however, your recipe would be marvelous for the rest of the year! Such a gorgeous presentation!!!