Sometimes you want a traditional turkey dinner without so much … turkey. A turkey is a big bird, and unless you’re hosting a crowd or you have a good-sized freezer to store leftovers, you may not want to cook an entire turkey. Or, perhaps you only want to eat white meat and not dark meat.
Aldi offers some options. In anticipation of holidays such as Easter or Thanksgiving, the discount grocery store sells a variety of turkeys, ranging from whole Butterballs to antibiotic-free turkeys to — for those who want less bird or only the white part of the bird — turkey breasts. You can purchase a bone-in turkey breast that still has a good amount of meat, and it even still looks and feels a little like a whole turkey if you want that traditional aesthetic.
Kirkwood Bone-In Turkey Breast was $1.39 per pound at the time of publication. I bought my 9.19-lb. turkey breast for $12.77. It was sold in the Aldi Find (Special Buy) freezer section, and because it’s an Aldi Find, it is only available for a short time. Turkeys like these usually show up at Aldi just before major holidays. For instance, I bought mine just before Easter.
This is a turkey breast with ribs, portion of back, and wing meat, and neck skin basted with turkey broth, salt, sugar, and natural flavoring. The package does not say where the turkey comes from, but it is likely from the U.S.
It comes with a little plastic gravy packet tucked inside the turkey. Ingredients for the gravy are: water, rice flour, salt, modified corn starch, autolyzed yeast extract, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable gums (guar, xanthan, and carob bean), natural flavors (including turkey stock), spices, caramel color, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.
One 4-oz. serving of turkey nets you 160 calories, 8 grams of total fat (10% DV), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 240 mg of sodium (11% DV), 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 17 grams of protein (33% DV). One 1/4 cup of gravy has 15 calories, 430 mg of sodium (19% DV), and 3 grams of carbohydrates (1% DV).
The turkey breast should be thawed before cooking. The packaging states not to open the bag the turkey is in until it is defrosted. The turkey breast should be kept cold and should not be thawed at room temperature. Instead, the package says to place the turkey on a tray in the refrigerator for one to three days to thaw. It generally takes 24 hours for every 3.5 to 4 pounds of turkey.
Note: my turkey had a LOT of bloody liquid come out of it as it thawed, making it a messy endeavor when I got it ready to place in a roasting pan in the oven. I’ve never had a cut of meat leak so much liquid during the thawing process. I recommend setting the turkey in a large casserole dish in the refrigerator, and check it periodically to make sure the liquid does not overflow from the dish.
To cook the turkey breast, the package says to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the breast from the bag, and remove the gravy packet from inside the breast. Put the gravy packet in a dish or container in the refrigerator while the turkey cooks.
The package includes a roasting time chart that is dependent on your turkey’s weight.
- 3-5 pounds: 1 to 2 1/4 hours
- 5-7 pounds: 2 1/4 to 3 hours
- 7-9 pounds: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
Cook until the interior of the turkey reaches 165 degrees. If the breast is fully browned before the rest of the turkey is cooked, cover it loosely with a tent of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Remove the foil after baking, and allow the cooked turkey breast to stand for 20-30 minutes.
My 9-ish-pound turkey breast was plenty done after 3 hours in the oven, and it browned nicely without needing a foil tent.
To prepare the gravy, pour contents of the package into a small saucepan and heat on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the gravy boils. For best flavor, add 1/4 cup of turkey drippings from your freshly cooked turkey. For thinner gravy, add more drippings, chicken broth, water, milk, sherry, dry red or dry white wine. For gravy with a twist, add 2 tablespoons parsley, 1/4 cup sour cream, or 1/4 cup sauteed green onions, chopped celery, or sliced mushrooms. The package says to use the gravy within five days of thawing.
I served this turkey breast alongside some of Aldi’s Hawaiian stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. It was tender and flavorful for a turkey breast, and, if you like to nibble on poultry skin like I do while carving the bird, the skin cooked up nice and crisp and salty. The gravy was on the thinner side, but I didn’t stir it as much as I probably should have while it was heating, and I don’t know if that affected thickness. It still tasted rich and savory and no one seemed to mind much.
There also was plenty of meat for leftovers. After feeding dinner to my family of four, we still had a mostly full 2.5-quart dish of meat. I’ll be packing some of the meat up to freeze and save for casseroles later, and I froze the partial turkey carcass to make stock with as well.
And if this turkey breast is still too much meat for you, you can always go with Aldi’s cornish game hens instead.
The Kirkwood Bone-In Turkey Breast is a good option if you don’t want to cook a whole turkey or if you want to stick with white meat over dark. It cooked up tender and flavorful for a nice family dinner.