24 Succulent Breast Recipes for the Holiday Season

12.28.2015 • Food

Recipe inspiration seems to strike more this season than any other. There’s a desire to dazzle and impress with each plate you serve as you celebrate with friends and family. Up your culinary game or simply change the health scape of your home-cooked menus when you use breast meats.

This underrated ingredient is lean, tender, and flavorful. The cut of meat is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. And the list hardly stops at just predictable chicken and turkey. Poultry breast options abound, each offering a unique flavor profile and opportunity to upgrade your “chicken-something” dinner rut.

“The less popular poultry types are often just as lean [as a holiday turkey], and good for the waistband, and even more flavorful than your standard bird. They offer a deeper, earthy flavor that goes very well with the traditional holiday sides, especially the cranberry sauce (from real berries, not the jellied can variety!),” explained Gina Nelson, chef and yoga expert with AcaciaTV.

We’re sharing a few of our favorite breast recipes, and her best preparation tips. Since breasts come in pairs, we’ve found two new, intriguing recipes for each of these poultry types.


White Wing Dove-Style Grilled Quail

Sauteed Quail Breast Pecan Bourbon Sauce


Dove Enchiladas

Dove Ravioli with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette


Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce

Five Spice Duck Breast with Blackberries


Wild Goose Breasts with Orange Glaze

Goose Breast with Apricots 


Duck Fat Turkey Breast with Green Onion Puree

Spicy Maple Turkey Breast


Oven Baked Sriracha Chicken

Pinot Grigio Chicken with Honey Citrus Glaze 


  1. The cooking technique that offers the most consistent results is roasting in the oven. When properly executed, roasting produces a crispy golden brown exterior and a juicy tender interior.

  1. Don't assume that you can cook a chicken breast the same way you would duck. Smaller birds roast at higher temperatures to produce crisp skins without overcooking the meat. Larger birds start at higher temperatures to brown the skin and finish at lower temperatures to produce even cooking.

  1. Determining doneness is best done with a thermometer. Most poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F. An exception includes duck, which is often best served medium rare.

  1. Meat should be rested for approximately half of the total cooking time before being sliced. This allows the meat to redistribute the juices for tender bites throughout.

  1. Don't be afraid to experiment with various types of poultry. Understanding their composition (fat content, dark meat versus white) is the key to producing a delicious product.