Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast

March 19, 2020

Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast is all the goodness of a whole bird scaled down to a non-holiday portion. Perfect for a weeknight cookout or a perfect weekday dinner option. This is a delicious, tender and juicy recipe that you will cook again and again.

Smoked and sliced turkey breast on a wood cutting board with sliced lemons and limes


Smoked Turkey Breast Marinade

This marinated smoked turkey breast recipe has been on my mind for quite some time. I’ve done whole turkeys, turkey breasts, turkey legs, you name it, but I wanted to perfect a smoked turkey breast. This recipe took a few test runs to get just right, but it was worth it! This marinated turkey breast is tender and juicy with the perfect amount of smoke from the BBQ.

The secret to this particular smoked turkey breast is in the marinade. I got this recipe from my best friend’s mom back in college. This particular marinade is used on turkey breasts and is named after a tiny town in Utah called Manti. It is a Utah staple (watch the video to get a little bit more about the history of this recipe) and everybody has their own version of the marinade.

Since turkey breasts are very lean, the marinade provides a boost of flavor and moisture. The marinade combines some pretty unique ingredients that give the turkey a flavor profile that perfectly balances sweet, savory, and tangy. It almost feels like a slight version of a teriyaki sauce. 

BONUS- this marinade works great on chicken breasts also!

Smoked turkey breast being held above grill grates with a pair of tongs

How to Smoke a Turkey Breast

I started to cook with indirect heat for the smoking period at 225 degrees F for about 2 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey read 150 degrees F. Now the fun part, crank the heat up and sear the exterior of the turkey at the end to caramelize the outside. This method is called reverse searing. It allows you to smoke slowly for flavor and to retain moisture and also get that nice crispy sear on the outside of the meat. 

What Wood to Use for Smoked Turkey Breast

For this batch of turkey breasts, I used a mixture of pecan and apple. Pecan provides a nice smoky flavor base and apple gives a light kiss of sweet smoke. For other ideas on woods to use with turkey, check out my post on the Best Woods for Smoking

Sliced smoked turkey breast on a wood cutting board with sliced lemons and limes

How Long to Smoke a Turkey Breast

I plan 2 hours of smoking and about 6 minutes of searing for larger 5 pound boneless, skinless turkey breasts. If your turkey breasts are smaller (or you are using chicken breasts) you will reduce the time significantly. My best advice is to use a good internal thermometer to track the temperatures of your poultry. Cooking to a safe internal temperature is crucial for poultry, but not overcooking it also means that it will remain juicy and delicious. 

More Turkey Breast Recipes

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Roulade
Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
Smoked Turkey

Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own smoked turkey breasts at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

Need some rubs and sauces to go with this turkey? Patio Provisions sells Hey Grill Hey Signature products for a great price. Best of all? They’re delivered straight to your door!

Smoked turkey breast sliced and served on a wooden cutting board.

Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast

Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast is all the goodness of a whole bird scaled down to a non-holiday portion. Perfect for a weeknight cookout or a perfect weekday dinner option. This is a delicious, tender and juicy recipe that you will cook again and again.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 2 hrs 10 mins
Marinating Time : 8 hrs
Total Time : 10 hrs 5 mins
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 529kcal



  • 1 5-pound boneless skinless turkey breast
  • 2 cups lemon lime soda
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy horseradish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic (minced)


  • Marinate the turkey. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a gallon zip top bag. Place the turkey breasts in the marinade and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate the marinating turkey for at least 8 hours, and no more than 24 hours.
  • Preheat your smoker. Prepare your smoker for indirect cooking at 225 degrees F.
  • Smoke the turkey. Remove the turkey breast from the marinade and place it directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke at 225 degrees F for about 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees F (whichever happens first.)
  • Finish cooking. Increase the temperature of your smoker to around 500 degrees F. Continue to cook the turkey for 5-8 minutes per side or until the exterior is nice and caramelized and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove the turkey to a plate and cover with foil. The carry-over heat will continue to cook the turkey for a few minutes while it rests. Thinly slice the turkey breasts and serve.


Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 113g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 315mg | Sodium: 211mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 6mg
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**This post was originally published April 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

smoked turkey breast recipeMarinated Smoked Turkey Breast

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31 thoughts on “Marinated Smoked Turkey Breast

  1. No wood type is mentioned. Not sure what types you have tried yet; am assuming Apple or Cherry; but I’d love to know which one you tried paired best with this recipe.

  2. PS – to clarify, I did see that you tried pecan and apple mix, but was wondering if any experimenting with the wood species was tried and if so what species best suited the marinade.

  3. I am having a hard time finding a boneless skinless turkey breast. Would this method still work if I use a bone in breast and remove the skin?

  4. This recipe worked very well. I did a “Thanksgiving Trial Run” last month using this and another marinade. I used a whole turkey that I skinned and removed the bones. I also substituted ginger ale in for the lemon lime and marinated for 8 hours. Finally I used Mesquite. The turkey was moist inside and firm outside. But the mesquite was not a wise choice. Doing 20 pounds of turkey for Thanksgiving following this marinade but per my guests request, extra garlic. Apple chunks for sure! Can’t wait to the big day. 10 Stars if I could. Thanks so much

  5. Good Morning, When you give mention to a more traditional smoked Turkey breast, using instead your sweet rub, does this exempt the brining step?
    This could work with a bone in breast too, just for a longer smoking time? Thank you for your time. K

    1. Exactly right. It would work for the bone-in breast. It may take longer to cook just keep an eye on the temperature of the turkey!

  6. Just practiced this for my upcoming Thanksgiving Day cook for the family. I followed the recipe exactly.
    The result: Top Notch! The trial run received several thumbs up from the wife and kids.
    Great recipe.

    Now onto the rest of the family…

  7. My family says a turkey breast cooked in the smoker will be dry. I’m taking this as a challenge. Please reassure me that end result you achieved was moist and juicy. Thank you.

  8. Im going to try this one but I’m going to smoke it on my RECTEC at a lower temperature. I have a extreme smoke setting on mine and it’s got to be below 200 for it to work.

  9. Hi Suzie,

    Made two of these this weekend as the first cook on my new pellet grill. Had to improvise because we were out of lemon lime soda so a lemon truly and some root beer did the trick. Came out awesome. Even my eight year old who can be kind of picky loved it. Thanks for a great recipe. Love the site so we will be trying more!

  10. I made this and everyone loved it and they are requesting it for thanksgiving on a whole turkey. What modifications do I need to make to the recipe for a whole turkey??

  11. This looks like a recipe my wife and I would love. My question is, can I substitute olive oil or are canola/vegetable the only oil choices?

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