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Lemon Thyme Pan Seared Turkey Breast Cutlets

  • 6 Servings
  • 5 mins Prep Time
  • 13 mins Total Time


  • 1 package Turkey Breast Cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Recipe Credit: Flavor Mosaic

Serving Size About 3 1/2 ounces cooked turkey and 1 lemon slice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 33g
Vitamin D 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 10%
Potassium 0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. This is a representation of the nutrition label. The actual nutrition label on the product may vary slightly.
  • Step 1

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. After oil is hot, add butter.
  • Step 2

    Add about 6 lemon slices to the skillet.
  • Step 3

    Sprinkle the turkey breast cutlets with garlic powder, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper (if desired).
  • Step 4

    Place the turkey breast cutlets into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until the turkey is no longer pink, and is slightly browned around the edges.
  • Step 5

    Turkey is fully cooked when meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F using a meat thermometer.
  • Step 6

    Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Turkey Breast Cutlets FAQs

Turkey breast cutlets are a slim-cut portion of a turkey breast, which contains minimal fat, making it a lean protein cut that’s ideal for low-calorie meals.

A four-ounce turkey cutlet can contain about 120 calories and deliver about 25-28 grams of protein per serving. Turkey breast cutlets also contain nutrients like calcium and iron.

Here’s a simple way to cook turkey cutlets on the stove:

  • Thaw the turkey cutlets if frozen
  • Lightly season the cutlets with salt and pepper and leave the meat to marinate for about five minutes
  • Put a skillet on a medium-high heat stove and add a tablespoon of oil
  • When the skillet gets hot, gently drop in your cutlets so that they aren’t touching, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking on both sides. 
  • Once the cutlets are ready (reaches an internal temperature of 165°F), take them out of the skillet and give them a couple of minutes to rest before serving

Your turkey must cook to an internal temperature of 165°F. However, most turkey cutlets are too thin to check with a meat thermometer. If you have a thin cutlet, you can verify if it is safe to eat by cutting it open. If it’s pink in the middle, put the meat back on the stove and let it cook for a few more minutes.

If you’re cutting your own cutlets from a turkey breast, or have an uneven thickness, tenderize and flatten it with a meat hammer before cooking. Also, if you want to cook a low-fat meal with turkey cutlets, avoid cooking the meat with fatty ingredients like butter or coconut oil.

Instead of buying turkey cutlets, you can buy a turkey breast and carve cutlets out of it. Here’s how to cut turkey cutlets out of a breast:

  • Place the turkey breast on your cutting board skin side upwards
  • Grab a sharp knife and cut into the crest of the breast until you reach the breast bone
  • Use your knife to peel the meat off both sides of the breast bone
  • You should now have two separate chunks of boneless turkey breasts
  • Peel the skin off your turkey breasts and remove any excess fat
  • Starting from the side, diagonally cut a quarter inch slice of meat from the breast
  • Keep cutting until you’ve sliced the whole breast into cutlets

The number of cutlets that you can get from a turkey breast will depend on the size of the breast and the thickness of your slices. Cut your slices as evenly as possible to ensure that everyone at the dinner table gets equal servings.

Since turkey cutlets come from the turkey breast and breasts contain minimal fat and remain white after cooking, a turkey cutlet counts as white meat.

Unlike dark meat, white meat retains a pale color before and after cooking. Dark meat gets its color from having a higher myoglobin content than white meat. White meat and dark meat are both rich in protein, but dark meat typically has a higher fat content.

Searing cutlets before cooking gives the meat a delicious crust. It also seals the meat’s exterior to stop its tasty juices from escaping during cooking.

Stainless steel and cast iron skillets are the best for searing cutlets. However, these pans are only effective for searing if they are hot before placing the meat inside. You can also sear turkey cutlets on a grill or in a Dutch oven.

For the perfect sear, heat your pan to medium-high. Also, pat your cutlets dry before placing them in the pan. The base of the pan should also have enough oil to lubricate the meat but not enough to fry it (about a tablespoon).

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