Juicy and Spicy Grilled Turkey Breast – Ready in Minutes

The warm evenings of summer, the smell of a grill in the air, and especially the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill turkey breast – that’s when my love for grilling truly comes alive. There’s something about the fire, the sizzle, and the simple joy of outdoor cooking that makes food taste so much better

Spicy Grilled Turkey Breast

While I’m a fan of classic grilled favorites like burgers and chicken, sometimes I crave something a little different. That’s where grilled spicy turkey breast comes in! For me, the key to perfectly grilled turkey lies in the seasoning. A good blend of spices adds a delicious kick and complements the natural flavors of the turkey.

There are so many great ways to spice up your turkey for grilling. A personal favorite of mine is a mix inspired by a recent backyard barbecue: smoky chipotle and paprika, a dash of cumin, and a hint of garlic for depth. The result is a juicy, flavorful turkey with a touch of heat that always gets rave reviews at my summer parties.

This fiery marinade demands your attention – it’s the perfect way to make grilled turkey breast the star of your next cookout. Not sure how to grill boneless turkey breast? Keep reading for a simple, flavorful recipe and expert tips!

Flavor Explosion

A marinade can transform a simple grilled turkey breast into something extraordinary. My go-to recipe infuses the turkey with a vibrant blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy notes. Start with the sweetness of golden honey or maple syrup, then add the bright, tangy punch of lime juice for a flavor base that already dances on your tastebuds.

Then it’s time to ignite the spice! The sharp bite of garlic pairs perfectly with smoky chipotle peppers, creating a flavor combo that’s both complex and addictive. This fiery marinade demands your attention – it’s the perfect way to make grilled turkey breast the star of your next cookout.

Reasons Why You’ll Love It 

The smoky chipotle peppers blended into a rich adobo sauce, the sweetness of honey, and the bright tang of lime create a marinade that infuses the turkey breast with layers of incredible flavor. For an interesting twist, try substituting the adobo sauce with a homemade marinara sauce for a unique Italian-inspired grilled turkey!!

Another reason to love this recipe is how quick and easy it is. Using thinner turkey cutlets makes for ideal grilling – they’ll be cooked through in a flash, roughly around 10 minutes on the grill. The result is tender, juicy turkey perfect for enjoying on its own or adding to your favorite dishes.

This recipe is incredibly versatile! The grilled turkey breast can stand alone as your main protein or be transformed into countless delicious meals. Slice it up for tacos, salads, quesadillas, or pile it high on sandwiches. 

What to Serve With These Spicy Turkey Breast

While the turkey is cooking on the grill, you can easily whip up some delicious side dishes to serve alongside your grilled masterpiece. Here are a few of my favorites to pair with the spicy turkey:

  • Kale & Chickpea Salad: The light, refreshing flavors and textures of a kale and chickpea salad balance the heat of the turkey perfectly.
  • Smokey Cheesy Grilled Corn: Grilled corn on the cob is a summer classic, and adding a smoky, cheesy topping makes it even better!
  • Arugula, Chickpea & Pasta Salad: This hearty salad combines peppery arugula, chickpeas, and pasta – a delicious and satisfying side that goes great with anything grilled.

Is Turkey Breast a Lean Meat?

Yes, turkey breast is considered a lean meat, especially compared to other parts of the turkey like the legs and thighs. White meat, as in the breast of a whole turkey, is naturally lower in fat and calories. This makes turkey breast an excellent alternative for anyone looking to incorporate lean protein into their diet.

What are the Health Benefits of Choosing Turkey?

Choosing turkey as your protein source can provide a variety of health benefits. Here are some of the main reasons it’s considered a healthy choice:

  • Lean Protein: Turkey is high in protein content while being relatively low in fat and calories, making it exceptional for muscle building and weight management.
  • Nutrient-Dense: It’s rich in several essential nutrients like iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins, all important for maintaining good health.
  • Low Cholesterol: Compared to some red meats, turkey has lower cholesterol levels, which can support heart health.
  • Antioxidants: Turkey contains selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against cell damage and strengthens the immune system.
  • Versatility: Turkey can be used in numerous recipes and can often be a delicious substitute in higher-fat dishes like chili, tacos, and even burgers.

Overall, including turkey in a balanced diet offers a wide range of nutritional benefits.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving (approximately 4 oz):

  • Calories: 120-160 (will vary slightly based on marinade)
  • Protein: 25-30 grams
  • Fat: 1-6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: Negligible (may have small amounts from marinade)

Vitamins & Minerals

  • Excellent source of B vitamins (niacin, B6)
  • Good source of Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium

Important Notes:

  • These values are approximate. Actual nutrition may vary based on the size of turkey cutlets, the amount of marinade absorbed, and the type of oil used.
  • This recipe is a healthy source of lean protein and several essential nutrients.

Grilled Spicy Turkey Breast

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: MealsCuisine: Southwestern-inspired


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Here is the recipe ingredients, and instructions. Print the recipe for your ease.


  • 4 turkey breast cutlets, about 1 inch thick

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (adjust for heat level)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Optional: Fresh cilantro for garnish


  • Prep the turkey: Butterfly or pound turkey cutlets to 1-inch thickness.
  • Marinade: Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, honey, minced garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and salt. Pour over turkey in a dish or ziplock bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.
  • Grill: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (450°F). Grill turkey 2.5-3 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Rest and Serve: Remove turkey from grill and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!


  • Marinating Time: The longer the turkey marinates, the more flavorful it will be. Overnight is ideal, but at least two hours is necessary.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the number of chipotle peppers and amount of adobo sauce to control the heat level.
  • Serving Suggestions: Enjoy as-is, or slice and use in tacos, salads, quesadillas, and more!
  • Leftovers: Store leftover turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

For an Asian-inspired Twist: Swap the chipotle and adobo for soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and a touch of honey for sweetness. This Asian marinade for turkey breast offers a completely different, yet equally delicious flavor experience!

Expert Tips on Grilled Turkey Breasts

Grilling turkey breasts to their delicious, healthy best is all about technique! As a lean protein source, there are certain tips to ensure success every time:

  • Start with the Right Temperature: A general rule of thumb is to cook turkey breasts in a 350-375 °F (190 °C) range. Using a grill rack ensures your turkey cooks perfectly without getting dry.
  • Use a Grill Rack: Place the turkey on a grill rack for even cooking and to prevent sticking.
  • Try Indirect Heat: This means placing the turkey on the grill grates away from the direct heat zone (either by turning off burners on a gas grill or moving lit coals to one side of your charcoal grill, creating a zone for indirect heat)
  • Monitor with a Thermometer: The most reliable way to ensure your turkey is cooked through is to use an internal thermometer. Check the thickest part of the breast, aiming for 165 °F for fully cooked poultry.
  • Rest the Meat: Allow the turkey to rest for 5–10 minutes after removing it from the grill. This lets the juices redistribute, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful finished product.

Can You Freeze Cooked Turkey Breast?

Absolutely! Freezing cooked turkey breast is a great way to extend the shelf life of your leftovers and have a convenient protein source on hand for future meals. Here are some tips:

  1. Allow Turkey to Cool: Before freezing, let the cooked turkey breast cool down completely to room temperature.
  2. Divide into Portions: Consider the amount you’re likely to use in future meals and divide the turkey accordingly. This makes it easier to defrost exactly the amount you need.
  3. Use Freezer-Safe Containers: Choose airtight freezer-safe containers or bags to store your turkey. Remove excess air from the container or bag and seal tightly.
  4. Label and Date: Clearly label the container with the date and contents. In this way, you can track how long it has been stored.
  5. Freeze: Place the turkey in the freezer and consume within approximately 6 months for best quality.

When ready to use, defrost the frozen turkey in the refrigerator overnight or use your microwave’s defrost setting. For safe defrosting, avoid leaving your turkey out at room temperature. This can lead to harmful bacteria growth. Enjoy your defrosted turkey in various dishes!

Ways to Use Leftover Spicy Turkey Breast

Don’t let those flavorful leftover spicy turkey breasts go to waste! Keep leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3-4 days for optimal freshness. The smoky, sweet flavor of the leftover cutlets lends itself to so many delicious second-round dishes!

Slice the turkey thinly and toss it into a salad for a boost of protein. Or layer it onto a sandwich with your favorite cheese, avocado, and tomato for a satisfying lunch inspired by your summer cookout.

If you have a garden bursting with fresh tomatoes and corn, chop the turkey and turn it into a hearty main dish. This combination is especially delicious with a creamy avocado or ranch dressing.

Craving something cheesy and comforting? Substitute leftover spicy turkey in place of traditional ground beef for quesadillas or a pile of nachos.

Side Dishes for Grilled Turkey Breast

  • Black Bean & Corn Salsa: This vibrant salsa adds a cool and refreshing counterpoint to the heat of the turkey. Enjoy it with tortilla chips or use it to top your grilled creation.
  • Mango Salsa with Cucumber & Tomato: This salsa offers a sweet and tangy twist, balancing the smoky spice of the turkey. It’s also packed with fresh, juicy flavors.
  • Creamy Mac & Cheese Souffle: This decadent side dish provides a rich and creamy contrast to the lighter turkey. It’s pure comfort food perfection!
  • Easy Cheesy Potatoes: These tender, cheesy potatoes are a classic pairing for grilled meats. These potatoes are so easy to prepare and everyone loves them!

These side dishes create a delicious balance of textures and flavors, perfectly complementing your grilled turkey breast and ensuring a satisfying meal.


Grilled spicy turkey breast is a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional grilled favorites. Its blend of smoky chipotle, sweet honey, and tangy lime is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Plus, turkey’s lean protein and rich nutrients make it a satisfying choice. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or craving a flavorful weeknight meal, this recipe delivers on taste, ease, and versatility!


Frequently Asked Questions

Are turkey chops the same as turkey cutlets?

While similar, they’re not exactly the same. Both are thin, sliced boneless cuts of turkey that cook quickly. However, turkey chops often include a small piece of rib bone, while cutlets are completely boneless. They can often be found in the same meat section of your grocery store and used interchangeably with slight adjustments to cooking time.

Would this marinade also work on a whole turkey breast??

Absolutely! This spicy marinade would work beautifully on an entire grilled turkey breast. You’ll just need to increase the marinade amounts and allow for a longer marinating time. Follow the grilling instructions for a full turkey breast.

What temperature should turkey cutlets be cooked to?

For food safety, all poultry, including turkey cutlets, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees °F (74 °C). Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast for accurate readings.

How can I adjust the spice level of this marinade?

You can easily customize the heat level of your marinade! For extra spice, add more chipotle peppers – you could use the complete can along with plenty of adobo sauce. If you want just a mild tingle, use a very small amount of chipotle and cut back on the adobo sauce.

How long should I grill turkey breast for?

Grill the turkey breast using indirect medium heat with the lid closed.  The skin should be golden, and the internal temperature should reach 160-165 ºF (74 °C) in the thickest part of the breast, not touching the bone. This can take around 1 ½ hours.

How can I ensure my grilled turkey breast stays juicy?

Turkey breast, although a lean and healthy protein, can be difficult to keep juicy when grilling. Using a bone-in breast can prevent it from drying out on the grill. Additionally, applying a mop sauce throughout the grilling process provides flavor and helps moisten the meat.

Do you flip a turkey when grilling?

Cook the turkey breast with indirect heat, on a roasting pan over the unlit side of the grill. About halfway through the cooking process, carefully flip the turkey over for even cooking.

At what temperature is turkey grilled?

There isn’t a specific grilling temperature, but maintaining a 350-375 °F (190 °C) range is ideal. However, the most important factor is the internal temperature of the cooked turkey.  For food safety, the minimum internal temperature should be 165 °F (74 °C) in the thickest part of the meat, including the thigh and the center of any stuffing. A whole turkey roast may need to reach 165 °F in the thickest part of the thigh for optimal flavor and texture.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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