Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets

by Marla on November 17, 2011 · 47 comments

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Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Raise your hand if you are not cooking a BIG Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Don’t be shy. This recipe is for any time of year anyway…

The holidays can be awfully intimidating especially when you don’t feel the need, want or desire to cook up a giant meal. Relax. That is OK. There are quick, easy and delicious solutions for you. No need to miss out on all the fun. Just improvise. You can still dig in to holiday foods. Just in smaller portions.

There is so much emphasis on making the perfect holiday meal. I am here to tell you that all is GREAT no matter how you slice it and cook it up.

You can still make enough cutlets for everyone’s favorite leftovers

Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Perhaps you are the only meat eater in a home of vegans. Maybe you just moved into a new home and all you can dig out is a sauté pan. Maybe you are a couple with a newborn baby who keeps you up around the clock. Your relatives all live 3000+ miles away. You are a couple whose children are grown and grand babies all live far. Maybe you will be at a restaurant for the big day..but you still want to cook something.

Trust me on this, roasting a whole turkey is not as hard as it seems. The payoff is huge. But don’t kick yourself if you can’t do it this year. That is the whole point of this post.

Do what you can with whatever resources and time you have.

Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets | FamilyFreshCooking.com

I love the word cutlets. It implies little and cute. Cut-let. I am going to say that over and over again. Because I can.

Cutlet also suggests, quick and easy. What I like about pan searing is the crispy outside and delicately cooked inside. The juices are sealed in when meat is cooked in a pan over a high heat.

With the abundance of holiday recipe development going on here, these cutlets have been enjoyed in everything from salads to pasta, shredded into quinoa and used in all kinds of sandwiches too. Let’s be sure you try my recipe for Brown Butter Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes too. That is what is in those cute little Le Creuset Mini Cocottes.

Stay tuned for more holidays recipes and what to do with all of those leftovers!

Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 4-8 servings

Serving Size: 1 cutlet

Quick Pan Seared Turkey Cutlets


  • 1 - 2 pounds (4-8 pieces) Turkey Cutlets (they should be nice and thin)
  • Olive Oil
  • Season with
  • Sea Salt
  • Garlic Powder (or Garlic Sea Salt)
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Optional
  • Smoked Paprika
  • a few pinches Dried Thyme, Oregano or your favorite spice blend


  • Put a few splashes of oil in a large sauté pan or a cast iron skillet. Heat over high heat. Season your turkey cutlets and carefully place in the hot pan. Let cook a few minutes on each side. The outside should be nicely browned and the inside fully cooked and opaque. Cook in batches. Let rest a few minutes before serving. Season with any additional fresh or dried spices.

Turkey Cutlets Recipe Links


{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa November 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Perfect with that puree!




2 Wenderly November 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Yummy. Love the idea! And I agree… *cutlet* is a sweet word. I may just start saying *cute-let*. :)


3 Lucy November 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I’m all about keeping it small and simple – I roast a chicken, tell the kids it’s a small turkey and everyone wins.


4 Marla November 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Lucy, I love that!! I am trying to decide how to “handle” things next week. The chicken is sounding very nice right now.


5 Cassie [Bake Your Day] November 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

These sound wonderful, Marla. That sear on them is making my mouth water!


6 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I love that you are mentioning cutlets. Being that I don’t eat turkey and we have no family within 3000 miles of here…whatever I do make is for Scott and Skylar if she wants but she’s 4. Therefore Scott doesn’t need a whole turkey so I buy a turkey breast and make that. So much easier than doing a whole turkey! I love that you are all about keeping things EASIER!!

And congrats on your recent TS accept. I was over there looking at submissions and saw yours. Beautiful :)


7 Marla November 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Averie! I need to take a gander at Tastespotting & Foodgawker. Been a while since I have buzzed around. Will do so now! You are right, this sort of quick & simple recipe is great for a small family like yours…especially since you cook but do not eat meat.


8 HeatherChristo November 17, 2011 at 6:44 pm

This is a great recipe Marla-When I was younger we would occasionally have a small Thanksgiving. We often just roasted a Turkey breast- this would have been an ideal recipe for those years. It also seems like a wonderful weeknight dinner.


9 Marla November 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Heather, it is all in the simplicity. I almost felt silly posting this & then I thought why the heck not. Sometimes people need to take pleasure in the little things. This is the perfect meal for any time of the year. Of course searing any protein is always delish!


10 Nancy@acommunaltable November 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Great alternative Marla. If it’s just your immediate family for Thanksgiving you could also roast a turkey breast – you get the “feel” of a full turkey, a carcass to make soup with and great leftovers!!


11 Marla November 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Nancy, that is so very true. My hubs and I war just talking about that. Love that carcass for soup stock.


12 susan November 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

turkey cutlets are one of our favorites. I make them into a picatta and it’s always a big hit.


13 Marla November 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Susan, we love picatta sauce too. Butter, olive oil, lemon & capers are a dreamy combo :)


14 The Healthy Hostess November 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Great recipe Marla! Perfect with anything from roasted squash to salad and cranberry sauce!
Thanks girl!


15 Kathryn November 18, 2011 at 1:27 am

Oh I love these! Obviously we don’t have thanksgiving over here but maybe I will have these for dinner next Thursday anyway!


16 Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray November 18, 2011 at 5:28 am

These sound great–and they look gorgeous!


17 Diane November 18, 2011 at 6:09 am

We don’t celibrate thanksgiving in France but I don’t ever cook turkey at Christmas any more. For a number of years we have had a salmon, though one year I did do duck breasts. With only 2 of us……… Diane


18 Maria November 18, 2011 at 6:34 am

Perfect for Turkey Day!


19 Esi November 18, 2011 at 7:35 am

We’re doing a potluck which alleviates the pressure of one person being in charge of everything. Love this smaller scale dinner!


20 aida mollenkamp November 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

Marla – This is such a smart idea for those who are having a smaller Thanksgiving celebration!


21 Angie November 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

Dearest Marla! Thank you for recognizing all the people who have no reason to cook a huge turkey. There are many people who do not live near family, or are older and single and living on their own, students, newly divorced, or new to town. I would like to ask everyone who reads your blog to look around and see if anyone knows someone who will be lonely this thanksgiving and invite them to your table.
It doesn’t matter if you serve a huge turkey or a simple yummy dish like these turkey cutlets! Cook it with love and be grateful for all your blessings!


22 Marla November 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hi Angie! I am so glad you could identify with this post. It is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and not putting too much pressure on your self. I hope you guys have an AMAZING Thanksgiving. No matter how big or small it is :) XXOO


23 Diane {Created by Diane} November 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

oh yum, they look great!!


24 zerrin November 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm

These absolutely looks yummy! We don’t have thanksgiving here, but we love turkey too! I love the implication of the word cutlet. I’ve never realized that.


25 Charissa November 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Haha, cutlets…that’s one word I’ve never actually liked. Makes me think of veal. And I hate veal. Maybe in a round about way, that’s why! 😉

But you make it all cute sounding…


26 Marla November 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Charissa, I get that. I used to associate “cutlets” with veal too. So many ways to see them now….. Have a great Thanksgiving girl!


27 jennifer @ peanut butter and peppers November 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This year it’s just my Husband and I for Thanksgiving, he wants the whole Thanksgiving ordeal, but thats easy when he sits his butt on the couch and I stand in the kitchen for 6 hours, so not worth it for just the two of us. I made Thanksgiving for just the two of us last year and I threw out 3/4’s of the food. He will only eat Turkey leftovers. This year he only wants mashed potatoes, turkey and bread. I like the stuffing and butternut squash side dish, so needless to say I make it all. I asked him if we could just go out this year, (no answer yet) and suggested making pieces of Thanksgiving meals, one each night so he gets his fix and instead of Turkey a small Chicken Roast. We’ll see how it goes.


28 Marla November 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Jennifer, I hope you get through the holidays with as little stress as possible. It does not feel good to toss out that much food. Perhaps you can keep the focus on smaller portions :) Good luck my friend! xo


29 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

That’s one delicious looking cutlets! Great idea, Marla :)


30 Georgia Pellegrini November 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Wonderful idea. I was given a whole turkey for a show recently and since there’s only 2 of us it was more of a burden than a gift to have to figure out what to do with all that meat! Sometimes less is less stressful ; )


31 Marla November 19, 2011 at 5:44 am

I remember reading about that big turkey the two of you got. The leftovers are good for a few days but then they need to be tossed. I guess you could cook up big batches of turkey curries, chili and such to freeze. But then you would have no life outside the kitchen for a few days. Think I would opt for the toss 😉


32 Kalyn November 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Sounds like a simple but delicious way to cook turkey cutlets!


33 Jeanette November 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Nice simple idea for a smaller turkey dinner. I made some cornish hens as part of a dinner for a family this week, haven’t made them in years (I was actually looking for a turkey breast, couldn’t believe there were none to be found) but they are also a nice holiday alternative to turkey. I agree with Angie’s comment. One of the families at our church is opening their home to people who are by themselves this Thanksgiving. After all, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is definitely meant to be spent with friends and family.


34 Marla November 19, 2011 at 5:42 am

Jeanette, it is so nice when people open their homes up to other folks. It is also nice to enjoy quiet, thankful sweetness in a small family setting. Either way…it is all about being thankful, grateful and enjoying some kind of feast. I have never made cornish hens, but I hear a lot of people make those little birds a holiday family tradition. Bet they are super tasty…not much in the line of leftovers though. I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving. Bet you are so excited to have your son back home from college :)


35 Kristi Rimkus November 18, 2011 at 9:22 pm

What a terrific meal for folks who don’t want to fuss with the whole turkey, or for those of us going to someone else’s house for the holiday and won’t have leftovers to enjoy the next day!


36 Joanne November 19, 2011 at 4:58 am

my family WILL be having a huge turkey but I think they’d probably be more successful just cooking some of these turkey cutlets! That seared outside looks fabulous.


37 Marla November 19, 2011 at 5:39 am

Joanne, you are always one for the subtleties :) Little can be very good…


38 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] November 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I certainly wouldn’t mind making this for a nice dinner at home for me and my BF one of these chilly nights. Thanks for the recipe, Marla!


39 Kristina Vanni November 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Great idea! Plus it is a way to have a thanksgiving-type meal anytime of year!


40 Georgia Pellegrini November 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Great suggestion, Marla! I like keeping the options open for Thanksgiving..


41 Angie November 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I love this so simple and easy!


42 bridget {bake at 350} November 23, 2011 at 10:13 am

those are so beautiful looking cutlets! :) Happy Thanksgiving, Marla!


43 Wendie October 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I made this tonight……thank you for such a nice and simple receipe. I did a small pre-Thanksgiving dinner…..I’m craving turkey and this was just great with the “cutelets!!”
Thanks again…..new to cooking and always looking for something that seems like I stayed in the kitchen all day!! :)


44 Perth Kitchens September 3, 2013 at 1:35 am

Very interesting! I’m going to try this tonight with the turkey breast steaks I bought last night. I’m a little worried about them drying out, however this recipe has instilled some confidence in pan frying them.


45 Beth December 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Do you buy a turkey breast and cut and pound out for a cutlet? Thanks for all you do, teach, photograph.


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