This slow cooker turkey breast recipe takes a lot of pressure off any holiday dinner. It also frees up your oven space for other dishes you’ll want to serve.
Trying to coordinate everything that goes into the oven can be a daunting task. The whole thing is made so much easier when you use your slow cooker, and you wind up with succulent turkey that everyone will enjoy.
You’ll love how easy this method is. I typically cook my turkey in the oven, but it takes up so much space. With the slow cooker, that’s not a problem.
Cooking the turkey in a Crock Pot is ideal for a smaller crowd. Or if you have a bigger group of people, you may want to consider cooking a whole turkey in the oven and a turkey breast in the slow cooker to make sure you have enough for everyone.
You might be a little nervous the first time you try this method of cooking a turkey. However, once you see how easy it is, it’s likely to become your favorite way.
You’ll wind up with a moist turkey that wasn’t any trouble at all.
Slow Cooker Whole Turkey
You can cook a whole turkey in the Crock Pot too. However, you’ll need to find a small enough turkey to fit in the pot of your slow cooker.
The size of your slow cooker makes a big difference in how big of a turkey you can cook in it. That’s why I have several sizes of slow cookers.
The Crock Pot I used will hold up to a 12 pound turkey. When I cook anything larger than that, it has to go in the oven.
However, you might have a slow cooker that’s quite a bit bigger than mine. So measure the space inside the pot and find a turkey that fits.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Ingredients
I like to season my turkey before putting it in the slow cooker so the flavor will cook into it. If there’s another seasoning you enjoy, please add it to the recipe.
The goal is to have a flavorful turkey in the end. Whether you have a small family or a large crowd, the best part about cooking turkey is that you have some flexibility.
Here are the ingredients for my slow cooker turkey breast:
- Turkey breast (of course)
- Diced onion
- Thyme (fresh or dried)
- Minced garlic
- Oil (olive oil or avocado oil)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt (kosher salt, table salt, or Himalayan pink salt)
- Black pepper
Other ingredients you might want to add are orange juice, pineapple juice, rosemary, seasoned salt, Cajun seasoning, ground cayenne, or whatever else you like.
I’ve added a printable recipe card to the bottom of this post for your convenience.
Preparing to Cook a Turkey in a Crock Pot
My slow cooker recipe takes a lot of pressure off making one of the most celebrated meals of the year. I love the fact that my Crock Pot does most of the work and frees me up to prepare the rest of the food.
I have an oval slow cooker that’s a 7 quart Crock-Pot. As I mentioned, I’m able to fit up to an 8 pound turkey breast or a 12 pound whole turkey in it.
If you cook a whole bird, you’ll need to tuck the legs underneath to make it fit.
My turkey breast was bone-in, but you can also cook a boneless turkey breast using the same method.
The turkey breast I used for this recipe was 6 pounds. There was a little extra room on the sides, and that’s okay.
I like to get everything ready in advance. That includes all the chopping and mixing.
Chop the onions and set them aside in a bowl. Then for the rub, mix the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Remove the turkey from the package and pat it dry with paper towels. That enables the oil and rub mixture to stick.
Spray the bottom of the slow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray or just coat it with your favorite oil. That keeps stuff from sticking.
How to Make a Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Sprinkle the diced onions, minced garlic, and thyme into the Crock Pot. You can also add whole garlic cloves if you want, but I normally don’t.
Spread the onions, garlic, and thyme out as evenly as possible. This serves 2 purposes: to flavor the turkey and to hold it up a little bit from the bottom.
Next, drizzle the oil over the turkey and rub it all over. Then sprinkle the dry spice rub over it. Pat it with your hands.
Gently place the turkey in the Crock Pot. You can add a little bit of turkey or chicken stock to the pot, but it’s not necessary. I don’t, but I know that some people do.
Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat on low. Cooking for a long time on a low temperature allows the turkey to cook all the way through without overcooking the outside.
Cook the turkey breast for 6 hours. When it’s done, the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.
The cooking time can vary slightly, based on the size of the turkey. The best way to check the temperature is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
Remove it from the pot and place it in a baking pan. Tent it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
If you plan to make gravy, use some of the juices from the bottom of the Crock Pot. The seasonings you added at the beginning will give you some delicious results.
Since slow cooking meat doesn’t typically brown the skin, you can either slice it now and now worry about how it looks or stick it under the broiler to brown it.
Simply place it about 12-15 inches below the top burner in the oven and broil it for about 5 minutes.
Keep a close eye on it because once the turkey skin starts to brown, it goes quickly.
Since you want crispy skin that’s not burned, remove it from the oven as soon as it reaches a golden brown color. Slice it and enjoy!
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner
Most people expect turkey for Thanksgiving. But I like it year-round. You can still call it Thanksgiving dinner because there’s always something to be thankful for.
Here are some Thanksgiving side dish recipes:
Cornbread Dressing – This delicious cornbread dressing recipe was my grandmother’s. The only difference is that I found a way to make it gluten-free. And no one can tell the difference!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce – If you like whole cranberries in your sauce, you’ll love this one. It’s super easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious!
Turkey Gravy – This is the best gravy for anyone who follows a gluten-free diet. What I like about it is that other people who eat it have said it’s wonderful.
Green Bean Casserole Deluxe – One small adjustment to the traditional recipe adds a festive touch.
Squash Casserole – This is probably one of the most requested recipes I have after people try it.
Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole – A Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without a sweet potato casserole with lots of marshmallows. The pecans add crunch and even more flavor to this already delicious dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Here’s a super easy side dish to add to your Thanksgiving table.
Easy to Make Soft Dinner Rolls – Don’t forget the bread! Slather some butter on these soft dinner rolls from Back to My Southern Roots for a real treat!
Broccoli Slaw – Lots of color, crunch, flavor, and nutrition make this a favorite offering at the Thanksgiving table.
Creamy Cool Fruit Salad – Whether you call this a salad or dessert, it’s absolutely delicious! Kids and adults both like to pile their plates with creamy cool fruit salad!
Don’t forget about dessert! I like to offer a variety so everyone can have what they want.
Here are some of our favorites:
Mini Pumpkin Pies – Take a traditional pumpkin pie recipe and make it even better! These mini pumpkin pies have a nutty crust that makes them gluten-free. And everyone loves them!
Pineapple Dump Cake – The flavor of this yummy dessert is perfect after a big Thanksgiving dinner! Serve it with ice cream or whipped cream.
Pumpkin Bars – These delicious dessert bars are the perfect finishing touch for anyone who loves pumpkin!
3-Ingredient Lemon Bars – Anyone who likes a blend of sweet and tart will enjoy this dessert!
Pecan Brownie Cookies – These cookies are always a huge hit at the end of any dinner!
- One 4 to 6 pound turkey breast (or 10 pound whole turkey)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of oil (olive oil or avocado oil)
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and black pepper.
- With paper towels, pat the turkey dry so the oil and dry rub mixture will adhere to the skin.
- Rub the turkey all over with the oil. Pat the dry mixture from the small bowl over the turkey.
- Put the chopped onion, thyme, and minced garlic in the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Place the turkey in the slow cooker, on top of the onion, thyme, and garlic.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until done. Internal temperature of the turkey should be 165˚ F.
- Remove the cooked turkey from the slow cooker and place it in a shallow baking pan. Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to broil. Place the pan with the turkey on the bottom rack in the oven and broil until the skin turns brown—approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove the turkey from the oven. Slice it and enjoy!
Once the turkey is under the broiler, you need to keep a close eye on it because the browning process happens very quickly. The skin will burn if you leave it too long.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 351Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 181mgSodium 578mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 69g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.