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Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

With a slow cooker or crock pot, we can make the juiciest turkey breast without brining or noticing it wasn’t roasted in a traditional oven!

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Slow cooker turkey breast recipe

If you are looking for an easy and tasty way to cook turkey breast without brining, this is one of the best recipes you can find!

I love turkey breast because it’s lean and healthy, but I know it can be tricky to cook if we want it to be juicy, delicious, and moist, even when using a meat thermometer.

Fortunately, with a slow cooker or crock pot, we can make the juiciest turkey breast without brining or noticing it wasn’t roasted in a traditional oven!

The first few times I tried turkey breast, I didn’t like it. Honestly, I was disappointed by its dry meat and bland-looking skin. However, I managed to create my own version with all the tips I tried!

Today, I’m so happy to share it with you! Here’s the best slow cooker turkey breast recipe you’ll ever find!

Sliced turkey on platter

What You’ll Love This Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe

Before delving into the steps, equipment, and ingredients we need, let’s check out the reasons why I know you’ll love this recipe as much as I do!

  • If you can’t use your oven for any reason, a slow cooker can be a lifesaver!
  • You’ll have a tender, juicy, and delicious turkey breast.
  • It’s easy to make. You only need about 10 minutes of prep time!
  • You can use bone-in or boneless turkey breast.
  • It’s perfect for smaller crowds, so you can make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners or when you only want to make a few turkey sandwiches or tacos.
  • Since the recipe is very versatile, we can get different flavors just by changing a few ingredients.
  • You can also adjust this slow cooker recipe to make a turkey breast for large crowds.
  • When using this appliance, the turkey breast is cooked low and slow. Therefore, it doesn’t dry out, and it’s juicier!
  • It’s perfect for meal planning since you can prepare turkey breast ahead, store it, and use it later to make all your favorite turkey-based recipes!

Ingredients to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Are you ready to prepare a delicious and tender turkey breast using your slow cooker?

To prepare the spice rub, we also need the following ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder (some people use onion soup mix)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

To prepare the gravy, we also need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken or turkey stock/broth for topping up the liquid
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper, if necessary

How to Crisp the Turkey Breast Skin

When the turkey is cooked and cool, we should crisp the skin. If you want to try the method that I use, these are the steps you should follow:

  1. Preheat the grill or broiler to maximum temperature
  2. Place an oven shelf just 1 foot from the heat source
  3. Place the turkey breast on a heat-resistant serving dish
  4. Put the dish on the oven shelf and broil for about 4-5 minutes or until it has crispy skin – Don’t get distracted! It can get brown very fast!
  5. Serve immediately with gravy!

How to Make the Gravy

After the turkey breast cooks in the slow cooker, we can prepare the gravy! These are the steps we must follow:

  1. Strain the liquid left in the slow cooker in a measuring jug. Don’t forget to squish the garlic to extract all its delicious flavor!
  2. If it isn’t enough for two cups, top up with the turkey or chicken broth (I’ve made this recipe a million times and usually get 2 cups of liquid from a 4-lb turkey breast)
  3. Put the butter in a saucepan and bring it to medium heat
  4. When the butter is melted, add the flour and mix until both ingredients are perfectly combined
  5. Add ½ cup of liquid to the mixture, mix, and cook until a paste forms.
  6. Slowly pour in the rest of the liquid while continuing to stir (I always use a whisk to make the gravy smooth)
  7. Simmer the mixture until it thickens. I always take it off the heat before it gets as thick as I want it to because it tends to get thicker more as it cools
  8. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper if necessary
  9. Use to serve the turkey breast!

Key Notes

Do you want to get the best results when making slow cooker turkey breast? Keep these tips and notes in mind!

Brined Turkey

I have used frozen turkey breast (the one that comes in a box and we can buy at the supermarket), but it is essential to check if it’s already brined.

Some brands sell turkey breasts that are already marinated in salty water to make the meat moist when cooking.

Check the ingredient list on the box. If it says the turkey has salt, it’s brined. In that case, use only half the recommended salt!

Making Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Ahead

Turkey is best made as close as possible to serving time, as it’s so lean. However, if you want to prepare some ahead, you can cook it without crisping the skin. Once cooled, cover and store it in the refrigerator.

Reheating Turkey Breast

If you stored turkey breast made in the slow cooker and you want to reheat it, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

After that, cover the turkey breast with a cling wrap and microwave for 3 minutes on low. Then, grill or broil as explained in the instructions until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

Another option for reheating is in the air fryer.

You can also make the gravy ahead. Just reheat it in a saucepan or microwave when serving!

Cooking Time

Our turkey breast will be ready when the internal temperature reaches 165F, which often occurs after six hours of cooking.

Personally, I don’t worry too much about cooking time since slow cookers are so forgiving. Therefore, even if I cook a turkey breast for another hour, it’ll still be moist.

However, I never recommend using the highest temperature to try to save time, as this could spoil the recipe.

Liquids for the Turkey Gravy

The turkey is cooked in its own juices, so the remaining liquid is what we’ll use to make the gravy. We don’t need water to prepare this delicious recipe!

Type of Breast

To make this recipe, we can use bone-in or boneless breast. Both options are fine!

However, we must bear in mind that the bone in turkey breast can help the meat retain moisture. It could be perfect if we want it to be juicy!

I always use turkey breast with skin on it because it causes the outer fat to melt while cooking, making the turkey more flavorful, juicy, and tender.

The skin is also what will give our turkey breast that beautiful crispy golden crust that we can see in most Thanksgiving photos!

Size

One of the things I love about this recipe is that it works perfectly with any breast size!

You can find a 3-lb piece that is perfect if you want to prepare a special dinner for a few people. However, others are so large that just a turkey breast can fill the entire slow cooker.

Therefore, as long as it fits your crock pot or slow cooker, you can use a 10-lb turkey breast.

Elevate the Turkey Breast

The first time I prepared turkey breast in my slow cooker, I was surprised at how much liquid it released while cooking. I know you’ll be amazed, too!

That’s why you should use halved garlic and onions to elevate the turkey breast. Otherwise, it will be half submerged and poached in its juices, which can completely change the final result.

Garlic bulbs cut in half

What to Serve With This Dish

Many people around the world prepare turkey breast as a centerpiece for their festive banquets. Therefore, it’s the ideal companion to other Christmas or Thanksgiving dishes.

Some side dishes also go well with this turkey breast, such as traditional baked macaroni and cheese, green bean or savory sweet potato casserole with browned butter, glazed carrots, apple walnut salad, scalloped potatoes, and more!

Turkey gravy in dish

Common Substitutions for This Crock Pot Turkey Breast

If you want to make delicious and juicy turkey breast, you must use high-quality ingredients. However, I know we don’t have or can’t find some of them sometimes.

Fortunately, some substitutions can work just fine. These are some that I recommend:

Olive Oil

If you don’t have olive oil at home or you don’t like its flavor, you can use butter to make the rub. I prefer unsalted butter so I can control the flavors.

However, salted butter can also be a good option. You only have to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.

Onion

You can use any variety of onions. If you want to give your turkey breast more flavor, add other vegetables to the slow cooker, such as carrots or celery.

Herbs

Usually, I only use thyme. However, we can use any fresh or powdered herb to prepare this recipe. Rosemary, thyme, and parsley are the best options.

Broth

If you don’t have chicken or turkey broth, you can also use bone or vegetable broth. Water can also work if you don’t have to add much to top up the liquids.

Final Thoughts

Making a turkey breast in the slow cooker is easier than we think! I believe it’s one of the slow cooker recipes, and I know it will make things easier for you, especially during the holidays!

Sliced turkey on plate

FAQs

Can I Use Boneless Turkey Breast?

If you are looking for an easy-to-make recipe, I personally think bone-in, skin-on turkey breast is the best option!

The bone in turkey breast can help us have juicier meat!

However, you can also use boneless turkey breasts if you can’t find it. In this case, I recommend reducing the cooking time by at least an hour to ensure the meat stays juicy.

The only version I would never recommend is skinless boneless turkey breast. It often turns out dry!

Is a Crock Pot the Same as a Slow Cooker?

While many use both terms interchangeably, a crock pot is a type of slow cooker.

Actually, “Crockpot” is the brand that popularized slow cookers, launching the first version of this incredible tool in the 70s.

Why Shouldn’t I Cook Crock Pot Turkey Breast on High?

We must cook the turkey breast slowly for four or six hours if we want it to be juicy and moist.

If we cook it at high temperatures, the meat can dry out. That’s why slow cooking is always the best option!

Can I Cook Frozen Turkey Breasts In a Crock Pot?

Yes, of course! However, we must thaw it for at least one day before putting it in the slow cooker. Otherwise, it won’t reach the temperature we need for it to be perfectly cooked.

How Can I Store Slow Cooker Turkey Breast?

Turkey leftovers can last up to 4 days in the fridge if we use an airtight container or ziplock bag.

We can also freeze leftover turkey in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 2 months and thaw it overnight before using.

What Recipes Can I Make With Leftover Turkey?

There are many ways we can use leftover turkey breast. These are the dishes that I love to prepare with it:

  • Enchilada verde
  • Turkey pot pie
  • Tortilla soup
  • Turkey tacos
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • And more!
Yield: 8 servings

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

With a slow cooker or crock pot, we can make the juiciest turkey breast without brining or noticing it wasn't roasted in a traditional oven!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Turkey

  • 4 lb. skin-on thawed turkey breast
  • 1 yellow or white onion cut in half (I use unpeeled onion)
  • 1 garlic head or 12 garlic cloves cut in half horizontally
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Spice Rub

  • 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. onion powder (some people use onion soup mix)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the olive oil, garlic powder, and other ingredients to make the rub in a bowl and mix until they form a paste.
  2. Dry the turkey breast well with a paper towel.
  3. Brush the entire turkey breast with the rub, using most of the paste to cover the top and the side.
  4. Put the onion and garlic face down in the slow cooker.
  5. Spread the thyme and place the turkey on top of the vegetables, making sure it's elevated.
  6. Put the slow cooker on the low setting and cook the turkey breast for at least six hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165F (to check the internal temperature, just insert a meat thermometer into the middle, but this step is optional)
  7. Take the turkey breast out of the appliance and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 443Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 815mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 72g

Did you make this recipe?

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