This slow cooker turkey breast is coated in a seasoned herb butter, then placed in the crock pot to cook to tender perfection. It’s the perfect way to free up oven space for your big holiday meal, and the turkey comes out perfect every time!
I love to make this slow cooker turkey, it’s a fuss free way to have a delicious and elegant main course. I serve my crock pot turkey with some of our favorite side dishes like Thanksgiving stuffing, Instant Pot cranberry sauce, cranberry jello salad and bacon brussels sprouts. Don’t forget the pecan pie bars and pumpkin meringue pie for dessert!
Can you believe that such a browned and succulent turkey breast can come from a slow cooker? It’s true, and it couldn’t be any easier to make. Plus there are plenty of drippings which make the best gravy. It’s great for serving a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving. My roasted cornish hen recipe also makes an amazing main course option for when you don’t want to cook a whole turkey. Need more menu inspiration? Don’t miss my list of 30 Thanksgiving appetizer recipes!
How do you make slow cooker turkey breast?
Start by mixing butter with a blend of herbs and spices. The butter goes on top of, and underneath the turkey skin. The turkey breast then goes into the crock pot and simmers all day until it’s tender and flavorful.
Line the bottom of the slow cooker with thick slices of onion, which serves as a rack to elevate the turkey breast so it doesn’t sit in a bunch of liquid. You want your onion slices to be about 1 inch thick. As a bonus, the onion flavors the cooking liquid which forms the base of the gravy.
Slow cooker turkey breast tips
- I’ve used a half breast here, but you can use a whole breast if you’re serving more people. Simply double the amount of the seasoned butter and proceed with the recipe. You will also need to increase the cook time.
- Love crispy skin? Me too. After the turkey comes out of the slow cooker, it gets broiled for a few minutes to get the skin crispy and golden brown.
- You’ll need a larger oval slow cooker to cook a turkey breast. A standard round slow cooker will not be large enough.
- I highly recommend using a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast as it will be much less likely to get dry.
- Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to spread the butter mixture evenly over the turkey. Make sure your butter is very soft, and let your turkey breast sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you start seasoning it to make the process go smoothly.
How much turkey per person?
You’ll want to count on buying one pound of turkey breast per person. If you want more leftovers, try to aim for 1 1/2-2 pounds per person.
How long does it take to cook turkey in a slow cooker?
A standard sized turkey breast will need to cook for approximately 6 hours on low heat. The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees F. If you’re using a larger or smaller turkey breast, be sure to adjust the cooking itme accordingly. I find it’s easiest to gauge when the turkey is done based on the reading of the thermometer rather than the number of hours in the crock pot.
After your slow cooker turkey breast is done, you can strain the liquid left over in the slow cooker and turn it into the best gravy. I like to serve my crock pot turkey with some amazingly delicious side dishes including
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Zucchini Gratin
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Butterflake Rolls
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Once you try making turkey in a slow cooker, you won’t want to go back to the oven roasted method!
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Video
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
For the turkey
- 6 lb bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large onion peeled and cut into 1 inch thick slices
- fresh herbs for garnish optional
- cooking spray
For the gravy
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
- Place the 4 tablespoons of butter, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir until combined.
- Loosen the skin of the turkey. Spread half of the butter mixture under the skin of the turkey and spread half all over the top of the turkey.
- Coat a large oval slow cooker with cooking spray and line the bottom of the slow cooker with the onion slices.
- Place the turkey breast on top of the onion slices. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees F.
- Transfer the turkey breast to a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler.
- Broil the turkey for 4-5 minutes or until skin is browned and crispy.
- Pour the liquid from the slow cooker through a strainer; discard the solids.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
- Cook the flour and butter mixture for 1 minute.
- Pour 1 cup of strained drippings and 1 cup of chicken broth in the pan.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes or until just thickened, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
This post was published on October 9, 2018 and was updated on November 4, 2020 with new content.