Slow cooker turkey breast is the best way to make a delicious and juicy turkey breast without using the oven. This fool-proof method is guaranteed to be your favorite way to cook turkey breast. Plus, it turns out perfect every time!
Whether you are looking to cook a smaller turkey for the holidays, or just want a simple turkey breast year round, this slow cooker turkey breast recipe is for you! While roasting a turkey can seem daunting, this simple method is fast and easy, with great results every time.
Also, be sure to check out my other classic holiday recipe for Slow Cooker Ham! Done using the same method: on the countertop in a slow cooker Crock Pot. Or, for a classic turkey, be sure to check out this tested and perfected Italian Roast Turkey recipe.For fool proof mashed potatoes, don’t miss this recipe for Ricotta Mashed Potatoes!
Got leftover turkey meat? Don’t miss this delicious and easy recipe for Turkey Orzo Soup!
Why this Recipe Works!
I like to serve this turkey breast for the holidays, because my family is more about the sides than the turkey itself. Plus, it’s less mess, simple to do, and guarantees everyone gets a piece of the white meat.
Cooking a turkey can be a stressful and messy endeavor. This method of cooking the turkey breast in a slow cooker then broiling in the oven ensures a perfect result every time.
Plus, all you gravy fans will be able to get enough juice from the cooked breast to make a delicious and easy fuss-free gravy. So you never feel like you are giving up your favorites with this recipe.
If you have a slow cooker liner, then you are able to truly make this a less mess turkey. If not, be sure to spray the inside of your slow cooker with nonstick spray before starting.
This recipe is great for the holidays, or when you are craving turkey. Plus, it makes for the most delicious turkey leftovers!
To make a slow cooker turkey breast you need:
- Boneless Turkey Breast Roast: you can usually find these in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
- Olive Oil: olive oil works better than butter in my opinion. I like the flavor it gives plus it helps to keep the turkey moist.
- Sage, Thyme & Garlic: these classic seasonings help to give the turkey lots of flavor. Fresh herbs and garlic are always best if you can find them.
- Onion: sliced onion on the bottom of the slow cooker with help lift the turkey off the bottom of the slow cooker, and adds extra flavor.
Read on to see how easy and quick this recipe comes together!
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Making a turkey breast in a slow cooker is a truly simple and delicious way of doing it. Plus, there is no prep or brining involved!
To start, remove the thawed turkey breast from its packaging. If the turkey comes in a mesh liner, cut and remove it. Pat the entire turkey breast dry using paper towels. If you turkey comes with smaller pieces, put them aside to cook another time.
Step 1: Make the olive oil seasoning that you will rub all over the turkey. This simple rub includes just garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
Step 2: Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the onion into thirds, lengthwise, and place at the bottom of the slow cooker. Rub the olive oil mixture all over the turkey breast. Get the oil under the skin as well to really infuse the flavors into the turkey meat.
Step 3: Place the turkey breast on top of the onions and set the slow cooker on low. Cover and cook for 3-5 hours, or until internal temperature of turkey is 165 degrees.
Step 4: Place the cooked turkey breast on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for a couple of minutes to crisp up the skin. This step is optional, but it will add a lot of flavor and color to the skin of the turkey.
Let the turkey rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it. You can use the excess juices from the pot to make the gravy (see instructions below). To keep the turkey warm, return it to the slow cooker on the “warm” setting.
Where to buy a turkey breast roast?
Finding turkey breast is easier during the holiday season than year round. It’s most common to find “boneless turkey breast roast” in the freezer section of the meat department at the grocery store. As it gets closer to the holidays, they can also be found in the refrigerator section with the other meats.
Costco has these Butterball turkey breast roasts in their freezer section. These packs come sealed and are lined with a mesh around the turkey. The packaging claims that there is no need to thaw or remove the mesh.
Do you need to brine a turkey breast?
Brining a turkey involves letting the bird soak in a flavored salted water solution usually 24 hours before baking. The thought behind this method is that the turkey absorbs all of those salts and flavors and thus gives the meat extra flavor.
However, using the slow cooker methods makes brining a turkey breast unnecessary. I have done this recipe both with a brine and without, and the brine doesn’t nothing for the flavor of the meat. This is especially true if you buy a bird that is already soaked in a salt water solution.
Moreover, because you are cooking the turkey in a slow cooker at a low steady temperature, you don’t risk the turkey drying out like it would in the oven. So, simply apply the seasonings, set the slow cooker, and that’s it.
However, for this slow cooker turkey breast recipe, I recommend removing the mesh around the turkey and letting it thaw ahead of time. Also, you can choose to use the gravy packet provided or follow my recipe for gravy below.
Do you need to dry rub a turkey breast?
A dry rub, is also called a dry brine, is simply pre-seasoning the turkey similar to a wet brine but without the water. The thought process here is that the salt draws out the juices of the meat making for a moister turkey. The dry rub usually sits on the turkey for 24 hours before roasting.
I find that dry rubs for a slow cooker turkey breast are unnecessary. Again, the method of cooking in a slow cooker gives the bird blend of time to release all of those delicious juices.
How long should I slow cook a turkey breast?
The amount of time to cook your turkey breast in the slow cooker depends on the size of the turkey breast. The average size of a turkey breast is about 4 pounds. It takes 4-5 hours to slow cook a turkey breast of this size on low setting.
Use a meat thermometer is test whether your turkey breast is done. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast; it should measure between 160-165 degrees.
You can see the color of the turkey hasn’t changed much. At this point, you could serve the turkey as is. Or, to get some good color on it, place it on a baking sheet and broil in the oven until the skin has crisped and it is golden brown in color.
Cover the turkey breast and let it rest before slicing. In the meantime, you can make a simple gravy using the leftover juices in the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Gravy Recipe
In a small saucepan, add ¼ cup of butter and ¼ flour over medium heat. Whisk over until the mixture is thickened and a light golden brown color.
Measure the juices from the slow cooker and add in additional chicken broth, until you have 2 cups of liquid. Pour the liquid into the saucepan. Whisk until thickened. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
Note that the longer you cook the butter and flour mixture, the darker your gravy will turn out. I prefer a lighter gravy, but you can always cook until your desired preference.
Sides to serve with slow cooker turkey breast
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
- 1 4-5 pound boneless turkey breast roast (thawed) (like Butterball)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thirds
- Remove the turkey from the bag and discard the juices. Pat the turkey dry using paper towels; set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub the oil mixture over the turkey breast including under the skin.
- Place the three large slices of onion on the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the turkey on top of the onions. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 160-165 degrees.
- Move the turkey to a baking sheet. Broil in the oven until the skin of the turkey starts to darken and turns light brown, about 5 minutes. Let the turkey sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- To make a gravy from the leftover juices in the slow cooker, heat ¼ cup of butter along with ¼ cup of flour in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Whisk until the mixture is golden in color, then measure in 2 cups of turkey liquid (add chicken stock if there is not enough liquid in the slow cooker). Bring to a low simmer and cook until just thickened. Taste for seasonings.