The most tender and deliciously seasoned crockpot turkey breast. Perfect for smaller holiday get togethers or to have turkey ready for lunches and salads during the week.
This is THE turkey recipe if you want something low maintenance (like seriously very little work), easy to do, one dish to clean up, and just about zero percent chance of a dried out turkey. Dried out turkey is always a huge concern for many people when cooking turkey in the oven. It’s easy to over-cook it! But in a slow cooker? Nope. It comes out super moist, delicious, and flavorful. Literally it falls off the bones it’s so super tender. This crockpot turkey breast is a recipe you’ll definitely want for Thanksgiving, but you’ll also want to use it year round! Think on sandwiches, salads, meal prepping…
Now, you won’t get that super pretty crisp skin by cooking a turkey in the crockpot and you can’t fit super huge turkey breasts in the crockpot, but it is great for a smaller get togethers OR if you are serving other meats (ham) alongside your turkey. It also makes some of the best turkey for sandwiches and salads as it shreds super well. The past few years the husband and I have always cooked a turkey in the oven and been very traditional about the whole thing, but after one taste of this turkey we are never going back. Crockpot turkey breast OR bust!
A few quick “crockpot turkey” notes. Be sure that your turkey is 100% thawed out before putting it in the crockpot. This does take some planning and preparation as a turkey will generally need to sit in the fridge for 1-2 days (a 5-7 pound turkey) to get fully thawed out.
Here are some quick notes on making sure your crockpot turkey breast turns out perfectly:
- Safely thaw your frozen turkey. You can do this one of two ways (1) thaw it in the refrigerator (allow 24 hours in the refrigerator for every 4-5 pounds of turkey); or (2) thaw the turkey in cold water (allow 30 minutes for each pound of turkey). The second option is faster but requires a lot more attention so it’s thawed safely. To keep the turkey thawing safely, keep the turkey in its original wrapping and then put it in a larger plastic bag. Squeeze out any air and seal the bag. Place the sealed bag breast-down into a bucket or sink. Fill the sink or bucket with cold water and place some cans on top of the turkey to keep it submerged. Make sure that the turkey is completely submerged. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the water very cold. Cook the turkey IMMEDIATELY after thawing. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
- Once the turkey is in the crockpot, have a food thermometer ready to check. A turkey is done when the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees F. I pull my turkey out at 160 degrees as it will cook those extra 5 degrees as it’s sitting.
- Prepare the gravy. Follow the directions on the included gravy package, if your turkey came with one, or make some from scratch using the notes in the recipe. You can also make a gravy ahead of time by following this recipe.
- Let the turkey rest for about 10 minutes before carving into it. Tent it with foil to keep it nice and warm!
I highly recommend a bone-in turkey breast just because of the flavor you’ll get from it. And speaking of flavor, why do I remove the skin? Well, it’s totally personal preference. You can leave the skin on (and many people swear by the flavor the skin on a turkey brings to the meat). However, it doesn’t crisp up in the slow cooker so I find it a bit unappetizing. But if you’re someone that loves the skin on, you can always leave it on and then BROIL the turkey after its cooked. To do that: preheat your broiler to high. Place the turkey breast in an oven safe dish and broil for 2-6 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Watch CAREFULLY as it can go from perfect to burned in a hurry.
The most tender and deliciously seasoned crockpot turkey breast.
- 1 (5-6 pounds) bone-in turkey breast completely thawed
- 5 stalks celery
- 2 yellow onions
- ~12-15 baby carrots
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons butter separated
- 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Make sure the turkey breast is completely thawed -- this can take 1-2 days in the fridge so be prepared. It isn't food safe to thaw a turkey in the crockpot. See notes in the post for more details about thawing your turkey breast. Pat the turkey down with paper towels.
- Spray a large crockpot (I use a 6 quart crockpot) with nonstick spray.
- Place the celery at the bottom. Cut one yellow onion into large chunks and add it to the bottom. Add the baby carrots. Pour the chicken broth on top.
- Cut off the skin of the turkey breast (OR leave it on, whatever you prefer -- see last paragraph of blog post for more notes on this)
Place the turkey breast, BREAST DOWN on top of the vegetables. Make sure the turkey is ELEVATED on top of the onion/vegetables.
- Cut the other onion in half and place inside the turkey with 4 tablespoons butter.
- Stir together all of the seasonings and rub all over the turkey. If leaving the skin on, make sure to rub the seasonings under the skin.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and, using a pastry brush, brush it all over the turkey.
Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 1 hour and then low for 5-7 hours or until the turkey's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Remove the turkey from the crockpot and turn so it is breast up.
- Start by removing the wishbone and then remove all the other bones. Take the large pieces of meat and slice them.
TO MAKE GRAVY: Strain everything from the crockpot out into a large bowl (press down the veggies to extract all the flavor/liquid). Measure that liquid (you should have right around 2 cups) and then set aside. In a large saucepan, add 4 tablespoons butter and melt. Whisking constantly, add in 4 tablespoons white flour. Gradually add in the strained liquid from the crockpot, whisking constantly. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings needed. Serve warm with the turkey.
Here are some more delicious recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu: