Crockpot turkey breast cooked effortlessly in a slow cooker. This is an easy dinner option when you’re feeding small gatherings and don’t need a whole turkey!
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Cooking turkey breast in the slow cooker is an easy option when you’re not in the mood to roast an entire turkey for Thanksgiving. A tender and juicy turkey breast can be easily made for smaller holiday gatherings in a Crock-Pot.
Using a savory spice rub to coat the meat instantly adds a punch of flavor to the poultry without the need for a marinade. The low and slow cooking process allows the protein to cook gently without becoming dry. If you love lean slices of turkey, this meal is designed for you.
Choose a boneless turkey breast with skin on. Bone-in turkey breast can be used as well. However, cooking times may be slightly longer. A whole turkey may need to be purchased and cut depending on the availability of just breast meat at the grocery store. Choose at least a 16-pound whole turkey to yield a 1 ½ to a 2-pound breast.
A blend of salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and garlic powder is mixed with olive oil to create a paste and rubbed onto both sides of the meat for maximum flavor transfer. If you have time to plan ahead, you can brine the turkey breast beforehand to infuse more flavor and increase the juiciness.
I find it best to use the LOW setting for this slow cooker turkey breast recipe to prevent the meat from drying out. Adjust the cooking time if the portion is smaller or larger than 2 pounds. Check for the proper doneness temperature using a meat thermometer, targeting around 160°F (71°C). This will allow for carryover cooking to reach 165 degrees after resting.
Optionally, right before serving the turkey, transfer it to the oven and broil. This process helps crisp the skin to add another layer of texture and deepens the color to a golden brown.
Making a turkey gravy
The turkey breast is cooked on a bed of onions, garlic, and rosemary. This adds aromatics to the protein, and the turkey juices simmer with these ingredients to make a flavorful homemade gravy. The gravy is a must, especially when there are so many incredible flavors just sitting at the bottom of the slow cooker.
Simply strain the juices and separate them from the vegetables. Then make a quick pan sauce using a roux as a thickener for the gravy. Trust me, the gravy is delicious, and it will be hard to resist drizzling it all over your meal.
Side dishes to serve
Frequently asked questions
Always cook a turkey breast in the Crockpot on low setting. The lean protein can dry out quickly, especially for thicker and larger breasts on the high setting.
It’s best to defrost the turkey before slow cooking. This will make cooking the turkey breast in the crock pot more effective from time and evenness. This also prevents the outer meat from drying out because the center is gradually thawing.
Can frozen turkey breast be cooked in the Crockpot?
It’s best to thaw the turkey before adding it to the Crockpot. Due to the thickness of the poultry, if it’s frozen when placed into the unit, it can reduce the efficiency of the moist-heat cooking process by lowering the temperature in the vessel. This can also increase the cooking time and food safety risk if the turkey is not fully cooked.
Crock Pot Turkey Breast
- 2 pounds turkey breast, boneless, skin on
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, 1" dice
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Dry the Surface – Place turkey breast on a sheet pan and dry it with paper towels.
- Make the Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil. Spread the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the turkey breast.
- Cook the Turkey – Sprinkle garlic cloves, onions, and rosemary evenly over the bottom of a 6-quart sized slow cooker. Place the turkey breast inside.Cover and cook on the Low setting for 3 hours. Cook until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (171ºC). Check at 2 ½ hours and continue to cook as needed.
- Rest the Meat – Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and place it on a carving board. Cover with foil to keep warm. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Optionally, for crispy skin, see the notes on broiling. Meanwhile, make the gravy.
- Make a Gravy – Strain the contents of the slow cooker into a bowl, reserving only the juices. It should yield about ½ cup of liquid. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan and then whisk in the flour. Once a pale roux forms, turn the heat up to medium-high. Gradually whisk in the reserved turkey juices and ½ cup of chicken stock. Continuously stir until thickened. Add more chicken stock as needed until the desired consistency is reached. Season gravy with salt and pepper.
- To Serve – Slice the turkey and serve with gravy.
- Cook Times: Use the low setting for all sizes of boneless turkey breast. Check doneness at the shortest time. Add more time to reach 160ºF (171ºC). More time may be needed for bone-in breast.
- Under 2 pounds: Cook 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours
- 2 to 3 pounds: Cook 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours
- 3 to 4 pounds: Cook 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours
- 4 to 5 pounds: Cook 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours
- 5 to 6 pounds: Cook 5 ½ to 6 ½ hours.
- For Crispy Skin: Set the oven to broil. Place the turkey on a foil-lined sheet pan about 12-inches away from the top. Brush with olive oil or melted butter. Cook until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep a close eye that the skin does not burn.
- Storing: Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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