Crock-pot turkey breast cooked effortlessly in a slow cooker. When you’re feeding a smaller group and don’t need a whole turkey, this is an easy dinner option!
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When you’re not in the mood to roast an entire turkey for Thanksgiving, slow cooking just the breast meat is an easy option. A tender and juicy turkey breast can be easily made for smaller holiday gatherings, right 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 gently cook 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. Depending on the availability of just breast meat at the grocery store, a whole turkey may need to be purchased and cut. Choose at least a 16-pound whole turkey to yield a 1 1/2 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, try brining the turkey breast beforehand to infuse more flavor and increase the juiciness.
I find it works best to use the LOW setting for this slow cooker turkey breast recipe to prevent the meat from drying out. Adjust the cooking time as needed, if the portion is smaller or larger than 2 pounds. Check for the proper doneness temperature using an instant-read thermometer, targeting around 160°F (71°C).
Right before serving the turkey transfer to the oven and broil. This process helps crisp up 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. Not only does this add aromatics to the protein, but the juices from the turkey simmer with these ingredients to make a flavorful 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.
I’d serve this with
Can frozen turkey breast be cooked in the Crockpot?
It’s best to make sure that the meat is defrosted before adding 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 through.
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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-inch dice
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Place turkey breast on a sheet pan and dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl combine paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil. Spread spice mixture evenly over both sides of the turkey breast.
- 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 165°F. Check at 2 ½ hours and continue to cook as needed.
- Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and place on a sheet pan lined with foil.
- Set oven to broil. Place the turkey inside about 12-inches away from the top. Broil until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep a close eye that the skin does not burn. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile make the 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. Slice the turkey and serve with gravy.
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