Juicy Crockpot Turkey Breast
This easy recipe for a Crockpot Turkey Breast takes just 10 minutes of prep and turns out the most tender, juicy, and flavorful turkey. And with a boneless breast, you’ll have zero stress over carving anything! This is perfect for a small Thanksgiving but also easy enough to be an everyday dinner.
This slow cooker turkey breast is one of my favorite ways to prepare turkey, because it is so easy and hands-off. A simple spice rub adds tremendous flavor, then it cooks low and slow until tender, juicy, and ready to eat with minimal fuss.
While this is dreamy for taking the stress out of holiday meals, it’s also simple enough to make on any old weeknight.
Believe me, your family will be impressed when you serve up a genuine turkey dinner “just because!” Plus, you can use the leftovers to make cozy comfort foods like turkey and dumplings or turkey pot pie, that you otherwise might enjoy just once per year.
Prefer an oven version? This oven-roasted herb turkey breast is nearly as easy and also delicious!
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
- Turkey: I use a boneless turkey breast, to avoid the need to carve, but bone-in will work too.
- Olive Oil.
- Dried Spices: Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper make a wonderfully savory spice rub that coats the turkey and imparts tons of flavor.
- Yellow onion and garlic: Both should be unpeeled.
- Fresh poultry herbs: Any combination of rosemary, sage, and thyme will work very well.
Boneless vs. Bone-in Turkey Breast
My favorite option for this crockpot recipe is a boneless, skin-on turkey breast. You can use other cuts, however, depending on your needs and preferences!
Boneless turkey breasts cook more quickly and are the easiest to slice and serve, so they are especially useful if you’re intimidated by carving, or know you’ll have no extra hands or attention at serving time.
On the downside, they are not always widely available outside of the holiday season. I can usually find them at Whole Foods, and frequently at Trader Joe’s. You can also use a boneless turkey breast roast, which is egg-shaped and comes wrapped in mesh, which you will remove before cooking.
Using a turkey breast with the skin on locks in moisture for the best texture and flavor. It also allows you to crisp up the turkey under the broiler for a delightfully crisp top that perfectly contrasts the moist, tender meat.
On the plus side for bone-in turkey breasts, they may stay juicier. They may take slightly longer to cook, depending on their total weight, so be sure to use your thermometer and check the temperature near the bone to be sure it’s a safe serving temperature.
How To Make Turkey in a Slow Cooker
This easy recipe takes just about 10 minutes to prep!
- Pat turkey dry and season. A dry turkey is easier to season. To make the spice rub, simply combine all spices and add just enough olive oil to make a thin paste. Rub that all over the turkey breast.
- Make a bed of aromatics. Arrange the quartered, unpeeled onion and garlic, together with most of the fresh herbs on the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Cook on low. It should take between four and six hours, depending on the size of your turkey and how hot your slow cooker runs. Be sure to check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer! When cooked through, the turkey should be 165 degrees F.
- Broil, if desired for crispy skin. If you have a skin-on turkey breast, I highly recommend placing it in a baking pan and under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to get a crispy browned top! When done, remove turkey, rest for 10-15 minutes, then slice.
Is it safe to cook turkey in slow cooker?
Absolutely! It is completely safe to cook turkey and other poultry in your Crockpot. One caveat: you do want to start with a fresh or fully defrosted turkey. A frozen turkey will sit for too long in an unsafe temperature range.
How long to cook a boneless turkey breast in a crockpot?
Most boneless turkey breasts are between 2-4 pounds and will cook in 4-6 hours in the crockpot. Turkey is best cooked on low to keep it as moist as possible. To know exactly when your turkey is done in the crockpot, remove the lid and insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest portion. It should read 165 degrees F.
How much turkey per person?
If buying a boneless breast, estimate approximately 8 ounces, or 1/2 pound, per guest. Increase this amount to 12 ounces, or 3/4 pound, per guest if you are using bone-in or want to be sure you have plenty of leftovers.
Storage and Reheating
Speaking of leftovers, how to keep them?
- In the refrigerator: Leftover turkey breast keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. For best results, keep the gravy separate.
- In the freezer: Leftovers can be shredded and stored in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or other container for up to 3 months. Again, keep the gravy separate.
- To reheat or reuse: If frozen, thaw turkey overnight in the fridge, then warm in the oven or in the microwave, or use directly in another recipe.
Of course this turkey is super versatile, so it goes amazingly well with all your favorite traditional sides.
- Instant Pot Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes
- Cinnamon Honey Butter Sweet Potatoes
- Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Garlic Green Beans
- Kale, Apple & Pecorino Salad
Leftover Turkey Recipes
Juicy Crockpot Turkey Breast
- 1 2-5 pound boneless turkey breast skin on preferred, see note
- 1 yellow onion quartered, unpeeled
- 8-10 cloves garlic unpeeled
- 12-15 sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, and/or thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10-12 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- olive oil
- Remove turkey from packaging and, using paper towels, pat dry all over. Snip and remove the netting, if necessary.
- Place quartered onion, garlic cloves, and sprigs of herbs in a cluster together on the bottom of your slow cooker. You want them to make a bed about the same size as your turkey breast.
- Mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add just enough olive oil to form a paste – I usually use 2-3 teaspoons. Stir together, then rub this mixture all over the top and sides of the turkey.
- Place turkey on top of the onion and herbs in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, depending on the size of your turkey. It should reach 165 degrees F in the thickest part.
- Remove from slow cooker. For a brown, slightly crisp skin, place turkey in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet, place in the oven, and broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully.
- Let the turkey rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy.
- On Turkey Size: Any size will work, really, but double the spice mixture if your turkey breast is over 4 pounds, and increase the amount of onion and garlic as needed so it has a full bed on which to rest. And adjust cooking time – a larger turkey will take longer to cook.
- Boneless vs. Skinless: A turkey with the skin removed will cook in the same way and amount of time, but will not develop a crisp exterior, so I highly recommend skin-on, which is more commonly sold anyway.
- Servings: The serving size listed here is a very general estimate. For best results, if buying a boneless breast, estimate approximately 8 ounces per guest.
If you try this Crockpot Turkey Breast, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.