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Trying to figure out how to cook a turkey breast for Thanksgiving (or any day)? Look no further. This Crock Pot turkey breast recipe is the best and easiest way to cook bone-in turkey breast, but there’s an option for boneless as well. The end result? Juicy, flavorful turkey — with the added bonus that slow cooker turkey breast is much less work than cooking a whole bird.
Cooking turkey breast in the Crock Pot has so many advantages. It’s easy, it’s juicy, the prep is quicker than a roasted turkey breast, and then the slow cooker does all the work. But if you need it done in less time, try air fried turkey breast or Instant Pot turkey breast instead.
Why You’ll Love This Crock Pot Turkey Breast Recipe
- Tender, flavorful, juicy turkey breast
- Herby, garlicky flavor
- Easy to make
- Works with bone-in or boneless turkey breast
- Just 10 minutes prep time
- Perfect holiday main dish for a smaller crowd
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for slow cooker turkey breast, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Turkey Breast – I used a whole bone-in turkey breast (two halves joined at the breast bone) and it was about 7 pounds. The cook time can vary a little bit if yours is larger or smaller, but the nice thing about Crock Pot turkey breast recipes is that weight variations don’t have a huge impact on the time. Boneless turkey breast will work as well, but the cook time will be faster (see below).
- Butter – For the herb butter rub. I prefer to use unsalted butter so that I can customize the amount of salt separately. If all you have is salted, you can use that and reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/8 teaspoon.
- Garlic – Mince it fresh, or get jarred minced garlic to save time.
- Fresh Herbs – Rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Feel free to substitute other fresh herbs to your liking — you’ll need 2 tablespoons total. If you want to substitute dried herbs, you’ll need 2 teaspoons total, which comes out to a scant 3/4 teaspoon measurement of each of the three, or just use 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to keep it simple.
- Spices – Sea salt, black pepper, and paprika (I used sweet paprika, but smoked paprika is also delicious). You could also make it simpler by swapping in poultry seasoning instead of the other spices. A good amount of salt is 2 teaspoons for a 7-pound slow cooker turkey breast. Adjust accordingly if yours is larger or smaller.
- Onion – Chop it into large, thick pieces. This creates a “rack” for the turkey breast to sit on, which promotes more even cooking because the turkey isn’t touching the bottom of the slow cooker. Plus, it infuses more flavor into the meat. I used a yellow onion, but white also works.
- Chicken Broth – I use reduced-sodium chicken broth in all my recipes, but you could also use regular (and might need to reduce the salt a bit) or bone broth. The extra liquid will ensure that the Crock Pot turkey breast turns out juicy.
How To Cook A Turkey Breast In A Crock Pot
This section shows how to cook a turkey breast in a slow cooker, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Make garlic herb butter. Mash together butter, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika.
- Dry the turkey breast. Use a paper towel to pat the turkey until very dry. This helps the herb butter stick… and that’s a good thing.
- Prep the slow cooker. Grease the bottom, place onions inside and pour chicken broth over it.
- Rub the turkey breast with herb butter. Place it in the Crock Pot and cover.
- Cook the turkey breast in the Crock Pot. You’ll want it to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. We’re NOT cooking to 165 degrees F, which is the typical safe temperature for poultry, because the temperature will rise more while broiling and resting. (More details below!)
TIP: Use a pastry brush to spread the butter more evenly over the turkey after it’s melted, about an hour in.
If you’re wondering why not just melt it before cooking, it’s because the butter is more prone to run off the cold turkey in the beginning, so it’s best to rub the cold butter first and spread with a brush later in the cooking process.
- Broil. Transfer the turkey into a baking dish and place under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes, until golden.
- Rest. Let the slow cooker turkey breast rest for 10 minutes before you carve it, to let the juices settle.
TIP: Save the turkey drippings!
You’ll end up with a good amount of liquid underneath the onions, which you can use as turkey broth in any recipe that calls for chicken or turkey broth (or make gravy with it).
How Long To Cook Turkey Breast In A Crock Pot?
Cooking turkey breast in a slow cooker will take about 6-7 hours on Low or 3.5-4.5 hours on High, if using bone-in turkey breast. For boneless turkey breast, cook for 5-6 hours on Low or 3-3.5 hours on High. After this, you’ll place it under the broiler to brown and the internal temperature will rise while it rests.
For best results, use a meat thermometer to check on cooking time to ensure you end up with perfectly cooked slow cooker turkey breast. You want to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F in the slow cooker, as the temperature will rise another 5 degrees while broiling and resting.
How To Carve Turkey Breast?
After cooking Crock Pot turkey breast and allowing it to rest for at least 10 minutes, it’s easy to carve it. Cut the turkey meat along both sides of the breast bone, then cut each of those halves into slices. Pull or slice off any remaining pieces of meat.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
- Reheat: You can reheat turkey breast in the slow cooker again (use the Low setting), or warm in the oven at 300 degrees F (low temperature to prevent drying it out). Either way, add some broth to the bottom of the slow cooker or baking dish, to keep the turkey juicy.
- Freeze: Once your Crock Pot turkey breast has cooled completely, place the meat (you can leave the bone in or slice it first) in a zip lock freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
There are so many great side dishes for slow cooker turkey breast recipes! Here are a few good options, both holiday and any time of year:
- Sauces – Like turkey gravy or healthy cranberry sauce.
- Starches – Mashed potatoes are the classic choice, but you could also do roasted potatoes. For healthier options, make mashed cauliflower (pictured above) or cauliflower risotto.
- Vegetables – Try easy veggies like roasted asparagus, whole roasted cauliflower, pan fried brussels sprouts, or the classic choice, roasted garlic green beans (pictured above).
- Salads – For a festive side, try a Thanksgiving salad like my sweet potato salad.
More Easy Turkey Recipes
Looking for other ways to cook turkey? Try these flavorful ways:
- Slow Cooker – You can’t make the best Crock Pot turkey breast without a slow cooker! This one is basic and affordable.
- Instant Read Thermometer– This thermometer is a must for easy slow cooker turkey breast recipes. It’s the only way to know once it’s reached proper internal temperature, and it reads in just 2 seconds with super high accuracy – which is actually important because the food can start to cool while you wait for a terrible thermometer to work.
- Basting Brush – About an hour into cooking turkey breast in the Crock Pot, use this brush to brush up some of the herb butter back on the top of the turkey.
Crock Pot Turkey Breast Recipe
Crock Pot Turkey Breast (Juicy + Fast Prep!)
Learn how to cook turkey breast in the slow cooker with this Crock Pot turkey breast recipe. It's juicy, flavorful, and super easy!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, garlic, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Use paper towels to pat the turkey VERY dry, so that the herb butter sticks better. Rub the butter all over the top and sides of the turkey breast. (It's ok if it doesn't fully spread, just pat it down as best you can.)
Grease the bottom of the slow cooker with more butter. Place the onion inside and pour the chicken broth over it. (The onion will help keep the turkey raised.) Place the turkey breast on top of the onion.
Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on Low or 3.5-4.5 hours on High, until internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) inside (it will rise another 5 degrees during broiling and resting). If you can, lift the lid about an hour into cooking and use a pastry brush to spread the herb butter more evenly over the top and sides of the turkey. (Don't use melted butter from the beginning because it will all drip off the cold turkey.)
When the turkey is done, discard the onions but save the liquid below, which you can use as turkey broth (in any recipe that calls for chicken or turkey broth).
Toward the end, preheat the broiler and place the rack close to it, with just enough room for the turkey to fit underneath. Transfer the turkey breast to a baking dish or roasting pan, and broil for 4-8 minutes, until browned. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
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Serving size: ~6-8 oz cooked turkey, or 1/6 of entire recipe
The onion is not included in nutrition info, because it’s there for flavoring and elevating the turkey meat, and is typically discarded. Serving size weight is edible portion, not including bones.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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