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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 quick and then the slow cooker does all the work. But if you need it done in less time, try air fryer turkey breast instead.
Why You’ll Love This Slow Cooker 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), cauliflower risotto, or low carb “sweet potato” casserole.
- Vegetables – Try easy veggies like roasted asparagus, whole roasted cauliflower, pan fried brussels sprouts, or the classic choice, roasted green beans (pictured above).
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
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (Juicy + Fast Prep!)
Learn how to cook turkey breast in the CrockPot with this slow cooker turkey breast recipe. It's juicy, flavorful, and super easy!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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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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This was the second year I prepared our Thanksgiving turkey in the Crock Pot. I have a large KitchenAid crock pot. I bought a 7 pound turkey as suggested in the recipe to cook. I had a terrible time getting the lid on. I would suggest a 5-6 pound turkey breast for this recipe. The turkey still turned out very tender and moist and it left my oven free to cook the other side dishes. I highly recommend this recipe and will continue to use it every year. The drippings make good gravy!!!
This was so good, really moist! I don’t really care for Turkey but I thought this was delicious. I didn’t have the onions to put on the bottom, but it still came out great. And the spices made my house smell good all day.
This is my go to Recipe- I love it! And so does my family!
This is the best turkey I have ever tasted! It was so juicy and flavorful, and I received so many compliments from my guests! I used a 3.88 lb boneless organic turkey breast. I checked the temp at three hours, and it cooked about 3 1/2 hours total to get to 160. I let it rest in the crock pot, and transferred to the broiler for 5 or so mins. Garnished w/fresh herbs and edible flowers. I will definitely make this again!
This turned much better than anticipated. So many meals prepared to take for lunches and still enough left to have in the freezer for another time. Wow I will definitely make my next turkey breast using this recipe.
Made this today for our cookie exchange gathering. Everyone loved it and wanted the reciepe. Thank you, you were the hit of the exchange. Even made some of your cookies too.
This sounds really good, I was wondering, could I make extra of the butter and herb mix, melt the butter and mix it, and inject it in places? My mom always does Cajun seasoning mix on her turkey breasts that she fries and injects it a couple days in advance for the flavors to soak in
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Shanea, I think that would work, but I have never tried that.
I will be trying this for Christmas! Thanksgiving (for me) was a bit of a bust – tried a brined bone in garlic herb turkey breast brought to temperature on the smoker and (again, to me) it was so dry it was hard to swallow 🙁 But this looks great and I don’t know why I never thought of the breast in the slow cooker. Should there be sage?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Tracy, There is no sage in this recipe.
We made the Slow Cooker Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving – super easy and tasted great! Definitely will do this again!
Cooked our turkey breast using this recipe. I tend to serve dry turkey. Not this year. Moist and delicious!
In future, how do I keep the turkey hot and crunchy skinned without drying it out? We were transporting to the gathering and it was barely warm by the time we arrived. Should I have put it back in the Crock-Pot after broiling?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Patti, You could definitely add it back to the Crock Pot to keep it warm.
Never thought of cooking a turkey breast in a crockpot, I will be trying this for sure the nxt time I make a turkey, Thank you.
My broiler doesn’t work and I was wondering what I could do to brown the turkey instead. I don’t want it to get dried out in the oven. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Jean, You could try setting your oven to the highest temp it will go and place the turkey as close as possible to the heating element.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, however, I want to make a turkey breast just for the 3 of us. We ran out of turkey and no one got enough. lol. This recipe is just what I was looking for!
Juicy, moist, flavorful! My family LOVED this simple yet delicious recipe!
I made it. My first attempt at a slow cooker breast. It was the best I’ve ever had and now my wife says it’s my new job on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I bought an oval crockpot just to try this. MUCH easier to make and cleanup after than the oven version! Yummy too. I’ll be making this again!
I used this recipe for our turkey breast today and it turned out wonderful. I was a bit leery of the onions (afraid the onion flavor would be in the turkey) but followed the recipe and couldn’t taste the onions at all. Very good recipe and I’ll use it again.
I think this is what I’m doing next year. It’s very similar to the recipe for the oven roasted turkey and seems better than heating up a whole oven for our tiny, Turkey breast! haha… cooking for two is sometimes challenging! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it!!
How long do you cook a boneless turkey breast in a crockpot….time per pound?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Nancy, For boneless turkey breast, cook for 5-6 hours on low or 3-3.5 hours on high.
I’ve never tried just a turkey breast, but this sounds very easy…hmmmm. I see this in my family’s future – looks so good.
This recipe sounds delicious! Hoppe to try this soon.
I have two bone-in turkey breasts stored in my freezer for other people.. To slow-cook them, should I defrost completely before buttering?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Kate, Yes, I suggest defrosting.
This sounds so amazing, can’t wait to try it. My husband is going to buy a turkey breast so we can make this. Don’t expect any leftovers from the whole turkey cooking tomorrow for some of the airmen in the barracks, no one should be alone for the holiday. THANK YOU. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOURS!
Hmm, didn’t know that turkey breasts are either bone-in or boneless; otherwise, I would have looked for a boneless one at the store.
Followed your directions up until the part where it says to take it out of the slow cooker to broil it to crisp it up a bit. That’s where I had my adult son transfer it to the broiling pan. (My hands aren’t as strong as they used to be anymore) .
We liked this. It was a game changer to cook it in the crock pot .
Nice, to free up the oven for other things! Thank You for posting this .
Perfect timing! I will be making what I’m sure will be my best Thanksgiving turkey yet. I appreciate all the helpful tips and easy instructions.
Turkey always seems so complicated and turns out dry. This recipe definitely looks worth a shot!
Can’t wait to try this!
Does the Turkey breast go into the crockpot breast side down?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Deb, Breast side up.
Already cooked my Thanksgiving Turkey, but I love the butter herb mixture and think I will adapt the recipe by alternating the turkey and butter rub in layers on a base of onions. Cook time will be much less, maybe 2-3,hours. Just long enough for the herb flavors to baste through the meat.
This was so good my husband is ready for it again! Melt in your mouth moist
We don’t do Thanksgiving in Australia but will be trying it for Christmas! Might have to adjust the recipe to suit a smaller turkey breast don usually get them that big here.
You say to put the turkey under the broiler (grill) this won’t work for me as my grill is separate from the oven and not high enough.
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Sue, The broiler is in the oven, not the grill. If you skip this part, make sure your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the crock pot.
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