This slow cooker turkey breast recipe is simple recipe that will always give you juicy and moist turkey breast with minimal preparation. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving and the holidays!
Every year, I get super excited about preparing Thanksgiving recipes and this year is no exception. From Persian spiced turkey and herb roasted turkey breast to cheesy scalloped potatoes and everything in between, I love preparing for the holidays! I also know many of us have small families and making a giant turkey isn’t really an option. But that should not take the joy of enjoying juicy turkey away and that’s why we have this delicious turkey breast recipe made in crockpot. It’s a simple recipe with so much flavor that requires minimum hands-on time.
Cooking turkey breast in a slow cooker
If you’re not planning to make a whole turkey for any reason this thanksgiving dinner, you will love this recipe. Cooking turkey breast in a slow cooker is a essential technique to know, especially if you’re looking for easy, fuss free thanksgiving recipes. This easy turkey breast recipe would be perfect for your party if you’re cooking for just a few people. It’s just enough for 2-4 people and since it’s cooked in the slow cooker, it’s absolutely juicy and not dry at all.
How big should the turkey breast be to fit in the slow cooker?
Any turkey breast less than 8 pounds should fit in a standard 6Qt slow cooker. You should have enough room around the turkey breast for vegetables and also for the turkey breast to cook evenly. Make sure the turkey breast is not too large for your slow cooker otherwise it won’t cook evenly and might be overcooked on the outside and underdone on the inside.
How much turkey per person?
If you don’t want leftovers, plan to serve one pound turkey per person. However, increase it up to 1.5 pounds per person if you would like to have some leftovers. For this recipe, I used half a turkey breast which is also called single breast and it weighed about 5 pounds.
Bone-in or boneless turkey breast?
For this recipe, I suggest you use bone-in skin-on turkey breast since it will come out juicier and tastier. Of course, you can use boneless turkey breast, just make sure to baste it a couple of times while cooking it in the slow cooker.
Turkey breast spice rub
To have a tasty turkey breast, it’s best to make a homemade spice rub. Our spice blend for this turkey breast recipe is made with a mix of aromatic spices:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Dried Tarragon
The combination of herbs and spices make this dish very aromatic and flavorful. Turmeric adds a nice golden color to the meat and tarragon gives it a nice earthy freshness.
How to cook turkey breast in a slow cooker
- Start with pat drying the turkey breast. Make sure it’s completely dry and set it aside.
- In a bowl, mix all the spices and add enough olive oil to form a paste.
- Rub this paste all over the turkey breast and under the skin.
- Place garlic, onion, carrots and celery at the bottom of the slow cooker and place the turkey breast on the vegetables.
- Cook the turkey breast on low until it’s fully cooked.
- Transfer the turkey breast to a baking sheet and broil in the oven for about 5 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy.
I always make crock pot turkey breast with vegetables because they give the turkey breast great flavor and aroma. You can use different vegetables such as carrots, onions, tons of garlic and celery . It’s important to use a generous amount of spices in this recipe so you have a delicious and flavorful turkey breast.
How long should I cook the turkey breast in a slow cooker?
A 5lb turkey breast takes almost 6-7 hours to cook. To ensure that the turkey breast is cooked completely, check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer, it should register at 165°F.
Why is cooking turkey breast in slow cooker a good idea?
- It’s such an easy method. All you need to do is rub the turkey breast with a mixture of spices and then place it on a bed of vegetables. Then leave it to cook.
- It doesn’t take up oven space. You need the oven for stuffing (there is a stove top version here, though), pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole, so it’s less stressful to have the turkey sit in the slow cooker for Thanksgiving.
- It’s moist and juicy. Brining always works, but if you have a small fridge like I do, it’s not the best idea to brine the turkey. Cooking turkey breast in a slow cooker helps it stay moist and flavorful when it’s ready to be served.
Can I cook frozen turkey in slow cooker?
It’s best to thaw the frozen turkey breast in the fridge first before cooking it in the slow cooker. Since turkey breast is very thick, cooking it frozen might result in uncooked middle and dry out layers. If you have frozen turkey, place it in the fridge to thaw before you cook it in the slow cooker. It should take about a day to a day and a half for a 6 pound turkey breast to thaw.
What to serve with turkey breast
If you’re serving this slow cooker boneless turkey breast as a part of your Thanksgiving, you can serve it with delicious Thanksgiving sides such as:
- Turkey gravy recipe
- Garlic butter mashed potatoes
- Easy homemade stuffing recipe
- Homemade Apple Cranberry Sauce
Since this turkey breast is made in the crock pot, you have plenty of room and time to make your favorite side dishes without worrying about the turkey.
What should I do with leftover turkey breast?
Notes and tips for cooking turkey breast in a slow cooker:
- Place garlic heads, onion, celery and carrot and the bottom of the slow cooker. This way the turkey breast won’t stick to the bottom of the slow cooker and the juice released from the turkey will make the best gravy.
- Make sure to rub the spice mix on and under the skin for maximum flavor.
- If you want the turkey breast to have crispy skin, place it under the broiler for 5-8 minutes so the skin gets crispy. Make sure to check it regularly so it doesn’t burn.
- It usually takes 6-7 hours for a 5 pound turkey breast to cook in the slow cooker. Check the breast after 6 hours with a meat thermometer – it should register at 165ºF.
- This is a basic recipe that always makes the perfect turkey breast. It’s good to make this on Thanksgiving day in the morning so it’s ready to serve by dinner time.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe
- 1/2 Turkey Breast 4-5 lbs
- 2 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Dried Tarragon
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Chopped
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 heads Garlic Cut in half
- 2 Carrots Cut into Pieces
- 2 Onions Cut in half
- 3 Stalks Celery Cut into pieces
- Pat Dry the turkey breast, set aside.
- Mix onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried tarragon, cumin, fresh thyme and turmeric in a bowl. Then add in olive oil and mix so it forms a paste.
- Rub the paste all over the turkey breast and under the skin.
- Place garlic, onions, carrots and celery at the bottom of the slow cooker, place the turkey on the vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours until the internal temperature registers at 165F.
- Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes and then slice and serve.
- Make sure the turkey breast fits in the slow cooker. This recipe is calling for a 6Qt slow cooker and a 4-5lb turkey breast will fit in that.
- It's best to use bone-on skin-on turkey breast for this recipe.
- If you like crispy skin, place the turkey breast on a baking sheet after it's cooked and place it under the broiler. Broil for about 7-8 minutes until the skin is crispy.