Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: August 31, 2023

For years, I've handled Thanksgiving dinner, with the turkey preparation consuming most of my time.

After hours of research for a time-efficient yet tasty solution, I discovered the slow cooker turkey breast.

I’ve been cooking slow cooker turkey breast for four years and found out this is a great way to free up my stove for making delicious sides.

I experimented with different cook times and rubs until I found the recipe that makes a tender and juicy turkey breast.

Here are step-by-step instructions so you can have delicious turkey breast.

Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours and 10 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 10 people


Slow cooked turkey breasts
  • 5-pound turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 onions

For the gravy:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups drippings


Turkey breasts
  1. Peel and cut the onions. Place them at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Use paper towels and pat dry the turkey.
  3. Mix the butter, garlic, onion powders, salt, pepper, rosemary, paprika, sage, and thyme in a bowl. Thoroughly rub over the turkey breast.
  4. Place the turkey in the crock pot, skin side up.
  5. Cook for eight hours on low heat.
  6. Optional: Once the turkey is done, place it onto a sheet tray and broil until it turns golden brown.
  7. Let the crockpot turkey breast sit for ten minutes.

Make the gravy:

  1. Pour the drippings into two cups. In case you don’t have enough drippings for two cups, add unsalted chicken stock.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the drippings. Whisk all the time to prevent lumps. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the gravy thickens.
  5. Serve with the slow cooker turkey breast.

Recipe Notes

Turkey breasts

Here are my tips and tricks for a tender slow cooker turkey bast recipe:

  • Leave the skin on the meat because the fat under the skin will melt as the turkey cooks. This bastes the turkey and provides better flavor and moisture. Also, you can broil the meat to get crisp skin.
  • Crisp the skin in a broiler for more flavor.
  • Don’t skip the rub. It provides flavor as turkey has a bland taste. Plus, it gives the meat color.
  • Use garlic or onion to elevate the turkey in the crock pot. This ensures more even cooking. Otherwise, half the breast is submerged in liquid.
  • Don’t throw away the drippings, but use them to make gravy. Drippings are full of flavor and work as a great broth. Use chicken broth if you don’t have enough drippings.
  • Check the size of your crock pot before buying turkey breast to make sure it fits.
  • Let the turkey rest for ten minutes after cooking to redistribute the juices.
  • If you love veggies, add as many as you want to the bottom of the slow cooker. Celery, onion, and carrots all work great.
  • Use a stick of melted butter for more flavor. You can also use olive oil if you prefer. Spread the butter with a pastry brush to make sure the meat is evenly covered.
  • Make sure the meat is thawed before you cook the breast. Place it in the fridge for about 24 hours, depending on the size. Don’t thaw at room temperature, or it’ll grow bacteria [1].
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Use it on the thickest part of the meat. The temperature should be 165 degrees [2].
  • Don’t add any water to the recipe because the meat steams in turkey juices.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 63
  • Total Carbs: 3 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Net Carbs: 2 g

Boneless or Bone-In Turkey Breast

Boneless turkey breasts

You can use both boneless or bone-in turkey breast for this slow cooker recipe.

The boneless turkey cooks more quickly and is easier to slice and serve. It’s more rounded than the regular breast.

However, boneless breast is more difficult to find during the holiday season.

Bone-in breast cooks longer than the boneless. It’s heavier than the boneless cut, and more weight means longer cooking time.

However, it’s juicier than the boneless version.

The bone gives the meat more flavor and moisture.

You can also buy a single boneless or a double bone-in breast. The choice is up to you, but make sure it has the skin on it if you plan to crisp it.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Turkey Breast

Crockpot timer

How long it takes to cook turkey breast depends on the size of your bone-in or boneless turkey breast.

Here are general guidelines for cooking bone-in and boneless chicken breast: 

  • 2 lb - Cook for four to five hours
  • 4 to 6 lb - Cook for five to six hours
  • 8 lb - Cook for six to seven hours
  • 10 lb - Cook for eight to nine hours

You can also cook a 6-pound turkey for one hour at high temperature.

“Every crock pot cooks differently. Some are older, some newer, some are hotter than others, so it can take between two to four hours to cook a three-pound boneless turkey breast.”

- Crazy for Crust, YouTube Channel

Note: All of these times are for cooking in a slow cooker on a low setting. A crock pot is very forgiving, so this is a good choice if you’re new to cooking turkey breast.

Even if you cook the meat two hours longer than needed, it’ll still stay moist. The worst thing that can happen is that it’ll fall apart more.

You can also cook the turkey ahead. If you do this, make sure not to brown the skin.

Cook the meat ahead, and store it in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature, cover it with cling wrap, and microwave for three minutes on low.

Then broil per the above instructions to brown the skin.

You can also make the gravy ahead and reheat it in a saucepan or microwave.

Related Articles:

How Much Turkey Breast to Get

Cut turkey breast

How much turkey breast to get depends on how many people you’re cooking for. To find out how large a breast to get, calculate the number of guests x 1.25.

For example, if you’re cooking for six people, get a bone-in turkey breast weighing around five pounds, six pounds for eight people, and eight pounds for ten people.

Another important factor in choosing which size turkey breast to get is the size of your slow cooker.

Make sure the frozen turkey breast will comfortably fit in the slow cooker without overcrowding. You need to ensure proper circulation of heat for even cooking.

My advice is to measure the size of your slow cooker before buying crock pot turkey breast.

Also, it’s always better to get more boneless turkey breast and have leftovers than lack enough meat.


Is Cooking a Turkey in a Slow Cooker Safe?

Yes, cooking a turkey in a slow cooker is safe. In fact, turkeys can be very large, so you can cut it up and cook just a turkey breast in the slow cooker. You should thaw the turkey before cooking it.

Is It Better to Cook a Turkey Slow or Fast?

It’s better to cook a turkey slow. Cook thawed turkey slowly to get tender, fall-off-the-bone meat. This is also a good way to cook crock pot turkey evenly.

Why Did My Turkey Breast Come Out Tough?

Your turkey breast came out tough because you overcooked it. This is why it’s best to cook a crockpot turkey breast. You’ll have tender turkey breast even if you overcook it.

Have You Tried This Pork Shank Recipe?

This recipe requires a few steps and a lot of fresh herbs and veggies, but the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Make sure to brown it with some vegetable oil, then cook low and slow in a Dutch oven.

If you can’t find pork shanks in your local store, check online meat butchers.

We’ve tried and tested countless delivery services to bring you the best meat delivery services. Each of these has a wide variety of meats, including pork cuts.

Check them out, and choose the best meat delivery for you.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/maillard-reaction
  2. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety
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