Slow cooker turkey breast that is tender, juicy and so full of flavor! Plus, it frees up your oven for baking rolls and Thanksgiving sides! And the drippings make the most amazing gravy…drooling!
We don’t live by a lot of family so we’ve learned how to make awesome, perfectly moist turkey without roasting a whole bird since our family of 5 just can’t eat an entire turkey.
As time has gone on, we have realized so many people just want a perfectly juicy breast no matter how many people are coming so a slow cooker turkey recipe was a must!
A turkey breast recipe just doesn’t get any easier than this! The slow cooker does all the work for you, and then you can crisp it up in the broiler afterward to get that golden crispy skin.
It starts with a 24 hour brine, and then a delicious herb compound butter is added. It cooks in the slow cooker for 8 hours, and you’re ready for turkey time! Tender, juicy, moist and flavorful turkey you can make any time of year!
There’s no need to wait for Thanksgiving to serve up delicious turkey breast for dinner, especially when it is this easy to make! I’m on a campaign to make slow cooker turkey breast a regular Sunday meal! Let’s walk through the steps:
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
The brine is used to lock flavor and moisture into the turkey. A few simple ingredients will give you the best flavor:
- Apple cider
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaves
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh rosemary
- Orange peel
- Lemon peel
Grab a large stock pot and put all the ingredients into the pot. Stir everything together until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the turkey carefully into the brine, put the lid on the pot, and set it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You will want a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. We like to look for about a 6 pound turkey to feed our crew (see FAQ section below for help on selecting what size turkey you need for your gathering).
When the turkey has brined for 24 hours, pull the turkey out and pat it dry. Then get to work on the herb butter. You’re going to need some jarred seasonings, some fresh herbs, and butter of course!
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika
- Thyme (fresh)
- Sage (fresh)
- Rosemary (fresh)
- Savory (fresh)
- Kosher salt
Mix the butter and all the seasonings and herbs together in a bowl. Then spread the herb butter all over the bird under skin and all over on top of the skin too.
After the bird has reached temperature, move it to a baking sheet and stick it in the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin. You’ll be surprised how browned it gets just in the slow cooker, but if you’re like me, you need that crispy skin! Let it rest for 10-15 minutes and then slice and serve!
Tips for Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Type of turkey – you want a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast for the best result and best flavor.
- Size – consider the size of the crowd you will be feeding and then plan on 1lb/person
- Rub – butter + seasonings + fresh herbs (see section above for details)
- How long to cook – for a 6lb bird, you’ll want about 8 hours on low, bigger will need a little longer, smaller a little less
- Tell when done – you will know when your turkey is done when the internal temperature is 165 degrees
- Crispy skin – stick the cooked turkey under the broiler for a few minute to crisp up the skin
- Gravy – the drippings from the turkey make the best gravy ever! Pour the drippings into a fat separator, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, then whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour until thick and smooth. Add 1 cup of the separated drippings and whisk until the gravy forms.
What to Eat with Slow Cooker Turkey Breast?
I’m going to try to stay focused here because turkey sides are just about my most favorite things ever. Your oven is totally free because your turkey is in the slow cooker, so get some classic green bean casserole going in the oven and our sweet potato souffle. You can also whip up a batch of perfectly mashed potatoes, and then bake the potato rolls last so they are nice and warm for serving!
If these aren’t cutting it for you, head to all our Thanksgiving recipes to find anything you need!
Why Do You Brine A Turkey?
Brining a turkey adds moisture and flavor to the final product. A basic brine is salt and water. We like to add several extra flavors, but the salt and water is what you need to brine. The turkey absorbs all the delicious flavors to make for the most flavorful turkey after cooking.
Do You Rinse Meat After You Brine It?
No, just pat it dry. That way all those delicious flavors aren’t diminished.
How Long Does It Take To Thaw A Turkey?
Our general rule for thawing turkey is 1 day (24 hours) in the refrigerator for every 4 lbs of turkey. If you keep your refrigerator colder, you might need an extra day.
How Long Will Uncooked Turkey Keep in the Refrigerator?
The USDA says that turkey that has been defrosted in the refrigerator can stay in the refrigerator thawed for another 1 -2 days.
How Long Can You Freeze a Fresh Turkey?
According to Butterball, a turkey can be left frozen in the freezer unopened for up to 2-3 years and still safe to eat. For the best flavor, it is recommended to eat within 7 months.
How Much Turkey Per Person?
I like to plan on 1 pound of turkey breast per person if I don’t want any leftovers. But that’s just silly, because leftovers are pretty much the best thing ever! So I plan on 1.5-2 pounds of turkey breast per person for optimal leftovers!
If slow cooker turkey isn’t what you are after, try our turkey in a bowl, instant pot turkey breast, herb roasted turkey breast or apple pecan smoked turkey! All epic-ly delicious in their own ways and for different reasons!
Slow cooker turkey breast is fool-proof, always perfect, and so juicy and tender! Your guests will think you spent hours prepping, basting and roasting, when all you spent was a few minutes making a brine and herb butter! Try it! You’re going to love it!
More Turkey Recipes You’ll Love:
- Deep Fried Turkey
- Turkey in a Bowl
- Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
- Turkey Pot Pie Soup
- The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Club
- Award Winning Instant Pot Turkey
- Thanksgiving Leftovers Turkey Tetrazzini
- Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast
Sides for Turkey
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- 3 Cups apple cider
- 16 Cups water
- 2 Cups brown sugar
- 1 Cup kosher salt
- 5 bay leaves
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 4 sprigs rosemary leaves stripped off
- 1 peel orange
- 1 peel lemon
- 6 pounds turkey breast skin on, bone in
- 1/2 Cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked
- 1 teaspoon thyme fresh, leaves removed, chopped
- 1 sprig sage fresh, leaves removed, chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary fresh, leaves removed, chopped
- 1 teaspoon savory fresh, leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt Kosher
- 4 tablespoon butter melted
- 4 tablespoon flour
For the Brine
- Place each ingredient of the brine in a large pot and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Add the turkey and put a lid on the pot.
- Set the turkey in the brine in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry.
For the Turkey
- In a bowl, mix together the butter and all seasonings and herbs.
- Spread under the skin and over the skin of the turkey.
- Set the turkey down in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
- Remove to a baking pan and place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the skin.
For the Gravy
- Drain the liquid into a fat separator.
- Meanwhile, whisk 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet until melted.
- Add 4 tablespoons flour and whisk until thick.
- Add 1 cup of the reserved liquids and whisk to make a gravy.
- Serve with turkey!
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