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The Most Tender Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe [+Video]

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 photo of sliced juicy slow cooker turkey breast garnished with fresh herbs.

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

Brine

The brine is used to lock flavor and moisture into the turkey. A few simple ingredients will give you the best flavor:

  • Apple cider
  • Water
  • 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).

A photo of turkey brine in a large stock pot.

Butter

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
  • And…BUTTER!!

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.

A photo of the herb compound butter used for slow cooker turkey breast.

Slow Cooker

Place the buttered turkey into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. That’s it! It is really that easy! Check the internal temperature of the turkey after the 8 hours. You want an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safe eating.

Broil

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!

A photo of a double breasted slow cooker turkey breast perfectly golden and crispy.

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.

A photo of sliced juicy slow cooker turkey breast garnished with fresh herbs.

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!

Let’s not forget the pie! Pecan pie, classic pumpkin pie and razzleberry pie are all must haves for me!

If these aren’t cutting it for you, head to all our Thanksgiving recipes to find anything you need!

A close up photo of golden crispy slow cooker turkey breast.

FAQ

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!

A photo of sliced juicy slow cooker turkey breast garnished with fresh herbs.

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:

 

Sides for Turkey

 

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney
155 days

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A photo of sliced juicy slow cooker turkey breast garnished with fresh herbs.

Turkey

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 1 day 8 hours
Servings: 8
Slow cooker turkey breast that is tender, juicy and so full of flavor!

Ingredients

Brine

  • 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

Turkey

  • 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

Gravy

  • 4 tablespoon butter melted
  • 4 tablespoon flour

Instructions

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! 

Notes

left over turkey breast will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Turkey
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 765 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 229mg76%
Sodium 15478mg673%
Potassium 998mg29%
Carbohydrates 68g23%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 62g69%
Protein 74g148%
Vitamin A 609IU12%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 132mg13%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A photo of sliced juicy slow cooker turkey breast garnished with fresh herbs.

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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3 comments

  • I can’t find savory. What can it be replaced with?

    • Reply
  • Is it really 16 cups of water or 6? That seems like a lot of water.

    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy! 16 cups is correct. You want the entire turkey to be completely submerged.

      • Reply

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