Turkey Breast: The Slow Cooker Method

November 12, 2014   31 Comments

A few weeks ago, I roasted turkey breast and found out that I had done it all wrong.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Many readers commented that I should have used a slow cooker for my turkey breast – and I hadn’t even thought of that! Why? When I think of roasting, I think of the oven and not the $40 Crockpot that I got at Target 5 years ago.

I am nothing if not adventurous so I went back to the supermarket and purchased a 7.5 pound bone-in turkey breast for $15 to risk in my el cheapo slow cooker.

Above is the photo of the turkey breast in my slow cooker and you can probably notice that the turkey breast doesn’t really fit. I bought the SMALLEST turkey breast that I can find and so I am not sure what to tell you. I could not find boneless turkey breast. I was told it shows up closer to Thanksgiving.

I am not sure I want to cook a boneless turkey breast because I think that cooking with bones is better. The bones insulate the meat, slowing the cooking, and providing less surface area to lose moisture. It is important to keep all the moisture you can when you are dealing with turkey breast – that tends to get super dry and therefore yucky.

What I had to do was cut out the back of the breast so it would rest in the cooker. I also balanced a glass measuring cup on the lid (as a weight) to push it down so the turkey breast would fit. It worked!

After all this finagling, I left the house and said a small prayer over the bird. When I returned, it was done and tasted goooood.

It was cooked through and juicy. My only complaint was that I felt it was a little overdone – but I like my turkey a wee bit pink which most people DO NOT.

Remove the skin and slice for sandwiches, tacos, soup, salad, or whatever you like to put your turkey on. This made quite a few meals and I wrapped portions in aluminum foil and put them in freezer bags for later consumption.

I think that this may be the best and easiest way to make turkey breast. Thank you, dear readers!!

How do you make turkey breast? Have you tried the slow cooker method?

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe

4.2 from 5 reviews

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1 7.5 pound bone-in turkey breast or smaller
salt and pepper


Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Salt and pepper the breast liberally. Place in 6 quart oval slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour, then set to low and cook for 6-7 hours.

Check with a meat thermometer for when the breast meat reaches 170 F or just let it go for the entire time.

There will be about 2 cups of liquid left in the slow cooker after the turkey finishes cooking. Defat and use for gravy or stock for soup.

Slice the turkey using serrated knife, moving back and forth fairly quickly to ensure a nice slice. At this point you can slice the entire turkey and package the meat in freezer bags for future lunches.

Nutrition Facts

Four ounces (without skin) is 118 calories, 1.8 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 4.7 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 20.0 g protein, 0.6 g fiber, 55 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Was the turkey breast frozen? Thanks for all you do!😊

I do my Turkey breast this way all the time. Just cook it a little less time. This is the recipe I use! My kids even love. You can leave out the onion soup mix if you are worried about salt intake, but I didn't notice a salty taste at all (and I don't use any extra salt on anything!)

1 (6-9 lb) boneless turkey breast
1 (1 oz) packet dry onion soup mix
¾ cup water
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and place turkey and diced onions inside. In a small bowl, mix together the water and onion soup mix and spread evenly over turkey.

In another small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the turkey breast.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours (or until turkey is very tender and the seasonings have flavored the meat). Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and make sure it reads at least 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) to ensure that your turkey is fully-cooked.

To eat, remove turkey from slow cooker and slice.


Did you put any liquid in pot before cooking? Last week I followed a recipe for roast turkey in crockpot. More work than in the oven. I had to sear breast on stove top, sauté onion, garlic, thyme. It called for a qt. of chicken broth which I spilled all over my counter. I had another box. Turkey came out moist but I felt it was like boiling it. Liquid was delicious and made great gravy.

I know that the slow cooker appeals to so many people because of the convenience and I can appreciate that. I think that an oven roasted TB is a nicer way. Each year we buy several large boneless breasts and cut them into halves. We then freeze them foe later use. I roast them, skin on, at 400 for 20 min. then at 350 until they reach about 158 deg. I cover with foil and let them rest for 15 min. Voila! Perfect TB. There is no need to cook turkey to 170 deg. 160 is the right temp. for poultry. Many a dry bird could have been avoided had the cook been temp. savvy. Invest in a GOOD instant read thermometer. The best is a Thermapen. You can find them on Amazon and they come in great colors. They are worth every penny especially if you like to grill and roast.

Did my first TB in the crockpot about a month turned out GREAT! Like Sheryl H, I used onion soup mix but did without the added seasonings, I did, however, put celery and onion in the cavity. Easy, peasy! The only problem was finding a breast under 7lbs as I've heard that is biggest that will fit. Usually, tho, my husband grills a TB on the Weber kettle. Prob will do it again on the grill since I want lots of leftovers!

I have cooked turkey breast in the crockpot for years! But I always add celery, carrots, quartered onion, fresh herbs; Rosemary, Sage, & Thyme, and garlic cloves pushed in between the skin and the meat. Then spread olive oil or coconut oil over the skin, & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water. I will often cook this the day before a holiday. The broth can be skimmed & made into gravy the next day. My husband loves how moist it is & says "cook it that way all the time"!

A while back I began cooking my whole turkey in a large pan, wrapped in foil on the grill. I also poured orange juice over the turkey before wrapping the pan. It was the best turkey we've ever had and there was no evidence of the orange juice in the flavor. Using the grill also freed my oven up. We have cooked it this way ever since. (I do live in Florida)

My crock pot turkey breast is 1 sm can of cranberry sauce & 1 can of French onion soup (undiluted). So easy & so yummy!

Sounds delicious. Is the skin mushy?

1 cup of apple juice or broth in the slow cooker and the Turkey would not have dried out. The slow cooker is the saving grace of cooking.

I'll have to try this. I did another crockpot method a few years back, with added chicken broth. It came out like it was boiled with rubbery skin. I said, never again. This might work better. Thanks!

I blew up my slow cooker (long story) but definitely will try this in my Lodge dutch oven! My market had Carolina brand turkey breasts w/bone in for $1.49 lb. Stocked up the freezer!

I do turkey in the slow cooker every Thanksgiving.I tried the recipe last week for dyi turkey with boneless (thats all I could find) and it was awesome. I think we have the same slow cooker

HI Fran.

the liquid came with the onion soup mix, you mix that with some water before pouring it over the turkey. If you don't want to use the soup mix I would substitute with chicken broth. Hope that helps!

The Super Target in my town has bone in turkey breasts for $1.19/lb. until Thanksgiving. It's close to the best price I've ever seen them (sometimes $.99/ lb after Tgiving) if you want to test out the method before the holiday.

I love the slow cooker method for giving me turkey to stock the freezer, but I'd like to hear more about grilling it in a foil covered pan!

I have made my turkey breast in the crock pot for years. All I put on it is rub the outside with butter and salt and pepper. Even if it keeps the lid up for a while it won't hurt. It will close after a while when it cooks. Mine is always moist, juicy and falling off the bone. I normally use a 7 lb. bone in turkey breast.

Never thought of using my crock pot for Turkey breast, don't know why I've used it for a whole roaster chicken before. Guess I have to get with it and try it sometime. Thanks for the great tip.

I've got to try the one with the cranberry sauce and onion soup. Wish someone would come out with Stevia sweetened cranberry relish so as a diabetic I could cut the sugar count down....Maybe I could use fresh cranberries and add my own sweetener?

I have been doing this same thing for years and they have turned out great everytime. I just season it and put an onion and celery in the cavity. I don't add extra liquid because I don't want it to taste boiled. Some breasts have been a little big for the crockpot while it is still frozen, so I put the lid on and cover the top with foil. After a couple hours, it shrinks down enough that you can remove the foil. Best ever

I just tried this today and the turkey is amazing! I did not add any liquid-just put on salt and pepper as called for in the recipe. My family doesn't eat the skin anyway, so it not being terribly browned isn't a problem. I need knee replacement, so any method that cuts down on standing in the kitchen and bending over the oven (like basting) is definitely worth a try! I don't think I'll ever do a turkey in the oven again! One thing to watch out for-the breast I bought had a pop-up timer, which popped up about 2 hours before the end of the cooking time. So, if you do this with a TB with a pop-up thermometer, ignore it! I cut the cooking time by about 20 minutes-may need to cut more next time, or not do the first hour on high. My crock-pot is pretty new, and it cooks a bit hotter than the older ones. The broth is amazing too! Thanks for a time and labor-saving recipe! I was able to make a homemade turkey dinner while at hockey games with my daughter all day! :) Thanks Snack Girl! Has anyone tried this with a smaller TB? I used the 17.5 pounds, though mine cost more like $24 unfortunately, though it was all-natural. I'm guessing a smaller one might cook even faster.

For the lady wanting diabetic cranberry sauce. Make your own, it is very simple. Put 1 cup of water and 1 cup Splenda to 1 bag fresh cranberries and cook until berries pop, then simmer.Tastes great! Fresh berries will freeze for months.

Stay away from Splenda. Use Stevia. Much healthier. I actually make a raw cranberry relish using a blender or processor adding a full seedless orange, skin included, and Stevia to taste. Delightful.

Can't wait to try this. Bought a small turkey breast today since there are only 2 of us.

Snack Girl, we love you, although we are having friendly arguments here about your portion-control cookie in who gets how many portions...😀

Just wanted to mention that there are many conflicting opinions over 'to rinse, or not to rinse' (sorry Mr. Shakespeare) poultry, and the prevailing safety experts say NOT to rinse, because the act of rinsing the raw poultry can spread salmonella all over your sink, your apron, yourself, etc. There is a sobering video mockup of this available online---you may never even want to think about rinsing again! Basically, as long as you use a thermometer (and thank you for mentioning to do that when so many do not) to measure safe doneness temps in any raw meat NO MATTER ITS FINAL COLOR, you are ok since at those safe temps whatever you were rinsing off has been apparently vaporized. Thanks for the wonderful blog!

HELP! I put a 5 lb bone-in turkey breast in my slow cooker earlier today. It was a little big, too, but I was able to get the lid on. However, the turkey is right up against the lid. It has now been almost 6 hours and the part of the turkey near the lid doesn't even look like it has been cooked! I have used this slow cooker for quite some time and everything has come out wonderfully. Am I doing something wrong? It's on high. Should I just remove it and put it in the oven? If so, for how long and at what temp? I'm going to be frustrated if I ruin this dinner...thanks!

I did the same yesterday. 6 lb turkey breast in a 4 qt slow cooker in low from 7:00-4:00, then on keep warm until time to eat. Just salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, no liquid. It was completely cooked,,with about an inch of liquid in the bottom, but the skin doesn't brown at all. I remove it anyway.

No worries! Turn off your crockpot and set your oven to 325. Put the turkey and he accumulated liquid into a pot with a tight lid. Make sure that turkey isn't covered with te liquid, you only want to braise it. Cook until the thermometer reads 160.It can be reheated if it finishes too early for dinner.

RE: my Jan 15, 2015 post: I ended up just taking the turkey out after about 7 hours and sure enough, only the bottom half was cooked thoroughly. The top part touching the lid was practically still raw. Bummer, but it was a big bird, so 1/2 was more than enough and I still had leftovers. Next time I'll use a smaller bird, flip it over halfway through cooking or just pull it out early and stick it in the oven as Debbie noted. Thanks!

Having kitchen remodeled forced me in to thinking of ways to cook at home instead of eating out which got old and expensive. Light bulb on! Tried my first TB in my crockpot and was very pleased. Moist meat through and through. Hubby cooked it for 6 hours.

Over the years, I've been told not to "rinse" my chicken or turkey because it will spread the bacteria to my sink and surrounding area. (See:…)

What do you think?

First off I want you to know that the USDA recommends that you do not rinse or wash your poultry before cooking it. By doing so you are spreading bacteria in your sink and any spray off the poultry goes on the counter and any food that is nearby. If you pat it down with paper towels make sure you put your non pourus cutting board under it. Cooking it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees f will kill any bacteria on it. Although if there are any feathers visible you can pull those out before cooking.

I have found that although I use my crockpot regularly, unless I am making something that calls for shredded chicken I much prefer the oven.


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