Slow Cooker Roast Turkey Breast

If you have the time, cooking a turkey breast in a slow cooker is amazingly easy. You could do this as a meal for a crowd, but why not slow cook a large turkey breast and then have turkey as an ingredient for any number of meals in the following days. There are lots of interesting and creative ways to use it and you'll find lots of recipes here.

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How to Slow Cook a Turkey Breast

The most important step in preparing a slow cooker roast turkey breast is to make sure your turkey breast fits into your slow cooker. An oval slow cooker tends to work better than a round slow cooker for large pieces of meat, which tend to be more oval in shape than round. Start by putting your raw turkey breast into the cooker and make sure the lid can fit on without touching the top of the turkey. If it is a little too big, don’t fret – just trim some of the rib bones on the underside of the turkey breast until it fits perfectly. 

This recipe uses onions, sage and lemons in the bottom of the cooker to add some flavor aroma to the turkey and also to the juices that will drip out of the meat. They create a nice bed for the turkey to rest on. You could use lots of different spices in the spice rub on the turkey skin, but try to include something that has a reddish or brown color to it. As you can imagine, slow cooking a turkey doesn’t necessarily assure browned skin, so giving it a hand with a brown spice rub really helps. 

Raw turkey breast with a spice rub in a slow cooker.

#1 Rule of Slow Cooking

Then, you just need to wait and follow the most important rule of slow cooking – do not (under any circumstances) lift the lid. Lifting the lid causes far too big a drop in temperature and will slow down the cooking process much more than you’d expect. I love the fact that my slow cooker has clamps on the side of the lid, not only to keep it on securely when traveling, but to remind me never to unclamp them and open it up until it is time. It also comes with a temperature probe, which conveniently lets me know how the turkey is coming along with having to open the lid to check.

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Cooked roast turkey breast in a slow cooker.

How to Tell the Turkey is Cooked

Which brings me to the next important point – to be sure to check the internal temperature of the turkey before removing it from the cooker (yes, you are permitted to lift the lid off for this). Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat. The thermometer should register 165ºF when the turkey is fully cooked. Remove it from the slow cooker and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it. That’s just enough time to make a nice gravy from the drippings or to finish the side dishes.

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Slices of roast turkey breast on a plate with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Slow Cooker Turkey Leftovers

Don’t let a great roast turkey dinner only be for the holidays. It’s a super satisfying meal and if you have leftovers… try these leftover turkey recipes: Turkey Tex Mex Salad, California Turkey Club, Turkey Waldorf Salad Pita, Turkey Couscous Salad

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

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Slow Cooker Cooking Charts

This complete Slow Cooker Cooking Chart has suggested times for low and high slow cooking for all categories of food....View Technique

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Slow Cooker Roast Turkey Breast

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 6 h
  • Total Time: 6 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    8

Ingredients

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 (5- to 7-pound) turkey breast bone in, skin on
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the slow cooker for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the ingredients.
  2. Place the sliced onions on the bottom of the slow cooker and toss the smashed garlic cloves, lemon slices and fresh sage leaves on top.
  3. Combine the salt, thyme, rubbed sage, paprika and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the room temperature butter all over the turkey breast, on top of as well as under the skin. Sprinkle and pat the spice mixture evenly onto the buttered turkey and transfer the turkey breast to the slow cooker on top of the onions and lemons. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and cover the cooker with a lid.
  4. Slow cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
  5. Check the internal temperature of the turkey breast with an instead read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat. The temperature should register 165°F when the turkey has cooked sufficiently. Remove the turkey breast from the slow cooker and tent it with foil. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  6. Use the juices from the bottom of the cooker to make a gravy or simply pour the juice over the sliced turkey.
  7. For a crispier skin, place turkey breast under broiler for 5 minutes browned before letting the turkey rest.
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Comments (16)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Brilliant! I don’t know why I never thought about trying this?! The turkey came out moist and delicious and all the juice right there for the gravy! If you want to crisp up the skin you can as suggested. I found the crock pot to be less mess, easier clean up and less hassle than using the oven.

    Added bonus it completely frees up my oven to make all the sides! I’m excited to try a whole chicken now. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Cheri. You can find instant-read thermometers in any kitchen store. You’ll also find many options on Amazon. As long as it has a nut on the bottom of the read out disk that can allow you to calibrate the thermometer, it’s perfect.

    1. Hi Tami. If you can fit the turkey breasts into your cooker, following these same directions and you should be fine. Make sure you check the internal temperature of the turkey breast to ensure it is cooked through and leave yourself an extra 30 minutes, just in case your boneless turkey breasts are more dense than the bone-in turkey breast in this recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I always use my crock pot for my turkey breast. I do use a crock pot plastic cooking bag. Cleanup is a breeze. One less thing to worry about.

  3. I am anxious to try the slowcooker recipe–probably for Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family–furry members too! I am really enjoying your E-mail recipes and commentary! And again–love your doggy pix!

  4. 5 stars
    I created my own version using you recipe as a base. I used a dry brine rub overnight, and added a package of Lipton onion soup mix in a cup of water. I slow cooked my bone in Turkey breast for about 4 1/2 hours. What a wonderful flavor and the moist tender breast was great! I will keep this in mind for other celebrations. Thank you for the idea.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe in addition to my 22lb. whole turkey (to feed a crowd on Thanksgiving)..and can I just say..it was even better & moister than the one I cooked in the oven! I will definitely make this again & again!! I cooked it the day before Thanksgiving, and then reheated it in the slow cooker on low setting..then on warm setting Thanksgiving Day. TY BJC!! A winner!

  6. Great recipe. It freed me up to do things during this busy holiday season. I had a phone call and left it in the broiler a few too many minutes so it was a touch dry, next time brief in the oven! Still tasted great. Looking forward to the leftovers too.

  7. Hi Meredith…I am a little nervous trying this in my slow cooker function of my Ninja Foodi. Can you explain the difference between slow cooker and crockpot? Want to try this recipe asap

    1. Hi Norma. Basically a crock pot and slow cooker are the same thing. Crock pot® is actually a brand name of slow cooker that have stoneware inserts, while many other slow cookers typically have metal inserts. I have never worked with the Ninja Foodi, but you can make this recipe in any slow cooker, including multi-cooker function units, as long as the turkey breast will fit in the insert.

  8. I tried the slow cook function not too long ago for my Instant Pot. It didn’t cook well at all! I don’t know if the metal pot makes the difference? So I ended up pressure cooking my roast instead and salvaged my meal thank goodness. So now if I slow cook, I use my regular Crock Pot and it works great! Maybe it’s the crock that makes the difference? Maybe cooks all around more evenly than a metal pot.

    1. Hi Mary Jane, I agree with you, I have also had better results with slow cooking in a crock pot or single function slow cooker. A ceramic or porcelain insert does hold the heat well for the long cooking times, but a stainless insert is nice for browning. I also think an oblong or oval unit works better than the circular unit slow cookers. I feel they distribute the heat better as well.

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