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.

Now Let’s Get Cooking
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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.

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.

Cooked roast turkey breast in a slow cooker.

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.

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

Don’t let a great roast turkey dinner only be for the holidays. It’s a super satisfying meal and if you have leftovers… well, there’s jus so much you can make in the days ahead as you will see below.

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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-pounc) 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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