One of the best ways to cook a turkey breast is in your crockpot. While it cooks in there all day, the flavors mingle, and the turkey comes out so tasty and so juicy!
This Crockpot Turkey Breast Recipe is great when you are making a holiday dinner for a small family or a smaller crowd, or if someone coming to dinner has an allergy and can't eat something going on the main turkey - you can cook a side bird for them. You can also tailor it for picky kids.
It also is a nice everyday dinner to have with your family. I love to cook a turkey breast for dinner, then slice up the leftover turkey to make preservative-free lunch meat.
Cooking a delicious turkey breast in the crockpot is an easy way to guarantee that it comes out so flavorful and the meat just falls off the bone when slicing it. A slow cooker makes such tender turkey breast, and it is great to make for a holiday dinner because it frees up your oven space for tasty side dishes. (Which we all know are the best thing about Thanksgiving dinner!)
This easy recipe is a favorite in our house. We love it as a replacement for making an entire turkey on Thanksgiving or for an everyday dinner. You just need to prep the turkey, place it in the slow cooker and leave it to cook there until dinner time! So easy!
When buying your turkey breast for this recipe, check the size of your slow cooker. I have a six-quart slow cooker, and I buy a turkey breast that is 5-6 lbs. Anything larger than that will not fit in my slow cooker. In the grocery store, you will usually find turkey breasts in the same area where you would find a whole turkey. In our grocery stores, I can only find frozen turkey breast.
- Thawed Bone-In Turkey Breast, 5-6 lbs - You do not want to use a boneless turkey breast for this recipe as the cooking time will not be the same, nor will it be as flavorful.
- Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock
For the Spice Rub
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
For the Gravy
- All-purpose Flour
- Drippings from the Crockpot, strained
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
- A Crockpot - Aka, a Slow Cooker. You will want a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker.
- A Basting Brush
- A Meat Thermometer - I like to use a Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer
How to Make It
First, make sure your turkey breast is thawed. A 5-6 pound turkey breast will take 1-2 days to thaw in your refrigerator. Here is an informative post on thawing turkey.
Next, cut two onions into thick slices and place them on the bottom of the crockpot. They will hold the turkey breast up off the bottom of the slow cooker to allow it to cook evenly all around and not get soggy from sitting in the juices as it cooks. (The onions also add flavor to the turkey drippings.)
Then add one cup of chicken broth to the slow cooker. Adding the chicken broth will give the turkey drippings more flavor than if you used water. This will also give you more flavorful gravy!
Remove the turkey breast from the packaging and pat it dry with a paper towel. I like to do this on a baking sheet covered with paper towels or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
Place the completely thawed turkey breast in your crockpot and rest it on top of the onions. You may need to place the turkey breast a little to the side so that the cover of the slow cooker will be able to close all the way.
How to Make the Spice Rub
Make the spice rub for the turkey by mixing together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Add the olive oil to the spices and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Using a basting brush (or your hands), rub the spices all over the turkey breast. The seasonings will give the drippings such great flavor & the drippings are used to make the most delicious homemade gravy.
Once the turkey breast is covered with the spice rub, place the slow cooker cover on. Turn the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 5-6 hours or until the internal temperature is at least 165°F.
If your turkey is done before your side dishes are ready, it can stay in the crockpot a little longer without drying out.
How do you know if turkey breast is done? Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey breast. To do this, insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the breast, holding it parallel to the bird at the neck end. It should be 165°F. Do not angle the thermometer down, or the juices will drip out.
Once the turkey breast is done, remove it from the crockpot and place it on a large plate and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Make a tent over the turkey breast with foil to keep the heat in. By letting it sit, it allows the juices to set, and the turkey will carve easier.
The skin won't get crispy when cooked in the crockpot, but if crispy skin is important to you, you can check the temperature of the turkey at around 5 hours. If it is around 160°F, you can pull the turkey breast out of the crockpot, then put it on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. If it is not, continue cooking the turkey and check again in about 30 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 160°F, go ahead and broil it to crisp up the skin, then let the turkey rest. Make sure the internal temperature does reach 165°F.
While the turkey rests, you can make the homemade gravy. In my opinion, the homemade gravy takes the flavor over the top! It is simple to make and very much worth it. I used to be intimidated to make homemade gravy, but really, it is easy to make.
How to Make Easy Homemade Gravy
Make sure to make this gravy. It really does complete a turkey dinner!
Measure out two cups of the turkey drippings from the crockpot. Pour it through a strainer, so you only have the liquid for the gravy. Set that aside.
If you do not have two cups of the drippings, add in some more chicken broth to make it a full two cups.
Melt the butter in a pan on the stovetop, add the flour and whisk together on medium heat. Slowly add in the liquid, whisking constantly as you add it in. Whisk until the gravy is smooth.
Simmer the gravy until it is thickened to your liking. Then season with salt and pepper, which is optional. Serve warm over sliced turkey.
- Make sure the turkey breast will fit into your slow cooker. My 6-quart slow cooker can hold one that is 5-6 lbs.
- The turkey breast needs to be completely thawed before cooking it in the slow cooker. For a small turkey breast used in this recipe, you will need one to two days.
- Make sure the turkey breast is elevated on top of the onions so that the turkey is not sitting entirely in the juices. You can always add another sliced onion if needed.
- To check if the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer. To check the temperature of the breast, insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the breast, holding it parallel to the bird at the neck end.
- Once done, place the turkey on a large plate to sit for 15-20 minutes. Doing this before carving allows the juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily, and letting it rest will prevent dry turkey. No one likes dry turkey 😉
- If you don't have enough drippings to fill two cups for the homemade gravy, add in some chicken broth to make two cups.
How to Serve the Turkey
Our next favorite way is making a turkey sandwich by simply placing a slice of white bread on the plate, adding sliced turkey, and then another slice of bread. Pour the gravy over the bread and slice it into bite-sized pieces. I am craving this right now!
How to Store Leftover Turkey
Once cooled, store the leftover turkey in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Leftovers will be good for about 5 days, or they can be frozen.
🙋♀️ Frequently Asked Questions
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey breast. To do this, insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the breast, holding it parallel to the bird at the neck end. It should be 165°F. Do not angle the thermometer down, or the juices will drip out.
A slow cooker will create such a juicy turkey breast, but the skin will not be crispy. If crispy skin is important to you, you can check the temperature of the turkey at around 5 hours. If it is around 160°F, you can pull the turkey breast out of the crockpot, then put it on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. If it is not, continue cooking the turkey and check again in about 30 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 160°F, go ahead and broil it to crisp up the skin, then let the turkey rest. Make sure the internal temperature does reach 165°F.
What to Serve with Crockpot Turkey Breast
Obviously, the best way to serve turkey is with delicious side dishes! These delicious mashed potatoes go great with turkey.
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Praline Topping
- Easy Homemade Stuffing
- Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Southern Collard Greens
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below. I love hearing from you.
Crockpot Turkey Breast
- Thawed turkey breast, 5-6 lbs.
- 2 onions
- 1 cup chicken broth (may need additional broth, depending on how much turkey drippings you have after cooking)
For the Spice Rub:
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Gravy:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups drippings from the crockpot, strained (if you do not have 2 cups, add in more chicken broth to make 2 cups)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the onions in half and place flat side down in bottom of crockpot.2 onions
- Pour in one cup of chicken broth into the crockpot.1 cup chicken broth
- Combine the paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add in the olive oil and mix well to make the spice rub.1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel and place the turkey breast into the crockpot. Brush or rub the seasoning on the sides and top of the turkey breast.Thawed turkey breast, 5-6 lbs.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°.
- Take turkey breast out, and place it on a large plate to rest for 15-20 minutes while making the gravy. You can cover it loosely with foil to keep the turkey warm.
To Make the Gravy:
- Strain two cups of the drippings from the crockpot into a bowl. If you do not have two cups, add in more chicken broth to make it two cups.2 cups drippings from the crockpot, strained
- Melt the butter in a pan on the stovetop. Add in the flour and whisk together over medium heat. Slowly add in the liquid, whisking constantly as you add it in. Whisk until the gravy is smooth.4 tablespoons butter, ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Simmer until thickened to your liking. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm over sliced turkey.salt and pepper to taste
Update Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2016, but was published again in 2022 to include step-by-step directions and new photos.