This Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy is the easiest way to cook a juicy, tender and delicious turkey without any hassle! The juices collected from cooking the turkey make the most wonderful gravy!
This Slow Cooker Turkey is perfect for smaller holiday gatherings or for when you want to have perfectly cooked turkey ready for lunches, salads and sandwiches.
Turkey breast can be dry and boring. When I cook a whole turkey in the oven, I always brine it. The brining process guarantees a perfectly moist and tasty bird – see my recipe for Brined and Roasted Turkey. It is my favorite way to cook a holiday turkey.
However, if you want to skip the brining process, your best bet for succulent and juicy results is to cook your turkey breast in a crock pot. The slow cooking process guarantees amazing results!
If you are worried about an ugly looking breast coming out of the slow cooker, fear not! We will crisp the skin in the broiler for a few minutes so your Slow Cooker Turkey Breast will look picture-perfect!
How It works?
- This recipe for Slow Cooker Turkey Breast uses a whole-bone in, skin-on turkey breast. I bought mine frozen and defrosted it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours (see Kathy’s Notes).
- The turkey breast is seasoned with an easy to make herb butter. I put some of the flavored butter under the skin. The butter adds moisture and lots of flavor.
- The herb butter contains soy sauce and lemon juice. When you mix the ingredients, the liquid will not get incorporated completely (unless we melt it of course but we are not doing that!). It is OK. That is how you want it! It may seem crazy but there is a reason for my madness!! (see recipe)
Place the breast on top of aromatics – onions, celery, carrots, garlic and a few herbs. The vegetables keep the breast elevated (not touching the bottom) preventing the breast from poaching in it’s own juices. The vegetables also impart flavor to the turkey and the juices for the gravy.
- I place the breast skin side down. I like that the breast can collect some juices in the cavity while it cooks. That helps with flavor and moisture.
- I cook the breast for 1 hour on high heat and 4 to 5 hours on low (depending on size – more on the recipe notes).
- The gravy is my favorite part!! No need to make turkey broth separately! The collected juices make the most delicious turkey gravy. Yay! One less thing to do!!
- Frozen turkey breast can take between 24 to 48 hours to thaw out. Plan ahead!
- Relax. It is almost impossible to overcook turkey breast in the slow cooker. Enjoy the easy process.
- Cooking times vary depending on the size of the breast. It is always good practice to check the internal temperature with a thermometer. The temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you are planning on removing the skin and serving your turkey sliced on a platter, you don’t need to bother crisping the skin. You can just remove it after cooking.
- Need a delicious side dish to serve with your turkey? Try these amazing options:
Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Topping
Wild Rice Salad with Citrus Miso Vinaigrette
Mac and Cheese Carbonara
These Hot and Fluffy 30 Minute Dinner Rolls from my friend Kylee at www.kyleecooks.com are amazing and the perfect accompaniment to this turkey!!
Because cooking always brings you surprises, I am here to report that my first attempt at this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe presented some issues. The turkey breast I bought was about 8 pounds. I tried to pick the smaller one they had at the market, but it was still too big to fit in my slow cooker. The lid would not close!
I had to improvise and decided to take some photos in case you encounter the same issue.
All I had to do is cut off the back bone and voila! In the photo, you can see where I placed the knife to make the cut. Kitchen shears work better for this task though.
After cutting both sides, you can either push the back bone in towards the breast meat or completely remove it and save it for another time (I like to keep some bones in the freezer for soup making).
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Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy
Turkey and Herb Butter
- 1 6 - 8 pounds turkey breast, bone in or boneless, skin on, thawed
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Vegetables and Aromatics for the Bottom of the Slow Cooker
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 celery stalk, cut into big chunks
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 thyme sprigs
For the Gravy
- 2 cups cooking liquid (if you don't have enough, you can top it with chicken or turkey broth to complete 2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
Season and Slow Cook The Turkey Breast
- Place the butter, garlic, lemon juice and zest, rosemary, sage, ground black pepper and soy sauce in a small bowl. With a fork, as in mashing mash potatoes, combine all the ingredients. The lemon juice and soy sauce will not be completely incorporated (see photo above).
- Place some of the herb butter under the skin, rub the remaining herb butter all over the breast. Season lightly with salt and ground black pepper. Reserve the remaining liquid from the herb butter mixture (it won't be much but we will use it)
- Place the onion, celery, carrots, garlic clove and thyme at the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the turkey breast skin side down on top of the vegetables. Pour the remaining liquid from the herb butter on the turkey cavity.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour. After that on low for 5 to 6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and place it on an aluminum foil line sheet pan. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Crisp the Skin for a Picture Ready Bird
- Preheat the broiler to high and place the oven rack about 12 inches from the heat source.
- Place the turkey breast under the broiler and broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it! It gets golden very fast! Remove from the oven, carve and serve with the gravy.
Make the Gravy
- Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a measuring cup. You should have about 2 cups of liquid. If not, add chicken/turkey broth or water to complete the two cups.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mix well to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in about half a cup of the cooking liquid into the flour mixture, mixing well. It will look like a paste. Slowly add the remaining liquid whisking constantly.
- Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste. Serve immediately or keep warm in a thermos.
- Cooking times may vary depending on the size/pounds of your turkey breast. It is always a good practice to check the internal temperature with a thermometer. Turkey meat should reach 165 degrees F.
- It is almost impossible to get dried up meat from the slow cooker. Even if the breast slices seems to fall off apart a bit (mine did), the turkey will still be moist and delicious. In other words, relax!
- If you buy frozen turkey breast, plan to thaw it in the refrigerator. This process can take 24 to 48 hours. Plan ahead!
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