Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe

If you have a soft spot for Thanksgiving dinner, then we have the perfect recipe for you that doesn't involve the stress and pressure of cooking an entire turkey. This recipe is great for so many different reasons from its bold flavor to the thick gravy, and we have to admit that we always appreciate a meal that can be cooked in a slow cooker. No fuss is where it's at! You also get to cook the gravy in the same slow cooker, making it a win-win for whoever is cleaning the dishes. 

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone came up with this delicious recipe that will leave you wanting more! "It is so versatile!" Rapone raves. "You can make this to serve with the gravy for dinner, or make it as an economical way to have homemade turkey on hand for sandwiches, soups, and more." We love a dish that serves a variety of purposes. Keep reading to find out how to make this slow cooker turkey breast in a snap.

Gather the ingredients for this slow cooker turkey breast recipe

Once you commit to making this recipe, a trip to the store is in order! Start by grabbing all of the necessary ingredients, beginning with a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. You will also need to get some kosher salt and poultry seasoning. While you're in the spice aisle, pick up some garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. You will also need a bit of butter. Then, head to the produce aisle and grab an onion, a head of garlic, and a navel orange. While you're at it, get some fresh rosemary and thyme as well. The last two things you will need are flour and freshly ground black pepper.

Start by seasoning the turkey

Now let's get started! Remove the turkey breast from the fridge and set it on the counter. Grab a small bowl and toss in the poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Mix them together to make the turkey rub.

Add 2 teaspoons of the rub and 1 tablespoon of butter into a small bowl and mash them together. Then, gently separate the skin from the turkey meat and rub the seasoned butter underneath. Use the remaining seasoning for the turkey breast, starting with the underside and sprinkling the rest over the skin. Then, set the meat aside.

Slice the onion, garlic, and orange and stuff the turkey

Take out a cutting board and a sharp knife. It's time to slice the onion, garlic, and orange. Starting with the onion, remove the first layer of skin then cut it into ¼-inch slices. Once you finish slicing, set the onion to the side. Now, grab your garlic and cut the whole head in half. Go ahead and set it aside with the sliced onion. The last thing you need to chop is the navel orange. Simply cut it into quarters and then move on to the next step!

After you chop everything, stuff the cavity of the turkey breast with a few slices of onion, garlic, orange, and the fresh herbs. If there are pieces that don't fit into the turkey, that's totally fine. Simply place any remaining onion, garlic, orange, and herbs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the turkey to the slow cooker with the skin side up. If the slow cooker lid won't close because of the size of the turkey, just add a layer of aluminum foil over the lid to help seal in the heat and juices.

Cook the turkey in the slow cooker

Cook the turkey on low for 4 hours. "Cooking this on high in the slow cooker is not recommended," Rapone shares. "While I was researching to develop this recipe, I didn't see any recipes that had 'high' as the preferred method, and most didn't include it all. America's Test Kitchen specifically tested turkey breast in the slow cooker on high and recommends against it in their slow cooker cookbook." 

When your timer goes off, it's best to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey breast at the thickest part. The temperature should be at least 160 F. If it needs to cook longer, just turn the slow cooker to low and check the temperature every 15 to 30 minutes. Once it's ready, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and place it on a rimmed baking sheet to rest. Then, remove the solids from the slow cooker and discard them.

Meanwhile, prepare the gravy

You'll want to scrape the brown bits from the side of the slow cooker with a wooden spoon to combine them with the cooking juices. Then, pour the juices into a fat separator and discard the onion, orange, and herbs. Add the juices back into the slow cooker and turn the heat to high.

Add 3 tablespoons of butter and the flour to a small microwave-safe bowl. "The butter and flour are what helps the gravy thicken up. You can leave it out, but the result will be [more of a] runny sauce than a gravy," Rapone shares. "If you're looking for gluten-free, I would still include the butter for richness, but also know the consistency will be sauce-like." Pop the bowl in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, until the butter has melted. Then, whisk the two together until the mixture is smooth. Now, add the butter and flour into the slow cooker with the rest of the liquids and crack some black pepper on top. Whisk to combine the contents and let the gravy cook on high and thicken while the meat rests.

Broil the turkey, carve, and serve

Here's an optional step that is based on preference: If you want to pop the turkey in the oven to crisp up the skin, simply turn on your oven broiler to high — you might need to lower the oven rack to make space for the turkey. Then, transfer the baking sheet with the turkey breast to the rack to broil, checking and repositioning it every minute or so until it browns all over. If you don't enjoy a crisp crust, you can skip this step.

Once the turkey has rested for 15 to 20 minutes, it's time to dig in. Carve the turkey and serve it with a side of gravy. This is wonderful on its own, but Rapone also gives a few great serving ideas: "My favorite side dish with this is actually creamed spinach. I just think the two go together really well! Of course, mashed potatoes [are] always delicious with turkey and gravy," Rapone suggests. Anything left? "Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to three months." Cheers to a delicious and nutritious dish! 

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe
5 from 20 ratings
This delicious slow cooker turkey breast recipe is an easy flavor-packed dinner you'll love. Enjoy it with your favorite turkey side dish any day of the week.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
4
hours
Servings
6
Servings
turkey slices on plate
Total time: 4.25 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 (5 to 7-pound) turkey breast, bone-in, skin-on, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 navel orange
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Remove the turkey breast from the fridge.
  2. Combine the salt, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika in a small bowl to make the rub.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of the rub to 1 tablespoon of butter and mash them together.
  4. Gently separate the turkey skin from the meat and rub the seasoned butter underneath.
  5. Use the rest of the dry seasoning to season the breast, starting with the underside, then the sides, and finishing by sprinkling it over the skin. Set the turkey aside.
  6. Remove the onion's outer skin and slice it into ¼-inch slices.
  7. Cut the whole head of garlic in ½.
  8. Rinse the orange and cut it in 4.
  9. Stuff the cavity of the turkey breast with a couple of slices of onion, garlic, orange, and fresh herbs. Put any pieces that won't fit inside the turkey on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  10. Add the turkey breast to the slow cooker with the skin up. (Note: If your slow cooker lid doesn't close all the way, add a layer of aluminum foil over the lid to help seal in the heat and juices.)
  11. Cook on low for 4 hours, then check the temperature using a thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast. If you have a thermometer with a remote display, insert it and set the target temperature to 160 F. If the turkey has not reached 160 F after 4 hours, check the temperature every 15 to 30 minutes until it reaches 160 F.
  12. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and set it on a rimmed baking sheet to rest.
  13. Remove the solids from the slow cooker and discard them.
  14. To make the gravy, scrape the brown bits from the side of the slow cooker into the juices with a wooden spoon.
  15. Then, pour the juices into a fat separator and discard the aromatics (onion, garlic, orange, and herbs).
  16. Add the juices back to the slow cooker and turn the heat to high.
  17. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and flour to a small microwavable bowl and heat for 30 to 60 seconds, until the butter is melted.
  18. Whisk the butter and flour until the mixture is smooth, then whisk it into the cooking juices and add the black pepper.
  19. Heat the mixture on high so that it thickens while the meat is resting.
  20. If desired, broil the turkey to crisp and brown the skin (you can skip this step if you are going to remove the skin). To do so, lower the rack below your broiler to make room for the turkey. Broil on high, checking the turkey and repositioning it every 1 minute so that it is brown all over.
  21. Once the turkey has rested for 15 to 20 minutes, carve it and serve it with the gravy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 769
Total Fat 36.7 g
Saturated Fat 12.8 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 285.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Total Sugars 2.9 g
Sodium 1,186.7 mg
Protein 91.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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