Crockpot Boneless Turkey Breast

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This crockpot boneless turkey recipe comes out juicy and tender every time with less than 5 minutes of prep work! It is the ultimate foolproof recipe for making a delicious turkey breast right in the slow cooker.

366 CALORIES4g CARBS16g FAT50g PROTEIN
3 Comments

Slow-cooking turkey breast is the best way to guarantee tender, succulent meat every single time. No turkey brine, no complicated prep, and delicious turkey every single time.

Plus your oven is freed up for all the other delicious holiday side dishes!

If you are looking for an easy way to cook turkey, this slow cooker turkey rest recipe is it! Look no further. All you need is a simple butter and spice rub. The crockpot does all the hard work, infusing the turkey with flavor and moisture as it cooks low and slow.

Then crisp up the skin and make a quick gravy, for the ultimate holiday meal. We also love this Slow Cooker Turkey Tenderloin if you aren’t cooking for a crowd.

This recipe is great for anyone who…

  • Hosts a smaller Thanksgiving or holiday meal
  • Feels nervous cooking a whole turkey, this comes out juicy and tender every time
  • Wants minimal prep work - no brine, no drying in the fridge, just 5 minutes of prep
  • Prefers the white meat from the turkey breast
  • Attends a holiday meal out of the house but still wants to cook a turkey at home (we all need turkey leftovers!)

Slow cooker boneless turkey breast cooked with herbs and a crispy skin served with gravy and salad.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is everything you need for this recipe as well as some easy swaps and ideas.

  • Boneless turkey breast: There are two main types of boneless turkey breast in the grocery store, one that is natural and one that has been brined or seasoned. Ideally for this recipe, buy a natural boneless, skin-on turkey breast. Brined or seasoned turkey breast works as well (like the one from Butterball), just use less salt. (see notes) Also this recipe works with a bone-in turkey breast and works with or without the skin.
  • Butter: Softened butter is the best option for making a rich rub that sticks to the turkey and adds moisture as it cooks. Olive oil can also be used, but the flavor won’t be quite as rich.
  • Carrots, celery, and onion: Normally when a turkey is roasted, the aromatics are added to the cavity of the turkey. Since we don’t have that in this recipe, we add them to the bottom of the slow cooker. These also serve to raise the turkey off the bottom of the slow cooker so it cooks more evenly. Amp up the flavor with a halved head of garlic, halved lemon, or fresh herbs as well.
  • Turkey seasoning: This simple turkey rub uses garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme kosher salt, and black pepper. Feel free to swap in fresh minced garlic for a stronger garlic flavor. Get creative with the spices here to switch up the flavors. We love turkey with Cajun seasoning or opt for a classic poultry seasoning with sage.
  • Gravy ingredients: Turkey with gravy is a classic combination. If you plan on making gravy with the drippings, you will need flour or cornstarch to thicken the gravy.

Boneless turkey breast cooked in the crockpot with carrots, celery, and onions.

How to cook boneless turkey breast in the crockpot

One of the main benefits of cooking a turkey breast in the slow cooker is that it doesn’t need to be brined in advance and still comes out super juicy. Here’s how to cook it so it comes out perfectly tender every time.

  1. Add aromatics to the crockpot: To ensure the turkey cooks evenly and isn’t sitting in all the juices, create a bed of aromatics on the bottom of the crockpot. This flavors the turkey and also flavors the drippings for the gravy. Use onions, carrots, celery, a head of garlic, and/or fresh herbs.
  2. Prep the turkey breast: Turkey breasts may times come in netting or trussed in twine. Take off the netting and discard any extras if it comes with the neck, giblets, or a gravy packet. (Or save them for gravy) Then dry the turkey breast well with paper towels to remove any extra moisture. It does not need to be rinsed.
  3. Coat the turkey with the rub: Combine the softened butter and spices to create a rub for the turkey. Then add the rub to the top and sides of the turkey, making sure to get plenty of it under the skin if you are cooking a skin-on turkey breast.
  4. Cook the turkey for 3-4 hours on low: Make sure to cook the turkey breast on low, it will only take 3-4 hours, so check it at 3 hours, especially if you like your turkey really moist or are cooking a smaller breast. While the USDA recommends cooking turkey breast to 165 degrees, many people like to take it out between 155-160 degrees since it will continue to cook as it rests. This is up to personal preference.
  5. Let the turkey rest: Always let your meat rest before serving, especially leaner white meat like turkey breast. The juices will redistribute resulting in a juicier turkey. Ideally, the turkey will rest for 15-20 minutes and can be tented with foil. After resting, carve it into slices.
  6. Make the gravy: While the turkey rests, make the gravy. Start by straining the drippings. Then either make a roux with butter and flour or simply use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the drippings and turn them into the gravy. Detailed instructions are found below.

Pro-tip for crispy skin: If you are cooking skin-on turkey breast, take the extra time to crisp up the skin! It’s one of the best parts. Simply place the turkey breast on a baking sheet lined with foil. Then palace it under the broiler for 2-4 minutes until the skin is browned and crispy.

Side Dish Ideas

Whether you are making this for a holiday meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas or simply making a turkey dinner, these sides always work.

Crockpot turkey breast served on wooden cutting board with crispy skin.

Tips for Juicy and Tender Turkey Breast

  • Single versus double breast: This recipe works for both a single and double turkey breast, sometimes called a turkey crown. Cooking a double turkey breast will take 5-6 hours and you will need to double the rub,
  • Bone-in or boneless turkey breast: This works great with a bone-in turkey breast but it will need to cook for about 6 hours. Make sure to double the rub since bone-in turkey breasts are usually around 6 pounds.
  • Size of the turkey breast and cooking time: Turkey breasts come in a variety of sizes. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, remembering that bone-in always takes longer.
    • 2 lbs: 2.5-3 hours on low
    • 3 lbs: 3-4 hours on low
    • 4 lbs: 4-5 hours on low
    • 5 lbs: 5-6 hours on low
    • 6 lbs: 5-6 hours on low
    • Larger: Turkey breasts can be up to 10 pounds but need to comfortably fit in the slow cooker. A very large turkey breast could take 7-8 hours to cook to 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.
  • How much turkey per person: Generally speaking, plan on 8 ounces per person for boneless turkey. If you are buying a bone-in turkey, plan on 1 pound per person.

How to make gravy

Can you truly have a turkey dinner without gravy? Here are two methods for making gravy with slow cooker drippings. Both of these methods will make 1 cup of gravy, feel free to double for more gravy. If you don’t have enough drippings, use chicken or turkey broth

  • Making gravy with flour: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Once melted, add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Whisk together and cook for 1-2 minutes until flour is fully incorporated and light brown in color. Add 1 cup of the strained cooking liquid from the slow cooker. Continue to whisk and cook until it thickens. This normally takes about 5 minutes. Taste and season as needed.
  • Marking gravy with cornstarch: Strain the drippings and add to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Mix together one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the dripping and cook over medium heat until thickened to your liking. Stir as it cooks.

Leftovers and storage

Let any leftover turkey meat come to room temperature and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Consider using leftovers to make sandwiches, quesadillas, turkey soup, stuffed peppers, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you may still be wondering about how to cook a boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker. Still have questions? Ask in the comments.

Always defrost turkey breast before cooking it in the slow cooker. Cooking a frozen turkey could result in the turkey cooking evenly and can lead to bacteria growth since it will take too long to come to a safe temperature. 

The best way to defrost a frozen turkey breast is to leave it in the fridge overnight to defrost. 

This turkey is best served immediately after it is cooked. If you need to start cooking it earlier in the day, it can stay in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours on the "keep warm" setting. It is best to undercook it slightly if you know it will sit, to around 150-155 degrees as it will continue to cook on the "keep warm" setting. Then simply check the internal temperature before serving to make sure it has come to a safe temperature. 

If you have to cook it in advance, let it come to room temperature and then store it in the fridge. Reheat very gently in the slow cooker with 1 cup of chicken broth until just warmed through. The gravy can be prepared in advance. 

Cooking the turkey breast in the slow cooker is a great way to ensure it comes out nice and juicy. If you are nervous about a dry turkey breast, take it out of the slow cooker between 155-160 degrees since it will continue to cook as it rests. 

Gravy being poured on crockpot turkey breast served sliced on a plate.
The Recipe
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Crockpot Boneless Turkey Breast

PREP TIME: 5 Min
COOK TIME: 3 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 3 Hours, 5 Min
3 Comments
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 3 lb boneless skin-on turkey breast (or bone-in, with skin or without skin)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (fresh is best)

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Combine the softened butter, kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and black pepper in a small bowl.

Butter, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
2

Make sure the turkey breast is dry and cover the top and sides with the spice rub. Loosen the skin slightly and spread some of the spice rub below the skin as well.

Turkey breast covered with a spice rub in a baking dish.
3

Place the onion, celery stalks, and carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker to form a bed for the turkey breast. Set the turkey breast on top so it isn’t touching the bottom of the slow cooker.

Boneless turkey breast being placed in a slow cooker.
4

Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours on low (see notes) or until the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. For a really juicy turkey, take it out around 160 degrees since it will continue to cook as it rests. Bone-in turkey breasts will take closer to 6 hours. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing or serving.

Cooked boneless turkey with spice rub in a crockpot.
5

For crispy skin: Preheat the broiler to high heat and the baking rack about 10-12 inches from the heat source. Place the turkey on a sheet pan covered with foil. Broil for 3-5 minutes until skin is browned and crispy. Keep a close eye so it doesn't burn.

Baking sheet with a slow cooked turkey breast.
6

Optional gravy: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a pot. Once melted, add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Whisk together and cook for 1-2 minutes until flour is fully incorporated and light brown in color. Add 1 cup of the strained cooking liquid from the slow cooker. Continue to whisk and cook until it thickens. This normally takes about 5 minutes. Taste and season as needed.

Gravy being stirred in a pot on the stove.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 ounces
Amount Per Serving
Calories 366
Calories from Fat 143
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 6g
27%
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
0%
Cholesterol 147mg
49%
Sodium 581mg
25%
Total Carbohydrate 4g
1%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 50g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

Notes

Size of the turkey breast and cooking time: Turkey breasts come in a variety of sizes. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, remembering that bone-in always takes longer.

  • 2 lbs: 2.5-3 hours on low
  • 3 lbs: 3-4 hours on low
  • 4 lbs: 4-5 hours on low
  • 5 lbs: 5-6 hours on low
  • 6 lbs: 5-6 hours on low
  • Larger: Turkey breasts can be up to 10 pounds but need to comfortably fit in the slow cooker. A very large turkey breast could take 7-8 hours to cook to 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer.

If you are cooking with a turkey breast that is brined or seasoned, make sure to use half the amount of salt. You can always add more later.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
3 Comments
On Crockpot Boneless Turkey Breast
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William H.
November 15, 2022 - 11:50
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5
Yum! So juicy and tender. We loved the gravy as well. Tons of turkey flavor.
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Jennifer
November 14, 2022 - 00:02
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5
Kristen! I was looking for a smaller turkey recipe since this year it's just me and my husband for Thanksgiving, kids will be traveling. As big slow cooker lovers this turkey breast recipe couldn't have come at a better time! I did a test run and I just had to share with you how tasty it turned out. Keep up the good work!
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Priscilia M.
November 11, 2022 - 17:08
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5
So so good! I happened to have a turkey breast in my fridge when I saw this recipe and had all the other ingredients on hand. Threw it in the crockpot and we had the most delicious turkey dinner. Highly recommend.
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