Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Breast

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with homemade barbecue sauce comes out tender and full of flavor. It's the perfect healthy option for a barbecue, football game, or party.

241 CAL 18g CARBS 4g FAT 35g PROTEIN

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast covered in a low sugar, homemade barbecue sauce is the answer when you are wondering what to make for dinner or your next party. Made with lean turkey breast and an easy barbecue sauce that comes together right in the slow cooker, this meal is so good. Pair it with this skinny coleslaw and slow cooker pinto beans.

It's funny how I almost always incorporate ground turkey, turkey sausage, or deli turkey into my meals but always forget about turkey breast unless its Thanksgiving.  In the past it could be pretty hard to find out outside of the holidays, but now I find my local supermarket almost always has turkey breast (or at least turkey breast tenderloins) available.  Since I can get bored pretty quickly with chicken breast, turning to turkey is always a great option and believe me when I say you won't regret making this slow cooker barbecue pulled turkey.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Barbecue sauce on a sandwich roll with coleslaw.

Today's recipe is a twist on a traditional barbecue pulled chicken made with homemade barbecue sauce, turkey, and onions.  The barbecue sauce is made with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cumin, and paprika. You can also throw in some chili powder or cayenne if you like things spicy.  It's also flavored with onions and garlic that add tons of flavor to the sauce while it cooks. 

One note is to always look for a no sugar added or lower sugar ketchup if you can.  Regular ketchup tends to have a lot of sugar.  If you want to avoid ketchup altogether, you could use tomato sauce instead and taste before adding it to the crockpot to see if you need more vinegar or spices. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste if you like lots of tomato flavor in your barbecue sauce.

How long does it take to cook turkey breast in the slow cooker?

It depends on what kind of turkey you are cooking. For a recipe using turkey breast without the skin and bone, it will only take 4-6 hours on low in the slow cooker depending on the size of the turkey breast.  For quicker cooking, you can cut the turkey breast into smaller chunks. For a skin on and bone-in turkey breast, it will take closer to 8 hours to cook it in the crockpot.

Dinner Ideas with Slow Cooker Barbecue Turkey

  • Pulled Turkey Sandwiches: Pile the turkey onto your favorite rolls (regular or light) and top with coleslaw. If you like things spicy, add some pickled jalapenos as well.
  • Barbecue Turkey Quesadillas: This makes the best quesadilla filling. I like to fill a low carb tortilla with mozzarella, sliced red onion, cilantro, and this turkey for a spin on a barbecue chicken pizza.
  • Turkey Tacos:  Grill some corn tortillas and fill them with turkey and coleslaw or just plain shredded cabbage. For heat, serve with your favorite hot sauce, Sriracha, or chipotle peppers.
  • Barbecue Turkey Hash: Hash is one of my go-to meals when I have to clean out the fridge. Add tons of veggies like sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, corn and then stir in the turkey. Top with some crumbled goat cheese or a fried egg.
  • Pulled Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: I love the combination of barbecue sauce with sweet potatoes so I usually end up stuffing leftovers in a baked sweet potato. Usually I will serve a big green salad on the side to get some veggies.
  • Barbecue Turkey and Ranch Chopped Salad: Make a chopped salad using romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, and corn. Top with this tender barbecue turkey and skinny ranch dressing.
  • BBQ Turkey Burrito Bowls: Start with brown or white rice, black beans or pinto beans, then add veggies, corn, the pulled turkey, and pile with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for a southern spin on a classic burrito bowl.
  • Barbecue Turkey Pizzas: Everyone loves a barbecue chicken pizza so why not make one with turkey instead. Grab your favorite homemade or store bought pizza crust, spread on some of the barbecue sauce, turkey, red onions, and cheese. Then top with fresh cilantro.

Slow Cooker Barbecue turkey in a sandwich bun with coleslaw and a pickle.

Can I freeze slow cooker turkey breast?

This crockpot turkey will keep in the freezer after it has been cooked. Make sure to store it with plenty of sauce. The best way to defrost it is to place it in the fridge the night before and let it thaw out overnight. It can also be defrosted in the microwave on low power so it doesn't dry out.

Can I make this with chicken instead?

If you can't find turkey or you prefer chicken, this recipe will still turn out great. You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs. If you decide to use chicken breasts, make sure to only cook them for 3-4 hours on low so they don't become dry.

Can I make this with prepared barbecue sauce?

Absolutely! If you don't want to make your own sauce, you can use your favorite store bought option instead. You will need about 1.5 cups of barebcue sauce to replace the homemade one. Look for one that is low in sugar and doesn't contain lots of hard to pronounce ingredients to keep things light and healthy. 

The Recipe
Slow Cooker Barbecue pulled turkey on a bun with coleslaw.

Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Breast

241 CAL 18g CARBS 4g FAT 35g PROTEIN
COOK TIME: 4 Hours, 10 Min
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 20 Min
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  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups ketchup, no sugar added
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2.67 lbs. boneless skinless turkey breast
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

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In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients, except the turkey and onions.


Layer the onions on the bottom of the slow cooker. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and place over the onions. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours until the turkey is fork tender.


Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and place it on a plate. Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and continue to cook on high for 8-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.


While the sauce is thickening, shred or slice the turkey using two forks and return to the slow cooker. Add the sauce and stir together.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 241
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 91mg
Sodium 850mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 15g
Protein 35g

* 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.


You can easily make this a spicy barbecue sauce by adding hot sauce, chipotle peppers, red pepper flakes, or chili powder to taste.
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About the author Meet 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
On Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Breast
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Trudi Ross
August 1, 2018 - 14:45
Where can I find a small boneless, skinless turkey breast? Sounds so, so good!
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August 3, 2018 - 18:20
Walmart carries them. They are frozen and are located across from the packed meat in the meat section.
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