My slow cooker turkey breast recipe is the perfect recipe for a small, family Thanksgiving. No fuss, hands-off, and delicious every time.
I hear there is a run on small turkeys, so this is a great back-up option. A turkey breast is an economical way to enjoy turkey for Thanksgiving, but not fuss with a big bird. Pop it into your slow cooker and you have even more time for the Macy’s Day Parade and football games. (And more room in your oven for all the best side dishes.)
This is my step-by-step tutorial of how to cook a turkey breast in a slow cooker. You can play with the recipe and adjust to your taste preferences. Another bonus, you can also pop in some red potatoes and have those ready to go as an easy side dish. You can make this long after the Thanksgiving holiday is over as it’s a perfect Sunday dinner meal.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast How-To
First, make sure your turkey breast is defrosted. Take it out at least one day ahead of time if it’s frozen. This lets the meat cook evenly and avoid getting dried out.
You can find a turkey breast netted or not, and it really won’t impact cooking this recipe. I grabbed mine at Whole Foods and they carry a netted option. (Amazon Prime brought me “turkey cutlets” the first time instead of my turkey breast which is why this recipe post is just a bit later than I had planned.)
There’s no need to brine this turkey. See, already easier than cooking a full-size turkey.
Step 1: Place Turkey Breast in your Slow Cooker
Slow cooker temperature ranges vary quite a bit. The good news is this recipe accounts for those nuances. This is my favorite slow cooker from All-Clad that is 6.5 quarts.
Unwrap your turkey breast from the package or paper. Place it at the bottom of your slow cooker lengthwise.
Step 2: Add your Aromatics
In my recipe, I love to add a bag of fresh cranberries, celery, onion, carrots, and some fresh parsley and rosemary. The reason we add the aromatics is two-fold.
- The ingredients help infuse flavor into the turkey breast, which is rather lean. By slow cooking the turkey breast we can inject it with lots of flavors.
- I use the broth in this recipe to make gravy. Having a homemade turkey broth adds so much more flavor to your turkey gravy.
Step 3: Cover Turkey Breast and Aromatics with Broth or Water
This is where there is not quite a precise measurement, it will depend on the size of your slow cooker. The key is to COVER your turkey with broth or water. You can use filtered water, vegetable broth, or in my case I opted for my homemade chicken bone broth for even more flavor.
Do you know what will happen when you’ve added enough water? Your cranberries will float! It’s a good way to know you are headed in the right direction.
The last step is to add sea salt and freshly ground pepper, because everything really tastes better with a quick hit of both.
Step 4: Set your Slow Cooker Timer
I find the best cook time for the crock pot turkey breast is for 3-4 hours on high, or 5-7 on low. Now, smaller slow cookers cook faster as there is less water or broth to heat up. So adjust accordingly.
Also, make a meat thermometer your friend. I opt for 160°F when cooking poultry, then I take it out and let it rest for at least 5 minutes to help distribute the juices, and it will keep cooking to the magical number of 165°F.
Step 5: Strain the Broth
You can use the broth for gravy as I mentioned, or save for a turkey soup if you have any meat leftover. With a small, 2 pound turkey breast, you may not have a ton of leftovers, so plan accordingly.
I hope this helps you celebrate a small Thanksgiving, either in person or virtually. If you have any questions about cooking Thanksgiving dinner, head over to Instagram where I can answer your questions.
If you have skin on your turkey breast, you can pop it under the broiler to crisp up the skin if it’s one of your favorite part’s of a big turkey dinner. (yes, it’s mine. My sister and I would always hover to grab some once it was being carved)
Also, feel free to a some white wine to your slow cooker. Always use good quality wine that you would drink in a glass. If you wouldn’t drink the grocery store white wine, don’t cook with it.
My favorite wines to pair with a Thanksgiving Turkey are as follows:
- Pinot Noir– a light, fruity red that doesn’t compete with the turkey flavor
- Chardonnay– a classic food pairing wine, although I love ones that are unoaked.
- Sparkling wine– grab a glass before dinner to kick off the holiday, then enjoy some seasonal cider with your meal.
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Please pin the Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe below to save for seasons to come.