Slow Cooker Turkey with No-Fuss Gravy
Simplify turkey with this slow cooker turkey breast – it is unbelievably delicious and flavorful and so easy, even the gravy makes itself!
So I know that in the whole scheme of Thanksgiving planning, it’s wonderful and ideal and rockstar-ish to pull out the big guns and roast the most beautiful, impressive, golden wonder of a bird like the world has never seen.
I get it.
I’m totally bowled over by gorgeous, golden turkeys, I am. And every year it seems someone has a new, better way to produce The Juiciest Turkey with The Crispiest Skin with The Best Gravy.
But you know what? There is brilliant wisdom in simplifying sometimes and this slow cooker turkey breast – while it won’t produce the crispy golden skin and wow-that-whole-bird-is-pretty effect – is out of this world juicy, delicious and so ridiculously simple, I swear, it will leave you twiddling your thumbs on Thanksgiving.
Ok, maybe not that, but close, especially since the cooking method basically produces instant gravy at the end of the process.
Instead of a full turkey, a bone-in turkey breast slow cooks in a simple medley of vegetables and braising liquid and as is wont to happen in most slow cooker applications, the low and slow cooking method results in an incredibly juice, flavorful turkey.
After a few minutes of stovetop simmering, you’ll also have a mighty tasty gravy to slather over that turkey.
Taking Thanksgiving out of the picture, this is a fabulous, easy meal for a Sunday dinner (which is how we enjoyed it) that can be made any time of the year, and the turkey leftovers are fabulous. As turkey leftovers always are, in my opinion.
If you are looking to simplify Thanksgiving, this recipe totally has your back. It is definitely some of the finest tasting turkey I’ve ever enjoyed and as a self-professed turkey lover who has eaten a lot, a lot of turkey, I’m kind of an expert in this area.
What To Serve With This:
Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes or Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Steamed vegetable or this Green Bean Casserole
A really, great dinner roll (for homemade I suggest these Lion House Dinner Rolls)
One Year Ago: Tortellini Sausage Soup
Two Years Ago: Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili
Three Years Ago: BBQ Turkey Quesadillas
Slow Cooker Turkey with No-Fuss Gravy
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups no-salt added or low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tablespoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 pound bone-in skin-on turkey breast
- Salt and pepper
- In a large, nonstick skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are lightly browned.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until the flour coating the veggies turns golden. Whisk in 1 cup of the broth, working to smooth out any lumps as it cooks and thickens. Stir in the remaining broth and water. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
- Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Season the turkey breast all over with salt and pepper (see the note above about how much salt to use). Place the turkey in the slow cooker (breast side down). Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours until the internal temperature of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees.
- Carefully transfer the turkey breast to a cutting board (or 9X13-inch pan to catch any juices), tent with foil and let rest while preparing the gravy.
- Strain the liquid in the slow cooker into a saucepan. Let it settle for 5 minutes or so and then skim the fat from the surface. Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, until it is slightly thickened. It won’t be as thick as traditional gravy but will be silky and slightly thick. If you’d like it thicker, simply whisk together a slurry of cornstarch and cold water (a tablespoon or so of cornstarch in a couple tablespoons of water) and stir the slurry into the gravy, simmering for 2-3 minutes.
- Season the gravy with any additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Carve the turkey and serve with the warm gravy.
Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe referred to me by a long-time reader, Rebecca L., from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution (thanks, Rebecca!)
206 Comments on “Slow Cooker Turkey with No-Fuss Gravy”
I’ve made this quite a few times in my instant pot on the slow cooker function and it’s perfect every time.
Do you think I could prep this the night before (and put instant pot stainless insert in the fridge) and then turn on in the morning?
Yes, I think that could work pretty well!
Very moist and love the gravy. My new favorite way to make turkey.
I found this recipe 3 or 4 years ago and it has become my go-to holiday turkey! Everyone loves it. I am elderly and doing the whole oven roasted turkey and fixings has just become too much. This is simple and delicious. Thank you so much!
Would it be ok to use a boneless breast? Would I need it change anything? Thank you!
You can definitely try – bone-in will probably be a bit more tender but I think a lot of others have tried it with boneless.
I use a boneless breast and it turns out great. Super tender.
About how many with this recipe serve?
Love this recipe! I’d like to incorporate stuffing. Do you think I could tuck stuffing under the breast for an hour?
You could definitely try! (Haven’t tried it myself…worry that it might get a bit soggy in the slow cooker).
This is the ONLY way we cook turkey now! Love your site and every recipe we have ever tried. We make this GF by using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour and dairy free by using olive oil.
I’m going to try this for a whole chicken in the slow cooker. Any recommendations for me?
That’s a great idea! Should be about the same cooking time and method for a chicken.
I couldn’t find a turkey breast at my grocery store, so I bought 4 bone-in turkey thighs. I cooked for the same amount of time listed in the recipe and it was DELICIOUS! The gravy was incredibly tasty too. Thanks, Mel! 🙂
Typically my family makes 3 turkeys a year, because we have big thanksgiving dinners. With COVID this year, or thanksgiving was cut down to like 15 people. We had a 22 pound turkey and 2 turkey breast! This was a huge hit! Nobody touched the big turkey, and the 2 breast were gone before I could even make my plate! Lol the gravy was delicious! Thanks so much!
These are terrible instructions. You have water and 2.5 cups of broth in the recipe but in the instruction you only use 1 c of broth. really not helpful
It clearly says to add the remaining broth… read next time
LOVE This recipe. So easy, so tasty, and the aromatics just make the gravy perfect.
Will this work with a brine?
Also, is there a way to brown it so the skin gets crispy?
This recipe doesn’t work well for browning to get a crispy skin, unfortunately. The slow cooker prevents the skin from crisping up. You could try a brine – not sure how it would affect the overall saltiness.
I have a 9.58 lb turkey breast. I am hoping to use your recipe. To big?
As long as it fits nicely in the slow cooker, it should work.
Ever tried this with a 20 lb turkey in an electric roaster?
This is particularly wonderful way to cook turkey as it can be done the day before. Then the juices can be refrigerated so the fat rises and can be removed before making the gravy on the following day. I have also been known to do a breast and then a few legs to keep the dark meat folks happy too. Only wish my pot were big enough to do them at the same time. But this works well enough–and the house smells good for days!
I don’t have a slow cooker large enough to fit a 6-8 pound turkey breast. I have a 4 quart, so what size (pounds) of turkey breast would you suggest and how long would I cook it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I don’t know if turkey breasts come in smaller 3-pound sizes, but you could look for a smaller one like that. Cook time should be about the same.
I get a 3-lb breast. as we are a small group,. I just start checking it after 4 hours, but usually leave it on low for about 6 hours. I haven’t adjusted the aromatics at all and it turns out great. Also, my daughter uses the liquid as the “gravy.” Sometimes I add a few more vegetables.
This is my go to for turkey! I use it for sandwiches and salads throughout the week! So yummy and easy!
Loved, loved, loved this recipe! So easy to make. The turkey fell off the bone and was oh-so flavorful. I kept picking at it from the the time I took it out of the slow cooker to the time I put it away in the frig. Yum, yum, yummy!
Thank you, thank you for this recipe! I made it for Thanksgiving. It was the best turkey I’ve ever had and it was so easy! I used a 5.8 lb turkey breast and two turkey legs. It all barely fit in my crockpot. We are planning on a bigger group for Christmas. Do you think I could do this same method with a whole turkey in a turkey roaster? Or should I stick to the recipe and double it using two crockpots?
I don’t know about using a whole turkey but I have done a couple of turkey breasts in an electric roaster and it worked great!
I made this for Thanksgiving this year and my husband and I both agree that it’s the best turkey we’ve made over the past 4 years of cooking our own turkey. It was delicious and fell off of the bones. plus, it was much easier than making a whole turkey for our family of six, only two of which will actually eat said turkey. We’re hopeful our kids will one day like Thanksgiving food, and not just lick the butter off of their rolls. Haha.
Thanks Mel for a delicious recipe. I made this recipe with a 1.2 kg turkey breast (no skin and no bone) and it was delicious. It also made great gravy. My husband raved about the tenderness of the turkey.
We live abroad and will celebrate Thanksgiving with friends this coming weekend. However I really wanted to produce a turkey dinner for our family of four on Thanksgiving, which was a weeknight here and busy. This recipe allowed me to do that while still managing the other activities.
Thank you so much, Amy! Happy Thanksgiving!
I think I may try this, this week. And the ham one next week.
Easy is best Thank you!
Do you think you could cook 2 turkey breasts like this in a large roaster? If so, what temperature would you recommend? Thanks!
Yes, I think so! Probably 275 degrees?
**Instant Pot Success** I’ve been making this for a few years in my slow cooker, and I finally tried it in my IP on Sunday. I used directions from Marci’s (Tidbits–IP Guru) IP Turkey Breast recipe. I put the veggies in the bottom of the pot and the metal trivet on top and then the turkey in breast side down. I was able to seal the lid just fine. I cooked my 6 lb. turkey breast at high pressure for 30 min. (She recommends 35-40, now, but I had an old print out of her recipe and 30 min. worked fine as mine was only 6 lbs..) I let it natural release for 30 min and then put it on a platter and tented it with foil for another 30 min. We took the breast off the bone and cut with an electric knife and it was complete PERFECTION! The gravy, as always, was AMAZING! In total, my turkey was ready to eat, start to finish in about 2 hours.
If I’m making this for a few that don’t eat gluten-would you just not shade the flour in the veggies or would you use cornstarch? In your opinion which is more fool proof-pot roast or this
You could try cornstarch – I haven’t ever made it gluten free so that’s just a suggestion. Good luck if you try it!
Use brown rice flour ! I have been making this for my family for a few years now and most of them have to eat gluten free due to Celiac disease. Brown rice flour is a perfect thickener and is used interchangeably with white flour to thicken sauces. This is my family’s and extended family’s all-time favorite meal !!
Thank you for the gluten free advice! I’ve made this turkey multiple times and the recipe is amazing, but I need to prepare this for someone with Celiac’s this year! Your experience is priceless!
This was wonderful!!
I have made this several times and it comes out great every time. Have also used it for chicken breasts. The gravy is really good. The past couple of times I’ve used chicken stock (made in the instant pot) instead of the chicken broth with good results.
I found a deal on a turkey breast and tried this for thanksgiving. I think I’m going to want to make this every year now! It was so so easy!! And the gravy really was amazing! Thank you for making my thanksgiving about a million times easier this year.
Forgot to mention – my 7 lb turkey breast just barely stuck up enough out of my large oval crockpot for the lid to not fit. I did a double layer of foil and it worked like a charm! Thanks for the great tip.
Happy to hear this, Trish!
I made this today while hosting thanksgiving for lots of friends and family. It was SO easy and delicious. I doubled the recipe so that I could have a second crock pot for turkey legs (I prefer the dark meat), and it all turned out so delicious. I especially loved that it freed up the oven space for ham or other food prep. I will be repeating this recipe in the future!
Thank you, Mel. I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes and this turkey recipe was no different. It was incredibly moist and delicious and gots lots of compliments from my family on Thanksgiving. I have tried it with both a bone-in and a boneless turkey breast and it was perfect each time. Thanks again – You’re the best!!
Mel, should I let the turkey breast come out of refrig for an hour before putting it in the slow cooker, thanks for your help. Gretjen
No, as long as it is thawed, it can go right in!
You nailed this recipe!! It turned out sooooo good and the gravy was to die for!
Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!
Most recipes have the turkey breast up. Is there a difference between these two methods?
It’s probably just a matter of preference…I think cooking it breast side down keeps the meat more moist.
This recipe is so good not only in taste but ease that it’s become our standard (Canadian) Thanksgiving recipe. We have a big family dinner away from home at our cottage and it’s way easier and nice to plug in a couple of Crock-Pots and go hiking in the fall leaves than deal with a big bird and an oven all afternoon. Gravy is delicious too. Thanks, Mel.
Thanks, Sarah – and Happy Thanksgiving!
This is my first year making a turkey breast and trying it in a crockpot. I’m excited to try this out.
I’m wondering how much gravy this recipe makes? We use lots of gravy for the turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes. Could I double the gravy ingredients without running the risk of overflow? My turkey breast is less than 6lbs because it’s organic and there’s only 4 of us eating it.
If you generally use a lot of gravy, the amounts in this recipe may not be enough. I don’t know if it would overflow if you doubled the gravy amounts without knowing exactly what kind of slow cooker you are using…as long as it isn’t filled to the very top when you add all the ingredients, it should be fine.
Thank you! I’ll let you know how it turns out! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Have you ever cooked this on high?
I haven’t; sorry!
Would this work on the stovetop in an enamel cast iron pot?
I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure; sorry!
This is in my crockpot and smells delicious. I ca t wait to taste it later! Happy Thanksgiving!
How would you adapt this to an Instant Pot? Thanks, your my favorite go-to site!
I haven’t tried it, but maybe 50 minutes high pressure?
I’m thinking about making this turkey breast along with a smoked turkey. I was wondering how much gravy does this make or could you double all the ingredients (except turkey breast) or would it over flow and make a big mess? (have a big family) Any advise?
You could probably double the ingredients for the gravy as long as the slow cooker is big enough. Keep in mind it is a thinner gravy than a more traditional gravy made on the stovetop.
How many people does this feed?
This was my first attempt at turkey, and I was blown away with how amazing it turned out! Thanks for sharing, this was great!
I’ve made this recipe several times. I could drink that gravy straight up. There. I admitted it. 🙂
Anxious to make this, however, need it to be gluten free. What would be the best gluten free flour to substitute?
Hi Barb, I’m not sure – sorry! I don’t cook gluten-free and so I’m not familiar with subbing in gluten-free flours.
Hello Mel! Happy Holidays to you!
We have made this recipe the last two Thanksgivings. It is the best turkey I have ever eaten!
Quick question, do you see any problem using this exact recipe but switching out the turkey breast for turkey legs?
Thanks so much!
I have made this recipe for the holidays about 4 years now.
I just made it for Thanksgiving this year. Everyone loves the turkey!
I buy a frozen Butterball 4.75lb turkey breast from Costco. I thaw it for 2-3 days.
Then put it in my oval crockpot that I bought at Costco. I follow Mel’s recipe exactly. It cooks With The Netting On for about 6 hours on high and then you cut off the netting with scissors It’s hot, so hold it with tongs.
You can put it on a platter and then slice it on the platter.
Then all the juice you have left in your crockpot can be strained and that is your gravy. You can thicken your gravy if you want but I did not need to because there is already flour in the vegetables that you sautéed and put in the crockpot!
This is a fabulous recipe and all the side dishes are in the oven while my turkey is in the crockpot. PS: I do 2 every year . I borrow my daughters crockpot and we have 2 on the counter! The leftovers make the best soup!
Thanks Mel for a easy Thanksgiving!
Is it a boneless turkey breast?
I usually use bone-in – it’s a little more tender.
Yes Melissa, it’s a boneless turkey breast.
I made this slow cooker turkey breast and my family loved it! It was flavorful and tender. I made a couple of adjustments I sprayed the slow cooker with Pam, and because I was concerned about the lid fitting over my 6 lb turkey breast, I poured about 1/2 cup of the broth mixture in the pot first the the turkey and fingerling carrots so that the carrots would be on the bottom increasing the turkey height. Also I used garlic paste and bay leaf flakes which simplified things even more. I did not add salt as my chicken broth had sodium and used all broth and no water. It took a 5 hrs on low and 1.25 hrs on high to reach 165 degrees done. I will definitely do this again.
Thanks for the update! Happy you loved the recipe. 🙂
I made this today as my first attempt at cooking a turkey. It was wonderful and so easy, even the gravy! I ended up with a brined turkey breast and opted to add no additional salt and it turned out great. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe that will be part of many Thanksgivings to come!
Thanks for the review, Holly! So happy it turned out well for your Thanksgiving dinner!
How do I adjust recipes for my new 2 1/2 quart oval casserole slow cooker?
You would probably want to halve most slow cooker recipes that are written for a 5- or 6-quart.
I plan on trying this recipe for Thanksgiving this year but the only turkey we could get says to cook from frozen. Would this work if we add 1-2 hours to the cook time or should we just thaw it first?
Interesting, Betty – I haven’t seen turkeys that say to cook from frozen, but I’m guessing it should work, although you might need more like 2-3 additional hours for a frozen turkey breast.
I have an electric pressure cooker that I love. I have 2 questions for you? 1st can my pressure cooker be used instead of a slow cooker and 2nd I would like to see more recipes for pressure cookers…..Joseph
I haven’t made this recipe in a pressure cooker (yet) but it should transition really well!
I would like to make this turkey a week before thanksgiving since we will be out of town till Wednesday night. Suggestions in freezing and reheating it up?
Not really sure – I haven’t tried that – but you could just try freezing in a large container with some of the juices from the turkey and then reheating in a pan in the oven on low heat so it doesn’t dry out.
This might be a little dumb, but would you be willing to put a picture of “bone-side down” on the site? I’m assuming it means meat side down vs bone side, but I would like to be sure.
Next time I make it, I’ll take a picture…but bone-side down should be the main part with bones – put that down first (meat side up).
I meant to say “breast side down” like the recipe.
So should it be meat side (breast side) up then? The recipe says breast side down but I’ve never cook e a turkey breast like that before…just wanted to check. Love your recipes Mel!
The meaty portion of the breast should be face down.
This year we celebrated Thanksgiving a day late and there were only 5 of us. Our family are huge fans of your recipes and my daughter suggested we try this method this year instead of cooking a huge turkey. It was brilliant!! The turkey was juicy, the gravy was perfect and the clean-up was minimal. Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes.
Hey Sheri – so happy you loved this slow cooker method; it’s a favorite! Happy belated Thanksgiving!
I made this today. I prepped everything last night, and refrigerated it until putting it in the crockpot early this morning. I was a bit nervous, because my breast was on the large side – 9 1/2 lbs. I decided to give myself extra time, in case I needed to pop it into a roaster at the last minute, but no problem. It was done in 7 1/2 hours, and the foil over the top worked great. Thanks for the recipe, Mel.
Thanks for checking in with the details of how you made it work, Terry!
I’m sure you’re busy with your own thanksgiving plans (Happy Thanksgiving!), do you think I can get this all ready today and pop it in the my crockpot in the middle of the night? Is sitting between prep and cooking for a few hours going to hurt anything?
As long as it’s refrigerated from a food safety perspective between prepping and waiting to go in the crockpot, you should be good!
I just popped online to ask the same question. I have mine all prepped and ready to go for tomorrow morning when I take it out of the fridge and turn on my crock pot!
I have a question about cooking times. Since I want to eat at a specific time 5-7hrs is a big range. Is it 5hrs in low for a 6pd bird, 6hrs for 7pds, 7hrs for 8? I’m not a regular crockpot cooker and still rely on specific recipes. Thanks!
That’s probably a good range. Part of the reason I don’t give a specific time is, unfortunately, slow cookers vary quite widely in temperature between brands. I’ve had slow cookers that cook very hot, even on low. So a lot will depend on that, too. If you find that your low setting tends to cook things fast (the liquid is at a simmer consistently instead of just being really hot to cook the food), then you can probably err on the side of the lower cooking time.
Just made this for our Canadian Thanksgiving. I wanted something easy while we could be out hiking at the cottage while the turkey cooked, and this was both easy and delicious! Definitely pricier, but worth the difference in time, mess/clean-up, and prep (there was hardly any fat to skim off the gravy). A keeper for sure! Thanks, Mel.
Hi Mel! I have made this in my crock pot before and absolutely loved it!!! I just bought a pressure cooker and was hoping for a conversion. How long do you think I should cook it on high pressure? Thanks!
Not sure, Amanda – take a look at the whole chicken post I did in the pressure cooker. That should give you a good starting point.
I am looking forward to trying this recipe, however I am having trouble finding a bone-in, skin on turkey breast in my area. Do you use a frozen turkey (national brand such as Butterball), or something from your butcher?
Hi Laura – I made this recipe a month or so ago and couldn’t find the bone-in either in my store that normally carries it so I used a boneless turkey breast and it seemed to work pretty well.
This may be a silly question, but do you eat the veggies used in this recipe too, or are they just for flavour?
They are just used for flavor.
Made this yesterday for T-Day. I cry… this recipe makes the best turkey EVER!!! The tip about using foil was PERFECT- since mine peeked out just enough to not allow the lid to close. I think I let mine go a bit longer than I should have – it literally fell off the bones, but thankfully wasn’t overcooked. The gravy… holy schmoley BatMan!!! So silky and smooth and not overwhelming. I’ve done the crockpot thing a few times, but this is the first time it was really flavorful and moist. Definitely a winner. But quite honestly- all of Mel’s recipes and stuff is SPOT on. I also made the Pumpkin Cheesecake crumble bars (excellent) and have been using your video to shape my dinner rolls for some time. I always try to check your website for recipes first- they are well done, well written (because it can be a good recipe but if it’s not well written- it won’t matter) and your recipes are always good. I trust your recipes 100% . I’m learning more and becoming more experienced- so that helps but you don’t have to be a novice to appreciate your recipes. Thank you for sharing all you do.
Thank you, Andrea!
Can this recipe be reverted to a roaster using a whole turkey? I have made this recipe multiple times in the crock pot and get rave reviews. I have been elected to prepare a turkey for our Thanksgiving Potluck at work and I am nervous that it’ll be a flop.
Just wanted to respond with a follow up to my question about reverting this recipe to a roaster.
I doubled the batch of gravy goodness and cooked at 200° placed the turkey breast side down, wrapped the lid of the roaster tightly with aluminum foil and cooked for approximately 12 hrs. Then I flipped the turkey breast up and set to warm until ready to serve.
I was very nervous about ruining our potluck not to mention a whole turkey! The turkey came out perfectly moist and juicy and was a hit! Good Luck!!!
Thanks for reporting back, Chris!
Hey Mel! I think I want to try this recipe this year, but my dilemna is finding the bone in turkey breast. Is there a particular brand you used? Did you have to ask a butcher for a 6 lb turkey breast? Any help would be appreciated 🙂
Hi Trish – I’m excited you’ll be making this turkey. It’s so delicious. Granted I haven’t bought a bone-in turkey breast since I moved to Idaho (from Minnesota and Wisconsin) but back there, I used to just find them at my grocery store near the other turkey options. I’m sorry I don’t remember the brand. If you can’t find it, definitely ask your butcher.
I’m excited to try this, but I wonder about the skin. Other recipes suggest putting the turkey in the oven toward the end of the cooking time. Any thoughts?
This turkey, because it’s slow cooked, isn’t going to give you a crispy outside skin but it isn’t intended too since the focus is more on the juicy, super tender turkey meat. You could experiment browning it up in the oven but it falls apart (because it’s so tender) pretty easily and I haven’t tried it that way.
I’ve made this a couple times now and love it! The gravy is so yummy I’m going to save it for other recipes throughout the week.
Thank you!! it worked beautifully…and you gave me inspiration – I also did a simplified version – salt and peppered the hindquarter, 1 x chicken stock cube in 2.5cups of water, 3 pieces of lemon and a couple of shakes of Thyme herbs. Six hours on Auto. Thanks again Ladies, and wishing you all the very best for a fabulous 2015
Looking forward to eating this for Christmas lunch today! Just FYI, Four hours on HIGH for those who don’t want to get up at 5:00am to put on the turkey!
Hi Mel, thank you for your reply and apologies for my delayed response…I will let you know of the success after Christmas. Wishing you and yours a safe and Merry Christmas.
Great reviews, great looking recipe and thanks for the concept. I gather the ‘make-ahead’ turkey is…ahem, not to be talked about…but I need to know! Could I get your advice please on making this one day ahead with a turkey hindquarter? Thanks in advance.
I’ve never used a turkey hindquarter but you could definitely try it. I think making it one day ahead of time and then reheating should work fine.
This was my first year being in charge of the Thanksgivings Turkey. My hubby isn’t the biggest fan of Turkey, he says it’s always dry. So I wanted to prove to him that you can have a moist and yummy turkey. This recipe was perfectly juicy and delicious. Hubby even commented that the turkey was not dry! Thanks for the yummy and easy recipe!
I could only find split breasts so I bought two totaling 6.5 lbs. do you think they’ll cook evenly if I cook them together? …in the same amount of time?
I haven’t tried it that way, Peggy, but I think it should work fine.
Hi Mel, what would you suggest to put in with turkey breast? Should we just put in everything from the recipe?
On time length on low setting, how many hours should we consider?
I would suggest following the recipe and see how it works out. I’ve never used the exact appliance you will be using so I don’t know how to adjust so it would be best to see how it goes with the recipe instructions. Good luck!
Hi Mel, I just discovered your helpful website and I am seriously considering using our old Contempra slow cooker for a Brined Split- Bone Turkey Breast which is only 2.66 lbs. It is already brined and refrigerated.
In comparison to others here on the board this sounds small, yet we are only two persons. How does the Hi and Low setting work in relation to the cooking time and when is either selected? What would you suggest here about rinsing the brine off ? I just read that it is suggested to not rinse it off because it may spread any bacteria. I’m fortunate to live in FL so I thought I could rinse it off outside with a garden hose. Hey… one must be creative here.
I need your advice however on the actual slow- cooker cooking process.
Thank you and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Hi Hans – I use the low setting on my slow cooker and that’s what I would recommend. Unfortunately I don’t know how a turkey would do in this recipe that’s already been brined. Like you suggested, maybe rinsing the brine could help? Good luck!
If i have a 5qt oval slow cooker will i be able to fit a 6-8 lbs turkey breast in it?
I think it works best with a 7-quart or larger slow cooker but it all kind of depends on the actual size/shape of the turkey breast.
I’ve used MANY of your recipes in the past, and I’ve never commented until now. Our oven just broke, and it doesn’t look like it will be fixed in time for Thanksgiving. We live far from family, and recently moved, so it’s just us and the kiddos. This is going to save Thanksgiving dinner! So for this, and all the other dinner times your recipes have graced our table, I am thankful for you!!!!!! 🙂
Love this idea, especially with few visitors on the holiday! Question before I use it this year: I use the Williams-Sonoma dry brine (didn’t want to post a link in case you thought it was spam) every year and it makes for amazing flavor. Will it oversalt this recipe though?
Hey Catherine, I’m not familiar with that brine and how salty it is and the other flavors. But you could try it and just cut the salt down significantly in the recipe (and add more to taste at the end). Good luck if you try it.
Did it today and it worked beautifully! I used the unsalted broth and didn’t have to season the turkey at all after rinsing off the dry brine. The gravy was some of the most flavorful I’ve ever had! This recipe is definitely a small-Thanksgiving keeper.
I’m very excited to try your recipe for Thanksgiving this year! Most of the other recipes I’ve seen say to cook it breast side up, but you prefer down?
Placing it breast side down helps the juices all congregate there making for a super juicy turkey.
Great, thank you! Can’t wait to try it!
I am having family over for Thanksgiving this year and I am thinking about trying this, but my sister-in-law is gluten free. Can I sub cornstarch for the flour?
You’d have to experiment, Sarah, but I think it has a really good chance of working out.
Thanks for the clarification about wrapping the crockpot in foil (ie, it is not part of the standard recipe). This was delicious! I did modify the ingredients just a little: using 3 large carrots and three celery stalks (instead of 1 each in the original recipe) and then adding several red potatoes cut into large chunks and placed around the turkey breast for the last 3.5 hours of cooking. Turned out great. Served with steamed broccoli for a colourful and delicious meal. Thank you for a good recipe!
This is cooking right now and I am looking forward to eating it tonight 🙂 but I am confused by all the questions about wrapping the crockpot/slow cooker in foil– I’ve read the recipe a couple of times and all I see is information about “tenting” the cooked breast meat to keep it warm while heating the gravy. Am I missing something? Or has the recipe been changed? Thank you.
I think someone early on asked me about what to do if the turkey breast sticks out above the top of the slow cooker just a bit (and the lid won’t fit) and I suggested covering the slow cooker in foil over the turkey breast instead of using the lid.
Mel, I would love to use this method to cook to make hot turkey sandwiches, does this make enough gravy to do that with?
Julie – I’ve never made hot turkey sandwiches so I don’t know exactly how much gravy you are after but it definitely makes enough gravy for mashed potatoes and for over the turkey so my guess is that yes, it would be fine for the sandwiches. Good luck!
Hi Mel! I have a 5lb breast should I adjust anything?
Happy Holidays to you and your family!!!
Lori – probably not – I would just follow the recipe as is. Good luck!
I used your recipe and the turkey and gravy were amazing! Thank you for helping me to make my day a little easier with delicious results!
The absolute best! I made this for the family this Thanksgiving and I just got a text from my sister asking me for the recipe. She said “Do you think you can send us the turkey slow cooker recipe? We are still craving Thanksgiving leftovers. I think we’ll make it this weekend.” It was simple to make, so tender and delicious to eat and easy to clean up. I think I’ve just started a new family tradition.
We had an oven roasted turkey but also made this. FABULOUS! Not only was it remarkably simple, the gravy was delicious [much better than I usually make]. Even as left-overs last night (Sunday) the turkey was moist and the gravy still mighty tasty. Thanks – big thanks.
Thanks for this! We went to my inlays for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to roast a breast for us to have leftovers at home. This was perfect!
I made this slow cooker turkey for my family’s small Thanksgiving get-together yesterday and it was a big hit! Everyone commented on how tender and flavorful the turkey was, and using the crock pot made getting dinner together so easy because I could use the oven for green beans and desserts. The bone in turkey breast was a perfect 160 degrees and a great color after 5 hours on low in my 2009 model Crock Pot. The aluminum foil kept the steam and heat in. Thanks so much for the recipe!
I don’t think I have ever cooked a turkey breast that big. Here are two things to consider: 1) If you have a newer crock pot, they do run a little hotter than the older ones and 2) I always start mine out on high heat for the first hour or so & then turn it down to low. With poultry I worry about the meat sitting too long at a low temperature and causing food poisoning. Mine always turn out wonderful, juicy and not dry. If your turkey ends up dry it is overcooked. Good luck & enjoy!
I’m totally planning on doing this tomorrow! I just want to double check, that a bone-in 7 lb turkey breast can cook on LOW in 5-7hrs? That seems a little fast for a piece of meat that size. Just want to be sure. Thanks in advance!
Mary – sorry for my late response. If you are worried about the temperature/cooking time, make sure to use a cooking thermometer to get the turkey to the appropriate temperature but when I made this, 5-7 hours was perfect for that size of turkey breast.
I am excited to try this out this year since it will just be my small family eating. I’m a little nervous about covering the crockpot with foil! Is there really any wrong way of doing it? If the crockpot isn’t covered properly is it going to let moisture out and make my meat not turn out as good? Do you just wrap the foil around from front to back a few times and maybe side to side and do a few layers? I just want to make sure it turns out good so my husband will give this new method a thumbs up so we can do turkeys like this from now on! Thanks for the great recipes!
Erin, I lay out two sheets of overlapping foil the long direction and then two more the short direction and crimp all four sheets under the edge of the crockpot so it is well sealed. It works great!
I cook my turkey breasts this way but without the veggies and gravy. I usually cook one every couple of months to have leftovers for sandwiches and diced for other recipes. My favorite grocery store usually charges $1.99 Lb. for the boneless breast. Quite a bargain when you compare it to ground beef these days. And needless to say, a whole lot more healthy as it is low fat.
I’ve made this. It’s crazy delicious. I’m making it again for Thanksgiving. 🙂
Sounds great. However, I tried something similar to this following a recipe about 4 years ago and it was a disaster. Why, do people post recipes w/o noting the crock pot/slow cooker size? Thank you for listing your 7 qt. size. Mine was 4 and again…a total disaster. Love your recipes!
Um, tears almost came to my eyes when I saw this recipe. Bless you!!! I did the big turkey, aromatics brine and all last year and it turned out great. But 4 months pregnant has got me super excited to try this simple version this year. Thanks!!
Maybe silly to ask, but will this work with a boneless turkey breast?
Monica – not silly at all! I haven’t tried it with a boneless turkey breast but I do believe that a bone-in turkey breast will provide much juicier meat.
I tried it with a boneless breast and it turned out GREAT! Just keep an eye on it as it doesn’t take quite as long to cook. In fact, my daughter now wants me to use this recipe from now on instead of my traditional turkey. Wow! What a time saver and the turkey turns out so tender and flavorful. I can’t thank you enough for this recipe.
Mel, you’ve saved the day! I was wondering what to do for Thanksgiving with just a few of us – don’t want to roast a whole turkey. I love the idea of using the slow cooker (I love mine too!)
By the way, you are a household name in our home. Whenever I’m trying out a new recipe my daughter says “is it from Mel?”….and then she tells me I’m the best cooker ever 🙂
Hi Mel – Thanks for the quick response re: which slow cooker you use. Do you think a 6 quart slow cooker would be large enough to hold the 6 pound bone-in turkey breast I already have? I was hoping to go no larger than a 6 quart size. TIA
Kathy – it’s really hard to know! Sorry I can’t give you a definitive answer. As long as the width of the turkey fits in, you can cover it with tin foil if it sticks up above the top of the slow cooker.
I just did this. I will NEVER cook a whole bird again. Fabulous.
Mel – This method to cook bone-in turkey breast was so timely! My DD had asked me if a slow cooker could be used to prepare turkey breast. The next day I received your email with this recipe. Thank you! We have always oven-roasted our bone-in turkey breasts but would love to try your slow-cooker method. Question – Which size/brand of oval slow cooker do you use for this recipe? I need to buy an oval slow cooker as I don’t have one yet. TIA
Hi Kathy – I have the crockpot brand and I believe my oval slow cooker is 7 quart. Have fun shopping!
After seeing these photos I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. Looks simple and delicious!
This sounds fantastic and I love my slow cooker. However, sadly, Turkey is pretty much non existent here in the Middle East and certainly have never seen a bone in Turkey breast. Do you think this would work with a chicken (the chicken’s here are pretty tiny and would easily fit in my large slow cooker). Thanks
Tracey – yes, I think this could work with a chicken but if it is a lot smaller than most bone-in turkey breasts, you might keep an eye on cooking time (contrary to popular belief, chicken can dry out in the slow cooker).
OH this is great. I am all about the presentation as well….but lets be honest. My 3 little girls don’t care what it looks like, and my hubby only cares about the taste. This will be perfect, I’d rather spend a little more energy on the sides anyways…thank you!
Thanks so much for posting this recipe!! I was trying to figure out how to get everything prepared with only one oven, and I think you’ve solved my problem! One question, my husband loves dark meat. Do you think this recipe would still work if I found an entire turkey small enough to fit in my crockpot?
Hi Jill – should have included you on my response just now, but yes, it should probably work with a whole turkey (but I haven’t tried it) as long as you can get one small enough to fit in a slow cooker!
Will this recipe work to cook a whole turkey in the crock pot or only the breast?
Jen – I’ve only made it with the turkey breast. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a whole turkey that can fit in a slow cooker but if you can get a small whole bird, it would probably work (just keep an eye on the cooking time).
This sounds amazing! I cannot wait to make it for my husband and I! Thanks!
This looks SO delicious! Seriously, your pictures make me want to eat my iPad sometimes! I adore turkey as well, but the task of cooking an entire turkey for just our small family seems a bit daunting sometimes. This will be perfect. Thanks Mel! 😀
Thank-you so much Mel! Everyone in my house likes breast meat only so instead of a whole turkey I figured this was the way to go. Now I know how I’m going to cook it also, freeing up the oven for the other goodies! You are my lifesaver. Also making the blueberry angel food cake for dessert!
so we have decided at our house that a turkey breast is the way to go. we don’t like the dark meat…well, it isn’t my first choice and so i don’t cook with it after the fact. but if we just buy the turkey breast, it’s perfect!
thanks for the new way to cook it!
I think this is a great idea. I rarely cook a whole turkey anymore and this recipe fits the bill. I’m anxious to try it.
Hi Mel! You completely thaw the turkey breast first, right?
Thanks for all of your cooking and kitchen help! Your recipes always win at my house!
Lindsay – the cooking times are based on a completely thawed turkey breast so yes, I’d say to completely thaw first (you could try a slightly frozen one but I have no idea how long you’d need to cook it and I don’t want you stuck with raw turkey!).
Mel- I have said this before (and I will say it again)…you are my culinary hero! Why haven’t I thought to slow cook turkey? Genius!
Thanks for the tin foil tip! I tried this a few months ago, but since my lid wouldn’t shut I ended up taking it out and cooking it in the oven. I don’t care about the perfect turkey-I just want it juicy and easy. Thanks!
Thanks for posting. I was just searching the web last night for crockpot turkey breast receipes. I will definitely be using yours and your ham receipe. Hope you have a great holiday.
I like slow cooking, it’s just not that stressful sometimes
You’re my hero, too! We used to always have the big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with the good china, crystal, and silver. We all got dressed up and the 5 of us feasted on our beautiful whole turkey and all the trimmings! It was a picture perfect meal! Now we are in our 70s, retired in Florida, and that’s for our grown sons to do. We’re alone for dinner on Thanksgiving, but we still want some of our favorites in our traditional holiday meal. You’ve given me a gift that I’ll be thankful for all year ’round. I’m fairly new to slow cookery, but I love it. I’ll have stuffing, too, but baked in single portions in a muffin tin so leftovers are easy to freeze for later. The rest is easy, and we will feast, but your turkey breast method will be the star on our table this year! Thanks, and hugs!
I have never cooked turkey in the crockpot, but duh! I think this would be perfect for our family over Christmas. A full turkey is always too much, but we love the turkey leftovers for sandwiches.
I am so doing this. We only have 3 adults eating turkey this year and possibly a kid tasting it. I’ve actually made a turkey breast like this before and it does turn out perfectly. Thank you for the reminder. There is no point in making a giant turkey that will go to waste. This will give us plenty of leftovers.
Mel, I first found you when you posted The Best Refried Beans Ever. Immediately I joined your email group and am always delighted to see your recipes and hints. No matter where we go for Thanksgiving or if we just stay at home, hubby and I always enjoy the bone-in turkey breast. You’re so right about the gravy there in the pot too. Thanks!
Gorgeous photos of this! I’ve been cooking a turkey breast in the slow cooker for the last few Thanksgivings just to get extra meat for sandwiches!
Oh Mel, you are my hero! I bought a bone-in turkey breast this morning for Thanksgiving and I had no idea what to do with it. I usually buy a couple boneless breasts but they were a little expensive this year. I get home with my turkey breast, and check my email, an lo and behold, you have solved my problem. Since it is your recipe I trust it without doing a trial run and this frees up my oven for all the other delicious goodies. Plus, I LOVE my slow cooker(s). Thanks for bailing me out! By the way, you are a household name as in “my best friend Mel, whom I’ve never met!” Have a great Thanksgiving!
My kids refer to her as their best friend too. “We love Mel” happens on a a regular basis at our table.
Thank you for this brillant wisdom . . . .:)
We aren’t having guests this year until the day after Thanksgiving so I am seriously thinking about just doing a turkey breast this year. I would love to have the turkey in the crockpot – especially if it makes its own gravy basically!