This Crockpot turkey breast makes an incredible Thanksgiving centerpiece, especially for a smaller crowd! Made with a simple seasoning rub, this recipe delivers tender, juicy, and flavorful turkey with extra crispy skin!
If you ask me, hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a tough and strenuous endeavor — oven space issues, proper timing, and the list goes on. If you’re doing it alone, it’s essential to find easy and efficient methods of cooking while still providing the best flavor.
That’s where this Crockpot turkey breast recipe comes in handy! It will become your new go-to cooking technique for easy, breezy holiday feasts. With just a few minutes of prep, it’s virtually all hands-off! You can thank me later.
What is a Crockpot turkey breast?
Most turkey breast recipes require the turkey to be brined. You also have to be diligent with a meat thermometer as turkey breast is notoriously easy to overcook. It could turn out okay (if all goes smoothly), but why take any chances?
Making turkey breast in the slow cooker is a far more forgiving cooking method. There is no brining required and much less mess to clean up, which means you’ll have more time to work on side dishes and visit with family!
Since turkey is such a lean cut of meat, traditional cooking techniques require much more of a hands-on approach to ensure juicy results. Making it in the Crockpot takes out all the guesswork, and you’ll still end up with a delicious centerpiece. That sounds like a no-brainer to me!
How much turkey breast per person?
If you’re wondering how much turkey breast to make, the following measurements are a good guideline to ensure you have enough:
- Boneless: ½ pound per person (2 ½ pounds for 5 people)
- Bone-in: 1 pound per person (5 pounds for 5 people)
Crockpot turkey breast ingredients
See the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below.
- Turkey breast: Either bone-in or boneless turkey breast works for this recipe. Bone-in offers more flavor while boneless is easier to carve. Either way, opt for skin-on as it will help lock in moisture and create a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
- Butter: Along with the fat released from the skin, butter helps create the perfect crunch, especially once you pop the turkey breast under the broiler. You can also use olive oil.
- Seasoning rub: A well-crafted rub goes a long way! I love the earthy, herbaceous, and savory flavors of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
- Chicken broth or water: To cook the turkey breast in and keep it moist and tender. Broth or water both work equally well.
- Onion & celery: Fresh onion and celery are slow-cooked with the turkey, and they are both absolutely magical additions to savory recipes like this. Your house is going to smell amazing!
How to make a slow cooker turkey breast
Step 1: Mix the rub
In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Stir to combine, then set the bowl aside while you prepare the turkey breast.
Step 2: Prepare the turkey
Remove the turkey breast from the packaging. Make sure to check the cavity for the giblet bag or neck.
Tip: Make a giblet gravy to serve with this Crockpot turkey breast. It prevents waste and provides so much flavor!
Step 3: Season the turkey
Brush the turkey with melted butter, then rub the seasoning mixture over the entire turkey breast. Ensure you slather the rub all over for an evenly crisped skin.
Step 4: Slow cook the turkey breast
To a 6-quart slow cooker (Crockpot), add chicken broth or water. Place the turkey breast in the slow cooker, then surround it with the quartered onion and celery.
Cook the turkey breast on low heat for 5-7 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F with an internal meat thermometer. The temperature will increase slightly as the turkey rests, but this is completely okay.
Step 5: Broil the turkey
Transfer the turkey to an oven-safe dish and broil for a few minutes — just long enough for the skin to crisp on top. Keep an eye on it as it will brown quickly!
Step 6: Serving
Let the turkey rest, then slice and serve it with drippings drizzled over the top. Alternatively, make a quick gravy with the drippings, all-purpose flour, and broth to serve with the turkey.
Tip: The best way to carve a turkey breast is to cut across the fibers of the meat for the juiciest slices.
What to serve with turkey
Surrounding turkey breast with flavorful side dishes is key to a festive holiday feast with your friends and family. With this in mind, serve it up with some of my favorite sides like air fryer potatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, or a green bean casserole.
Tips for the best recipe
- Cook low and slow. Slow cookers are very forgiving when it comes to turkey breasts. Avoid a dry and bland result by keeping the heat low.
- Crisp the skin. To achieve perfectly crispy, crunchy, and golden skin, do not skip broiling! It’s worth the wait.
- Use a thermometer. The best way to ensure your turkey breast is safely cooked is with a meat thermometer. If you don’t already own one, the investment will save you many headaches!
- Choose the right turkey. If you prefer more flavor, opt for bone-in turkey breast. If convenience is a more important factor, go for boneless turkey breast.
What to do with leftover turkey
- Fridge: In an airtight container, this Crockpot turkey breast will last for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Freezer: If using bone-in, remove the bone from the turkey. It’s best to slice the turkey before freezing it so it thaws more easily. If kept in a freezer-safe container, turkey breast will last for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Thaw the turkey breast overnight in the fridge. The best way to reheat turkey breast is to wrap it in aluminum foil, place it on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet, and heat it in the oven at 275 degrees F, or until the meat reaches 130 degrees F.
Additional Thanksgiving recipes
For more Thanksgiving recipe ideas, feast your eyes on some of my most popular holiday-inspired dishes:
- Spiral Ham and Glaze
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Turkey Cheese Ball
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- more Thanksgiving side dishes
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to slow cook a turkey overnight?
Yes, you can slow cook your turkey overnight; it will be just as good as if you did it during the day. Just make sure it won’t be cooked much longer than the recommended cooking time of 5-7 hours.
Can you cook frozen turkey breast in the Crockpot?
No, you should never cook frozen turkey breast in the Crockpot. In fact, no frozen meat should be cooked in a Crockpot because of the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Tender and Juicy Crockpot Turkey Breast
- 5-7 pound bone-in turkey breast (thawed)
- 8 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth or water (vegetable broth or turkey stock may be substituted)
- 1 count yellow onion (quartered)
- 3 count celery stalks (halved)
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic and onion powder, paprika, italian seasoning, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Remove the turkey from the packaging. Check the cavity for the giblet bag/neck.
- Brush the turkey with the melted butter. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the bird.
- To a 6 quart slow cooker, add the chicken broth or water. Then, place the turkey breast in the slow cooker and surround with the quartered onion and celery.
- Cook on low for 5-7 hours or until the internal temp reads 165°F degrees with an internal meat thermometer.
- Transfer the turkey to an oven-safe dish and place under the broiler for a few minutes – just long enough for the skin to crisp on top. Keep an eye on it as it will brown quickly!
- Allow the turkey to rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
- Serve with drippings or gravy.