Whether your Thanksgiving is going to be small this year or you want to enjoy turkey for a weeknight dinner, this Crockpot Turkey Breast recipe delivers flavorful, mouthwatering turkey that’s tender and juicy every time. Just add some Garlic Mashed Potatoes on the side and you’re set!
Why You’ll Love This Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe
- A Scaled-Down Thanksgiving Turkey. Why do we save turkey for celebrations? Somehow, only ground turkey has worked its way into the everyday dinner category (see my Healthy Turkey Chili and Turkey Meatballs), but this crockpot turkey breast makes it doable any day of the week. Get the prep work done the night before and let your slow cooker do the rest!
- Turkey Without the Fuss. No need to make a wet turkey brine or dry brine, and you don’t even have to haul out that electric carving knife—unless you really want to. Turkey breast is a no-drama way to enjoy turkey year-round, as you can also see with this Air Fryer Turkey Breast.
- All White Meat. If your family devours the white meat and leaves behind the dark, make this crockpot turkey breast and there’s no waste (and no forcing yourself to eat dark meat even though it’s totally not your thing).
- Tender and Juicy. Yes, it’s moist! While a full-size turkey can end up with dry breasts by the time the rest of the meat reaches a safe temperature, since we’re only cooking the breast here, we don’t have that issue. Plus, using the slow cooker locks in moisture—it’s why I also love it for Crockpot Ham and Crockpot Pork Roast.
How to Make Crockpot Turkey Breast
- Turkey Breast. You can make this crockpot turkey breast boneless or bone-in. I recommend buying fresh turkey breast from a local butcher because the quality is usually better. Read my post on How Much Turkey Per Person to make sure you’re buying enough!
- Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Garlic, and Lemon Zest. A bright, zippy seasoning blend that you’ll rub liberally onto the turkey breast for maximum flavor.
- Aromatics. After you’ve zested the lemon, you’ll cut it into wedges for adding to the bottom of the slow cooker with carrots, celery, stalks, red apple, and sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Dry White Wine or Chicken Broth. Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are great options if you go the wine route; otherwise, cook the turkey breast in the crockpot with chicken broth.
- Unsalted Butter. We’ve already seasoned the turkey breast with plenty of salt, so don’t add more in the butter!
- Prepare. Rub all over with the lemon-garlic seasoning. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Assemble. Place the aromatics in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Add Everything Else. Set the turkey breast on top, then pour the wine or broth around the turkey. Drizzle with melted butter.
- Cook on LOW. Cover and cook the crockpot turkey breast on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, until the turkey registers 155°F on an instant read thermometer.
- Rest. Now is a good time to make Turkey Gravy!
- Make It Crispy. Broil the turkey to get the skin crisp.
- Finish. Transfer your crockpot turkey to a serving platter, then slice and enjoy.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover crockpot turkey breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Wrap turkey in an aluminum foil pouch with a splash of broth and reheat in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
Meal Prep Tip
You can cut the vegetables and lemon a day or two ahead of time. (Don’t cut the apple until you’re ready to cook.) The turkey breast can be seasoned and prepared the night before.
Leftovers aren’t just for turkey sandwiches! (Although those are definitely good too.) Here are my favorite Leftover Turkey Recipes.
What to Serve with Crockpot Turkey Breast
- Potatoes. Can you even have turkey without potatoes on the side?! Go with the more traditional Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or Crockpot Mashed Potatoes, or switch things up with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes or Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.
- Veggie Sides. Slow cooker turkey breast with vegetables is a classic. For a weeknight, Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic or Roasted Carrots are fabulous, while Crockpot Green Bean Casserole is perfect for a holiday.
- Stuffing. I have some fabulous options for pairing with crockpot turkey breast, from Chestnut Stuffing to Cornbread Stuffing and Crockpot Wild Rice Stuffing.
- Gravy. If you don’t want to make gravy with the drippings, try Mushroom Gravy or Vegan Gravy.
- Cranberry Sauce. There’s nothing wrong with cracking open a can and plopping it into a dish, but Cranberry Orange Sauce or Cranberry Orange Relish offer a more refined take on the cranberries.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. You’ll need a large oval slow cooker to fit the turkey breast.
- Carving Board. A carving board is different from a cutting board; it has a moat to catch the juices so they don’t drip onto your counter.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The no-fail method of knowing when your crockpot turkey breast is done cooking.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cook by Temperature NOT Time. Slow cookers vary, with some cooking hotter than others. The size of the turkey breast and whether it’s bone-in, boneless, with the netting or without can also affect how it cooks. With this in mind, temperature is the best way to know your turkey is done cooking.
- Expect the Turkey’s Temperature to Rise. I recommend pulling the turkey breast out when it registers between 150 and 160 degrees F. During the resting time, the temperature will rise to a safe 165 degrees F thanks to the carryover cooking.
- A Note About Netting. Boneless turkey breasts often come wrapped in netting. This keeps the breast from falling apart and helps it cook more evenly. You’ll need to remove the outer netting and wrapper, but leave on the netting tied around the meat; this is oven-safe (and crockpot-safe), so it doesn’t need to be removed until you’re ready to serve the turkey.
- Don’t Cook the Turkey Breast on High. This is the surest way to have your crockpot turkey breast turn out dry. Low and slow is the way to go!
Crockpot Turkey Breast
- 1 boneless turkey breast about 4 to 5 pounds or 1 bone-in turkey breast (about 6 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium lemon
- 2 carrots scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 red apple cut into 8 wedges (no need to peel or core)
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Pat the turkey breast dry. In a small bowl, place the salt, pepper, and garlic. Zest in the lemon, then stir to combine. Rub all over the outside of the turkey. Cut the zested lemon into 8 wedges and reserve. If time allows, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Scatter the carrot, celery, apple, thyme sprigs, and lemon wedges in the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Place the turkey breast on top of the vegetables. Carefully pour the wine (or broth) around but not on top of the turkey. Drizzle the top of the turkey with the melted butter.
- Cover and cook the turkey breast on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, until the turkey registers 155°F on an instant read thermometer (its temperature will rise as it rests); do not cook on high or the turkey will be dry. Know thy slow cooker and check early to be safe (I have used one that runs very hot and it was done in 4 hours 15 minutes; 5 to 6 hours is more typical).
- As soon as the turkey reaches temperature, remove it to a baking dish or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet (do not let it stay in the slow cooker on the “keep warm” setting or it will be dry). Let rest for at least 15 minutes.
- If you like, use the cooking liquid in the slow cooker to make Turkey Gravy.
- To crisp the skin, position a rack in the center of the oven and turn the oven to broil. Broil the turkey on the center rack for about 4 minutes, until the skin looks golden and crisp. DO NOT WALK AWAY. Watch to make sure the skin doesn’t burn.
- Transfer to a serving platter. Slice and enjoy immediately with gravy and all of your favorite sides.
- If your boneless turkey has the netting, do not remove it.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover crockpot turkey breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Wrap turkey in an aluminum foil pouch with a splash of broth and reheat in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
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Frequently Asked Questions
As long as the turkey reaches the USDA-designated safe temperature of 165 degrees F before you eat it, turkey is perfectly safe to cook in a crockpot.
Boneless turkey breasts are sometimes known as turkey breast roast. Butterball, for example, labels their boneless turkey breasts as turkey breast roasts.
The USDA recommends not washing or rinsing raw turkey before cooking it. It can spread foodborne pathogens around your kitchen; these same pathogens would be killed by the high heat of cooking, so it’s better to let the heat take care of it!
If you want to cook frozen turkey breast in the crockpot, you’ll need to thaw it first. Otherwise, your turkey is likely to end up dry.