Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker

Does anyone else feel like they can only have turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas?! I’m not sure why I am 40 years old and have always relied on my mama for turkey.  Well, I have news for all us turkey cooking ‘fraid-y cats.  It’s easy!  As a matter of fact, you can cook a turkey breast right in your crock pot!

After getting a great deal on a turkey breast the other day, I started thinking about how I wanted to attempt to cook it.  I knew you could cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker so I didn’t see why you couldn’t do turkey as well.  Sure enough, I found a recipe at A Year of Slow Cooking.  I changed it up a little, and the end result was fantastic!

Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lb turkey breast
  • 2 cups white wine*
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • handful of parsley (optional)
  • 1-2 celery stalks, halved
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • *apple juice or chicken broth can be used in place of wine.

Instructions

  1. Wash and pat dry turkey breast.
  2. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
  3. Place breast side down in cooker.
  4. Add onion, parsley, celery, and butter into cavity.
  5. Pour wine over top of breast.
  6. Cook 4-6 hours on high or 7-9 on low (internal temp should read 170 on meat thermometer)
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The turkey was moist and flavorful!  I think if you leave the skin on, you could probably omit the butter altogether.  I reduced the amount by half from the original recipe and it was fine.  Also, you can add any seasonings to your turkey that you like.  For serving, I removed the skin, and the meat came off the bones so easily!  I loved the flavor that the wine gave, but as noted in the recipe, you could easily substitute another liquid.  (The alcohol cooks out of the wine, and my kids did not notice any unusual flavor, but I did notice the wine a little.)  I’m so excited that I have discovered such an easy way to prepare turkey!

Kim is the author of  Makin’ it Mo’Betta and blogs about life with 3 kids, 2 crazy dogs, and adventures in the kitchen!

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Comments

  1. Cindi Brasher says:

    If you place it breast side down, do you stuff it first, then turn it over? In your picture you show breast side up?

    • Ha! Cindi I’m glad you pointed that out…it shows how well I pay attention to directions. I cooked it as shown. Therefore, I don’t think it really matters which side you cook it on. Someone correct me if I am wrong! Thanks!

    • I believe that picture is breast side down as you see the celery sticking out from the cavity. I cook several of these at a time in a smoker for football tailgate parties, but have used a roaster and they do fine either way. Just easier for me to check temp when they are breast side up. I do season mine under the skin with herbs and BBQ rub.

      • Thanks Rick! I love smoked turkey…I rely on my Dad for that :-)

        • Smoking 4-6 at a time is tedious with the brining and 12 hour rest in herbs/spices that I give it. I cant wait to try your recipe at home. Never thought about cooking one in the crock pot, but great idea and recipe. Love turkey and this sounds like the easiest way yet!! Thanks so much!

  2. Jeanette B says:

    This is one of my favorite ways to cook turkey breast anytime of the year! When I go shopping for turkey breast, I always buy two… one for now and one for the freezer. We love having turkey, it’s so good and so healthy!

  3. Kim, I don’t see how much butter you used. Also, did you use a cooking bag (looks like it from the pic)? Any good recipe/tips on the gravy? Thanks!

    • oops! I accidentally omitted the butter when I typed up the recipe. I used 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) of butter. I did not use a cooking bag, but I did use a crock pot liner (love those things!). As for the gravy…the turkey breast I bought came with a gravy ‘pouch’! Otherwise I probably would have used gravy from a dry mix. I’ve tried gravy from scratch a couple of times and wasn’t very successful!

  4. You mention leaving the skin on and omitting the butter, but I dont see butter anywhere in the recipe. Should there be? Thanks!

  5. YUM! I’ve done this once and think it’s a perfect way to cook the turkey. So glad you shared. I pinned it so I always have directions.

  6. My grandmother taught me years ago to cook a turkey breast in the slow cooker. I think it was my introduction to how wonderful a slow cooker can be. I used to watch for sales and ask the butcher to cut the breast in half for me. (I was single then.) I just cooked it with potatoes and carrots, like a beef roast, and added a few seasonings. Mmmm. Makes my mouth water to think about how yummy and tender it is. Guess I’m adding this to next week’s menu.

  7. I love reading your posts and wanted to share some information with you… I have friends who hold halal and also ones who are Mormon and will not drink any alcohol. It’s not necessarily true that e all the alcohol cooks out when you’re cooking. For people who want to be sure they can check out the USDA website for a chart explaining what cooks out at what temp and time.

    Thanks for sharing so many great ideas!

    • Thanks for the info Ginger. It’s true that all alcohol does not burn off in certain situations – it does depend on length of time cooked, etc. For this dish, since it cooks for several hours, the alcohol burns off way before the turkey gets done. Of course, it can always be left out of a recipe altogether. I could not find the original chart published by the USDA, but I did find it on another website if anyone is interested in checking it out. http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol12.htm It definitely could be important for those avoiding alcohol due to certain medications they are on or for personal/religious beliefs.

      Besides, I wouldn’t want to accidentally booze up my kids ;-) Thanks again Ginger!

  8. This is a great idea! David has been buying freshly baked turkey for sandwiches at the local market; but this would be even better, I think. Pinning this one for sure!

  9. Christine says:

    Hi, just found your blog and love the recipes. May I ask what size slow cooker you used. I tried turkey breast once and it was a total bomb since my cooker is a 4 qt. I’d rather not repeat the disaster again :) Thank you!

    • Christine, I use a 6 qt. slow cooker most often. But a 4 qt should work, unless it just wasn’t big enough to fit the food. In what way did your last attempt at the turkey breast not work out?

  10. Instead of celery has anyone tried cooking stuffing in the slow cooker with the turkey? Not sure if this can be done? Thanks for the recipe! It looks delicious!

    • Hi Krissy! I’ve never tried cooking stuffing inside a turkey (crockpot or otherwise), but I think it’s possible to cook the stuffing IN the crockpot WITH the turkey (I did a search and some recipes came up). Maybe someone will chime in and helps us out!

  11. Will this also work with a whole turkey or do I have to use just the breast?

    • Cyndi, I’m not sure you can get a whole turkey in a slow cooker. If it’s a very small turkey and a very large crockpot, then it would work.

      • I have cooked all of my turkeys in the crockpot for at least 7 years now… it doesn’t really brown (but that’s just the skin anyway) but other than that… it frees up your oven… AND you can keep it on warm while everythng else gets done! : )

  12. Can the turkey breast be frozen or does it have to be thawed?

    • Jess, I do start things from frozen, but for something like a turkey breast I would have it at least partially thawed. If you do it from frozen, be sure to put the temp to high.

  13. Can it be cooked on high? I have it in crock pot right now on low but need it done sooner since I got it in later than expecting to. If so how long on high?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I cooked mine on low for 7 hours and it was too dry. Tasted OK but just dry dry.

  15. Can the turkey breast go in crockpot frozen or does it need to b thawed

  16. Would you recommend a certain wine? i usually drink sweet red or white, not sure how it would be for cooking a turkey?

    • Erica, when cooking with wine, it is usually recommended to use something you would drink…however, I would definitely use white (or you’ll have pink turkey!) and I think pretty much any white would be okay, even a sweet one like Moscato since you can sub the wine with apple juice (which I haven’t tried, but was recommended). White Zinfandel, Pinot or Riesling should all be safe bets too. Hope this helps!

  17. No need to thaw. Frozen, rock hard, will cook perfectly in 8 – 9 hrs on low. I couldn’t believe it until I tried it. I cook a large breast, one that fits in a 6 quart crock pot. Put it on, go to work, come home and it’s ready to eat.

  18. Dumb question but the Turkey doesn’t have to be covered completely with liquid right?

    • Hi Nicole! It’s not a dumb question, and no the turkey will not be completely covered with liquid. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  19. Help! My mother put the turkey breast in the crock pot and didn’t realize there were three settings. She had it on warm for seven and a half hours. Then cranked it up to high for about three and a half hours. She is worried that it is not safe to eat. Should the turkey breast be thrown out?

    • Janet, I’m probably way too late in seeing this comment, but I think that turkey should be thrown out. Warm isn’t hot enough to cook it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh no! I’m sorry Janet, I am just now able to respond to your question…I would have to agree with Tiffany & would be concerned that the turkey was just on warm for so long. The only other thing I can think of is to have checked it with a meat thermometer.

  20. I nor my family are crazy about turkey – but since I started cooking it in the crock pot – we love it. It is so moist and juicy and you can flavor it any way you want. Best idea ever.

  21. I’m so glad i saw all these posts, i have a turkey in the freezer now and i just don’t have the time to defrost it to bake it, i’m throwing mine in the crockpot right now frozen, hope it turns out good like everyone else’s, thanks

  22. how much chicken broth do you use?

  23. Is the turkey breast bone in?

  24. You are an awesome cook and I love your recipes !! Thanks ! You make cooking so much easier.

  25. Hello! I’ve been cooking turkey breasts in the crockpot for the past 4 years. I like to add seasoning, herbs and butter under the skin, brown it first on both sides in a frying pan with a little olive oil. It can be gently browned even if you’ve removed the skin. Browning any meat before adding it to the crockpot makes a HUUGE difference in the taste. I always cook cavity up and add butter and seasons there also. The turkey comes out very juicy and there are usually drippings for gravy. I don’t add water.

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