Crockpot Turkey Breast is the ultimate fuss-free main course for any occasion. Bone-in turkey breast is brined, seasoned with a simple yet flavorful rub, and cooked to perfection in your trusty slow cooker. The result is a tender, juicy turkey breast loaded with flavor. With step-by-step guidance, you'll discover that achieving a perfectly cooked turkey breast doesn't require a special occasion, just a little time and your trusty crockpot.
I'm thrilled to share with you one of my go-to holiday recipes—Crockpot Turkey Breast. This isn't just your ordinary turkey breast recipe. We are going to transform a simple piece of poultry into a succulent, flavorful masterpiece, all thanks to the magic of the slow cooker.
What I adore about using the slow cooker for recipes like this bone in turkey breast in the crockpot is the remarkable depth of flavors you can achieve.
Think about it: hours of gentle, unhurried cooking, allowing every herb and spice to seep into the turkey, imbuing it with an aromatic complexity that's simply irresistible.
And let's not forget the practicality of a slow cooker, especially during the holiday season.
With everything else you've got going on on Thanksgiving and Christmas, this crock pot recipe gives you one less thing to worry about. You can set it, forget it, and focus on enjoying the festivities.
Let's dive into the details, shall we?
- Salt: The brine is a crucial step to ensure your turkey breast is juicy and flavorful.
- Bone-in Whole Turkey Breast: The star of our dish! Using bone-in skin-on turkey breast ensures a more flavorful result. However, you can also use boneless turkey breast if that's what you have on hand - just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Olive Oil: This gives our turkey a beautiful golden-brown crust. You could also use another type of oil like avocado or sunflower if you prefer.
- Lemon Zest: Adds a bright, citrusy note to balance out the richness of the turkey. No lemons? Try orange zest for a slightly sweeter flavor.
- Fresh Thyme: This herb adds a wonderful earthy flavor. Dried thyme can be used as a substitute if fresh isn't available. Rosemary is also a great option.
- Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne, Black Pepper: These seasonings bring depth and warmth to the turkey. Feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your taste.
- Sliced Onion: Gives a sweet, aromatic base to the turkey. Substitute with shallots or leeks if desired. You can use other veggies, like carrots and celery in this slow cooker turkey breast recipe.
- Chicken Broth: Used to keep the turkey moist and flavorful. Vegetable broth could be used for a vegetarian alternative.
- Butter: Gives the gravy a rich, velvety texture. If you're dairy-free, margarine or a plant-based butter substitute can work too.
- Flour: Helps thicken the gravy. For a gluten-free option, try using cornstarch instead.
- Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning the gravy. Adjust the amounts to your liking.
How to Cook Turkey Breast in the Crockpot
For the full recipe for slow cooker turkey breast with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Tips and Tricks
- Finishing the Dish: Slow cooking can mellow flavors, so consider adding some additional flavors towards the end of the cooking process. A bouquet of fresh thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice added about 20 minutes before your cook time finishes can introduce an extra layer of flavor - it's especially delightful in the gravy!
- Don't Overdo the Liquid: Resist the urge to add more than the recommended amount of broth at the beginning. One of the strengths of slow cooking is its ability to retain moisture, and you'll be surprised at how much delicious broth is produced just from cooking the turkey breast itself.
- Limit Your Check-ins: Try not to open your slow cooker too often. Every time the lid is lifted, the temperature inside the slow cooker drops significantly. If you're keen on monitoring the internal temperature of the turkey closely, consider using a probe thermometer. This will allow you to keep track of the temperature without having to constantly lift the lid.
Is it safe to cook a turkey in a slow cooker on low?
Yes, it is safe to cook a turkey in a slow cooker on low. As long as you use the correct cooking times and temperatures, your turkey should be cooked through and perfectly moist.
How do I know if my turkey is done?
The best way to make sure that your turkey is fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C). This will guarantee your turkey is cooked through and safe to eat.
Is it better to slow cook a turkey breast low or high?
Slow cooking a turkey breast on low is generally the preferred method and what we use in this crockpot turkey breast recipe.
Cooking on low for a longer period of time allows the turkey to become tender and flavorful without running the risk of drying out. The low and slow method helps to break down the proteins in the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy turkey breast. If you're in a rush, you could cook it on high, but be aware that this increases the risk of the meat becoming dry.
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- Slow Cooker - Use a crockpot or multi-cooker like the Ninja PossibleCooker or Instant Pot Dutch Oven
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer
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Crockpot Turkey Breast
- ½ cup salt
- 4-6 pounds bone-in turkey breast
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 onion sliced
- ¼ cup chicken broth plus more as needed for gravy.
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- Put the salt and about a gallon of water in a large container.
- Stir until the salt dissolves.
- Place the turkey in the brine, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
- In a bowl, combine the oil, lemon zest, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and black pepper.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub the turkey with the oil and seasoning mixture.
- Scatter the onion in the bottom of your crockpot.
- Place the turkey skin side up and add the broth to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours.
- Remove from the slow cooker and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler to high and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
- Strain the liquid into a measuring cup. Add more broth as necessary to reach two cups.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the broth, and whisk well. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.