Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Recipe By Tessa Arias
November 7th, 2014
5 from 1 vote
5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with easy gravy requires just 10 minutes prep time and doesn't take up valuable space in your oven on Thanksgiving! Plus it's extra tender and moist, it's a win-win!!

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 5 hours 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: All the flavors just meld together and are all intensified in the rich gravy. Turkey is not my favorite and even I LOVED this.
Texture: Tender, juicy, moist, and meaty. Yum.
Ease: The easiest way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey.
Appearance: While this is definitely not as impressive as pulling an entire golden brown bird out of the oven, the carved meat and gravy just looks so tender and mouthwatering your guests will be happy either way!
Pros: Easy, much more hands-free, doesn’t take up valuable oven space on Thanksgiving, and is super duper juicy and tender. You really can’t beat that! It’s perfect for serving a smaller group so you’re not drowning in turkey for weeks.
Cons: Absolutely none!
Would I make this again? For sure.

This Thanksgiving turkey recipe has so many things going for it. Not only is it some of the most tender and moist turkey breast I’ve ever tasted (I’m usually a dark meat girl) but it’s so ridiculously easy to make. Just plop everything into the slow cooker and move on to the rest of your Thanksgiving recipes. No brining, no marinating, no basting.

Crock Pot Thanksgiving Turkey Breast with easy gravy requires just 10 minutes prep time and doesn't take up valuable space in your oven on Thanksgiving! Plus it's extra tender and moist, it's a win-win!!

Best of all, no taking up precious space in your oven! That means you don’t have to plan and strategize your side dishes nearly as much which takes away a lot of the holiday cooking stress. AND the gravy is so simple, no need for that weird pre-packaged stuff. This Slow Cooker Turkey Breast is especially perfect if you’re cooking for a smaller group and don’t want to spend a pretty penny on a huge bird that will likely go to waste.

I LOVE using my Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker for recipes like this because I can use the thermometer probe and program the slow cooker to automatically turn to the “warm” mode once it reaches the internal temperature I want. No babysitting, and no worrying about overcooking.

I always take poultry out of the slow cooker or oven once it reaches 160ยฐF because the temperature will continue to rise as it’s resting, this helps ensure juicy and tender meat. Another thing that helps ensure juiciness is to actually cook the turkey breast side down and rest it breast side down so all the juices accumulate in the actual breast meat.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with easy gravy requires just 10 minutes prep time and doesn't take up valuable space in your oven on Thanksgiving! Plus it's extra tender and moist, it's a win-win!!

Every slow cooker heats differently, so keep this in mind as well as the actual size of your turkey as you program your cooking. I would err on the side of caution and less cooking time, because you can always remove the lid and stick an instant-read thermometer inside the meat to test for doneness. If it’s not done yet, simply keep cooking.

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

This post was recently updated with new photos by Patty Kraikittikun-Phuong.

5 from 1 vote

How to make
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with easy gravy requires just 10 minutes prep time and doesn't take up valuable space in your oven on Thanksgiving! Plus it's extra tender and moist, it's a win-win!!


  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 (5 to 7 pound) bone-in whole turkey breast with skin
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the gravy
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place the onion, turkey breast (breast side down), broth, and bay leaves in a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, and sage.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160ยฐF.
  3. Carefully transfer the turkey to a carving board and loosely tent with foil while preparing the gravy.
  4. Strain the liquid in the slow cooker into a saucepan. Let it settle for five minutes then skim the fat from the surface. Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into the gravy. Simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened completely. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Remove the skin and discard before carving the turkey into slices. Serve alongside warm gravy.

Recipe Notes

The cook time will vary depending on the size of your turkey and your slow cooker.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — November 7, 2014 at 5:21 am

    I literally JUST got a set it and forget it slow cooker, and have been figuring out what to make first. I obviously love turkey (because everyone does right?) so this is such a FAB idea!! Pinned!

  2. #
    Megan — November 7, 2014 at 6:54 am

    This looks so easy and yummy! We are traveling out of town for Thanksgiving, so we won’t really get any leftovers. This would be perfect to make a little mini feast for my family of three when we get back! I can’t get too much Thanksgiving food! Haha!

  3. #
    Emily R — November 7, 2014 at 7:00 am

    This is perfect timing! We’re hosting a VERY small Thanksgiving dinner at our place this year, and I knew I wanted to make a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey…and now I know what recipe I’m using! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. #
    Angela — November 7, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Tessa what a wonderful idea. I’m not much of a turkey fan, but do prefer breast over a whole turkey. I’m a pretty novice cooker so can you explain what breast side down means if the whole thing is a breast? Sorry for the silly question. Love your blog and your videos.

    • #
      Tessa — November 7, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Hi Angela, thanks so much! Once you see the whole bone-in turkey breast you’ll see what I mean. There’s a breast side and then there’s more of a backbone cavity side.

  5. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — November 7, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I LOVE that you did this in the slow cooker! Genius!

  6. #
    Gaby — November 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

    This is great, it looks so moist and delicious!!!

  7. #
    Liz — November 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I love this recipe for its simplicity. Thank you.

  8. #
    Brooke M. — November 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Would the cooking time be different if I used a bone-in turkey breast? I just bought one today, didn’t realize it had a bone!

  9. #
    Brooke M. — November 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    HA! Nevermind!! I misread the ingredients!! You did say Bone-in!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. #
    Jill M — November 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Can I put it in the oven or even under the broiler to get it golden after it is done in the crockpot?

    • #
      Tessa — November 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I would use the broiler!

  11. #
    shawna partridge — November 25, 2014 at 7:36 am

    The turkey breast I bought says to cook it frozen (freezer to oven). Should I thaw the turkey breast for the slow cooker or can I just plop it there frozen? I’m so excited to try the recipe…either way! Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — November 25, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Hmm I would be cautious about using a frozen breast in the slow cooker – that could create a food safety issue since it would be sitting in the “food danger zone” temperature range for so long and you definitely don’t want to make your guests sick. Plus it would probably take twice as long to cook so I’d say thaw it first! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • #
      Judy L — November 21, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      You may have bought a specially packaged turkey breast that is already prepared to bake fairly quickly from its frozen state. I have bought these before as half turkeys and it was easy to bake as the package instructed. I noticed the turkey breast only one earlier this week—it is 44 ounces of boneless turkey breast and goes from frozen to the oven and is meant to be a quicker meal than roasting a larger turkey. I would check with the company that created this product—the one I saw in our local area was Jenni-O–to see if it would work in the crockpot.

  12. #
    Laura Love — November 30, 2015 at 4:45 am

    I used this recipe for our Thanksgiving turkey this year as I wanted to make it in a slow cooker. I have to say that this was SO DELICIOUS! Moist & Juicy and everyone loved it! Even my son who never compliments how good anything is besides tacos…said it was amazing. Thank you for sharing it! This will become one of our go to turkey meals

  13. #
    ilene — December 14, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I’m making this for a work party, I did a test yesterday and it came out really juicy and tender! My concern is that for the party I am making it during the night and then keeping it on warm until the party starts (12pm), do you think it will dry out?

    • #
      Tessa — December 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Hmmm it may start to dry out if it’s kept on warm setting for more than a few hours. You may want to add more broth to keep it juicy!

  14. #
    Pixie — December 20, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Made this, big hit with the family. Easy to do and the best turkey I have ever made. Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. #
    Andrea — December 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    This was my first time cooking a turkey of any kind and it came out so good! It was super easy and very moist.

  16. #
    Noralee — December 25, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Bought a 5 lb turkey breast on a deep discount. When I searched Pinterest for “Turkey Breast Recipe” this one caught my eye – the meat looked so juicy and the gravy made me hungry! I came this close to adding the word “oven” to my search but thought, let’s check this one out. If the turkey ended up on the dry side, I would just make turkey salad. Let’s just say there is no turkey left for turkey salad! What a hit!! Juiciest, tastiest turkey!!! You must try this recipe out! Kudos on this one – Thanks! Noralee

    • #
      Tessa — December 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Wonderful!! Glad you found the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. #
    Debbie — May 16, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Hi Tessa, just found your recipe and can’t wait till Wednesday to make it for dinner. It sounds like it will have a wonderful flavor. The turkey and gravy look fantastic. Thanks and I’m going to look your blog over.

  18. #
    Lady T — October 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Tessa, I made this about six months ago – and STILL talking about it till this day. Amazing; it has incredible flavor. Will be making again SOON.

  19. #
    Sandra — November 24, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving and got my Crock Pot out last night. I didn’t realize that mine has two “high” settings, 4&6 hours, and two low settings, 8&10 hours. This recipe says to cook it on “low” for 6, so I’m not sure which setting to use. Also, I could only find a 3 1/4 lb. breast, which setting would you suggest? I just started it, so I thought I would use the high 6-hr setting first and turn it down to the low 8-hr setting if the breast begins to cook too fast. Obviously, I’m not expecting an answer today (Happy Thanksgiving!), but I will probably be making this again on a regular basis if it turns out good. I’m always looking for great, low carb recipes. Thanks!

  20. #
    Helen — November 25, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    What kind of thermometer could be used so you don’t have to open the cooker to check if it is done? In opening the cooker at end of 6 hours (4 1/2 lb. breast) , checking with an instant read thermometer, not done, close up again, you undo the heat build-up in the cooker. Which then slowed down the meat getting done. This is my only problem.

  21. #
    Sandra — November 30, 2016 at 5:48 am

    Just a quick update-I only used the high, 6-hour setting and the turkey came out absolutely fantastic. It was juicy and very flavorful. Everybody loved it! I will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you for such a wonderful, no stress recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — December 1, 2016 at 11:33 am

      So glad to hear that, Sandra! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #
    Tammy — November 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I have made several bone in turkey breasts in the crock pot. They come out super moist and it makes the most amazing broth. I stuff it with the usual lemon, celery, carrot, garlic and onion. I remove the skin and rub it with the usual spices. I then put some chicken broth, white wine, and a stick of butter in the pot. I cook it on high for the first couple hours then turn it down low. Its usually done in 3-5 hours, depending on size. When you take the breast out it falls off the bone. I strain the liquid and use to to make my gravy and stuffing. It has so much flavor, it would also be great as soup stock. Best part is you don’t have to babysit it and it frees up your oven.

  23. #
    Dan G — December 25, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Re Slow Cooker thermometers: do NOT use any thermometer that uses a plug in probe. The issue is that while you may not have submerged the probe or wire, the humidity inside the slow cooker is so high you might as well have covered it in water.

    Instead, you need to get a “floating slow cooker thermometer”. As the indicates, you can use it in liquid. The attatched probe is less than 2″ long and can easily stick into your meat or poultry. Cost should be $10 or less.

    This is the voice of experience trying to save you from wasting a digital probe.

  24. #
    Darien — November 19, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Question – I am going to make this this year but need to serve 12 – if I double the recipe will it still cook OK in my crockpot? Thanks!

  25. #
    Mimi — November 20, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I’m so excited about this slow cooker option. I’m using a 7lb boneless breast. How long do you suggest as your recipe is a bone-in?


  26. #
    Sherry — December 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Can I use a skinless, boneless turkey breast?

  27. #
    Marti Brightwell — March 20, 2020 at 4:32 am

    Should turkey breast be thawed before going in crockpot? Thank you.

  28. #
    Sandy — November 13, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I will be trying this recipe this Thanksgiving. My husband is dairy free and has a hard time finding a gravy he likes. And talk about ease, this sounds great. I will post comments and hopefully Iโ€™ll remember to take a picture before eating, thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — November 13, 2020 at 11:42 am

      I hope this turkey is a hit at your Thanksgiving! Enjoy! I would LOVE to see your Thanksgiving turkey photos.

  29. #
    Lois Alexander — November 13, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Could you brine the turkey breast before cooking?

  30. #
    Trudi — November 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    The recipe looks amazing! Any thoughts on using turkey thighs and/or drumsticks instead of turkey breast? Our family prefers dark meat over white.

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