Make Turkey Day easy with this simple recipe for Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast! Classic buttery turkey with herbs, paprika, and black pepper cooks up moist and flavorful in the slow cooker. A quick broil delivers crispy, golden-brown skin.
A Hassle-Free Holiday Dinner Idea
As Thanksgiving and Christmas loom just around the corner, my thoughts naturally turn to turkey! From a gorgeous whole roast turkey with stuffing, to simple turkey scallopini, turkey is delicious, nutritious, and rewarding to cook.
But, if you think roasting turkey means leaning down to baste a huge bird in a fiery-hot oven, think again! This easy recipe for turkey breast in the slow cooker is easy, hands-off, and hassle-free.
By making just the turkey breast, you can avoid having an overwhelming amount of leftovers, and cut down on your prep space, thawing space, and overall workload this holiday season. You’ll still get plenty of juicy white meat, perfectly flavored with butter and herbs, plus a generous amount of turkey broth—perfect for making gravy!
What You’ll Need
To make turkey breast in the slow cooker, you’ll need a thawed turkey breast and some herbs, seasonings, and butter. If you can use fresh herbs, the dish will be even better, but dried herbs will still make a beautiful main course!
- Turkey Breast: Go for a bone-in, skin-on breast for the most flavor and juiciness.
- Butter: Either salted or unsalted butter is fine. It should be softened to room temperature.
- Garlic: Finely minced fresh garlic is my go-to, but you can also substitute garlic powder or garlic from a jar.
- Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage: These are my favorite herbs, but you can use any herbs that you like!
- Lemon Zest: A couple of teaspoons of lemon zest add much-needed brightness to the turkey, especially since it will be slow-cooking for a long time.
- Salt and Pepper
- Paprika: Paprika is made of dried, ground peppers, and adds a sweet, earthy note.
- Chicken Broth: Just a small amount is needed. You could also use water, or even apple cider.
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
The actual method for making this recipe involves just a couple of steps: seasoning the turkey with herbed butter, slow cooking, and then broiling to crisp up the skin. Let’s take a closer look:
- Coat the Turkey Breast with Herbed Butter. Before you start, pat the completely thawed turkey breast dry with paper towels. Then, in a small bowl, mix the softened butter, garlic, herbs, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, and the paprika. Loosen the skin on the turkey breast, and rub half of the butter mixture under the skin. Rub the rest of the butter mixture on top and all around the turkey breast.
- Slow Cook the Turkey Breast. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the turkey. Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker, and then place the turkey breast in the slow cooker skin-side up. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey registers at 165˚F. Start checking for doneness around the 4-hour mark so the turkey doesn’t dry out.
- Broil the Turkey. Remove turkey breast from the slow cooker, and transfer to an oven-safe dish. Let it stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime, heat up your oven’s broiler. When the turkey has rested and the broiler is hot, broil the turkey for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy.
- Enjoy! Remove the turkey from the oven, and let it stand for 15 more minutes before slicing and serving.
How do you keep slow cooker turkey breast from drying out?
To keep turkey breast from drying out, one of the best strategies is to slow cook it! Check! ✅ Slow-cooking turkey allows you to monitor the internal temperature with less stress, and gives you a much wider window for getting the turkey breast to a safe temperature without drying it out.
Some other good ideas for making sure your turkey is moist include brining the turkey (soaking it in salty water overnight before cooking), and leaving the skin on. Leaving the skin on the turkey breast allows the fatty skin to baste the meat as it cooks.
Tips for Success
But wait, there’s more! Before you get started brining, buttering, slow cooking, or broiling, have a look at these helpful hints. These are my top tips for making a turkey breast that’s moist, flavorful, and crispy.
- Oil Before You Broil: Before placing the turkey under the broiler, brush a little oil over the skin. The oil will help the skin to get truly crispy. Don’t use butter, which contains a lot of moisture.
- Allow Extra Time: Every slow cooker and turkey breast is different, so allow extra time for the turkey to finish cooking. Since the cooking is low and slow, you may need as much as an additional hour.
- Use the Juices: Don’t discard the juices that cook and drip into the bottom of the slow cooker! Those are perfect for making gravy, soup, pot pie, and more. 😋
What to Serve with Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Since this dish is such a holiday-oriented recipe, I like to serve it with holiday-style classic sides, like these! Like the turkey breast, they’re great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime.
- Stuffing: One of the most indulgent dishes of the season, stuffing is one I can’t live without! Try my Traditional Stuffing Recipe for an easy, step-by-step guide to this holiday favorite.
- Green Bean Casserole: Everybody loves Green Bean Casserole, and it’s easy to see why! Tender, well-seasoned green beans shine in a simple savory sauce with onions.
- Glazed Carrots: More savory than sweet, Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots are a healthy, garlicky version of traditional glazed carrots. Yum!
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Turkey
- To refrigerate, take the turkey meat off the bone, and pack it into airtight containers. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
- To freeze, take the turkey meat off the bone and pack it into freezer bags. Press as much air out as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, place the desired portion in a covered skillet on low heat, adding a splash of water or broth to keep the turkey from drying out. Heat just until the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature. Don’t overcook, or the meat will dry out!
Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker
- 6 pound bone-in, skin-on whole turkey breast
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon salt, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Pat dry the turkey breast with paper towels and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl stir together the butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and paprika.
- Using your fingers, carefully pull the skin away from the meat and rub about half of the butter mixture under the turkey skin.
- Rub remaining butter mixture on top and all around the turkey breast.
- Season the turkey with remaining salt and pepper.
- Pour chicken broth in the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Add the turkey to the slow cooker, skin side up.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, or until internal temperature of the turkey breast registers at 165˚F. Use a Meat Thermometer and start checking for doneness around the 4-hour mark.
- Remove turkey from slow cooker and transfer to an oven-safe dish and let stand for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, turn oven to BROIL.
- When ready, broil the turkey for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until skin is browned and crispy.
- Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
- Notes: Lower calories by removing the skin after cooking.
- WW POINTS: Points were calculated with SKINLESS turkey breast.
- NET CARBS: 0 g