Delicious Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Recipe for Thanksgiving

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast is one of the best dishes you can prepare during the holidays, especially when you’re looking for an easy and flavorful meal. It’s a classic Southern comfort dish that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

As a chef specializing in Southern-style cuisine, I know that the slow cooker is an indispensable tool in any kitchen. With the right ingredients and preparation, it can bring out the best flavors in any dish. And this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe from Southern Living is no exception.

In this recipe, boneless turkey breast is slowly cooked with a blend of herbs and spices until it’s perfectly moist and tender. The result is a succulent meat that’s bursting with flavor and aroma.

Whether you’re cooking dinner for your family or hosting a Thanksgiving feast, Slow Cooker Turkey Breast will surely impress your guests. It’s easy to prepare, hassle-free to cook, and absolutely delicious.

Follow my step-by-step instructions for the perfect Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe. From ingredient selection to cooking methods and pairing recommendations, I’ll guide you every step of the way so you can create a mouth-watering masterpiece in your own home kitchen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (Southern Living)
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (Southern Living)

This slow cooker turkey breast recipe is a game-changer and a must-try for anyone who loves tender and juicy meat. Not only is it easy to cook, but it also yields excellent results every time.

The great thing about slow cookers is that they allow the flavors to develop slowly and infuse well into the meat, making it flavorful and moist. This turkey breast recipe calls for aromatic herbs such as thyme, garlic, rosemary, sage, lemon zest, and fresh butter, which give the turkey unparalleled depth of flavor.

Moreover, this recipe is very versatile, allowing you to customize it to your taste or dietary preference. You can substitute smoked turkey for the boneless turkey breast, use chicken broth instead of water for an even richer flavor or add more black pepper to ensure a deeply savory taste.

With this recipe, you can make restaurant-quality food in the comfort of your home without breaking your bank. It’s perfect for any occasion—the holidays or a casual weeknight dinner with loved ones.

Once you try this slow-cooker turkey breast recipe, I guarantee that you’ll love how savory, moist, and delicious the cooked meat turns out. You’ll want to keep following this recipe over and over again because it’s just that good.

Ingredient List

 Tantalizing Turkey waiting to be cooked to perfection
Tantalizing Turkey waiting to be cooked to perfection

Ingredients you will need

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe:

  • 1 boneless turkey breast (about 3 to 4 pounds)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, ensuring deeply
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and sage
  • Herb and cornbread stuffing (optional)

Note: You can use either a bone-in or boneless turkey breast. If using bone-in, adjust cooking time accordingly.

The Recipe How-To

 My trusted crock pot getting its time to shine for Thanksgiving
My trusted crock pot getting its time to shine for Thanksgiving

Step 1: Prepare the turkey breast

  • Take your boneless turkey breast out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Meanwhile, season the breast with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, ensuring that they penetrate deeply.

Step 2: Create the herb mixture

  • In a small bowl, stir together finely chopped garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme leaves, and grated lemon zest.
  • Add melted unsalted butter and mix well until the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Rub this herb mixture under and over the skin of the turkey breast.

Step 3: Set up the slow cooker

  • Pour one cup of chicken broth into the slow cooker.
  • Place the turkey breast on top of the broth.

Step 4: Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours

  • Cover and cook on low heat for approximately seven to eight hours, or if you’re in a hurry, you can cook it on high heat for 3 – 4 hours. The optimal internal temperature is recorded at the thickest part of the breast, which should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before being served.

Step 5: Let rest and enjoy!

  • Once done, take the turkey breast out of the slow cooker and allow it to rest for at least fifteen minutes before slicing.
  • Serve warm with side dishes such as mashed potatoes, green beans or any of your favorite southern sides.

Substitutions and Variations

 Here's what you need; now let's get cooking!
Here’s what you need; now let’s get cooking!

As a chef who has worked with poultry for many years, I know that sometimes we find ourselves missing an ingredient when we’re ready to cook. There is no need to panic if you don’t have some of the ingredients on this recipe list, as many substitutions can be made to create an equally fantastic meal.

For starters, if turkey breast is not available or not appealing to you, you can swap it out with other types of meat, such as boneless chicken breast or even smoked turkey. You can also use a whole turkey instead of just the breast; the cooking time will vary and be sure to monitor the internal temperature until it reads 165 degrees F for the thickest part of the bird.

If you are not fond of fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, or even garlic, worry not — you can still create a scrumptious dish by using dried herbs instead. However, keep in mind that when using dried herbs, one should only use about a third of what’s called for in fresh herbs because dried herbs are more potent in flavor.

Finally, for those who would like to add some variety to this recipe, we recommend using different types of stuffing for your turkey like herb cornbread stuffing. Some people may also enjoy topping their roasted turkey breast with gravy or cranberry sauce before serving.

Remember; take these suggestions as inspiration and adapt them to fit your palate and pantry. Cooking should not be too restrictive – it should always be fun and creative!

Serving and Pairing

 The aroma of Southern-style turkey filling my kitchen
The aroma of Southern-style turkey filling my kitchen

One of the things I adore about this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe is how versatile it is when it comes to serving and pairing options. The juicy, flavorful turkey breast goes well with various sides, making it a perfect choice for any occasion.

To create a classic southern-style experience, pair your slow cooked turkey breast with some delicious herb cornbread stuffing. The combination of flavors and textures will give you a delightful meal that feels just like home.

For a lighter option, you can serve the turkey with some roasted asparagus or green beans. These vegetables will add some color and freshness to your plate while complementing the savory taste of the turkey.

If you want to get more creative with the pairing, try adding cranberry sauce or gravy on top of your turkey breast. These sauces will give your meal a burst of flavors that will take your taste buds on an exciting journey.

And let’s not forget about the drinks! A glass of red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon, will beautifully balance out the richness of the turkey. Alternatively, for non-alcoholic options, consider serving sweet tea or lemonade to complement the southern charm of this dish.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe, one thing is for sure: it will be a hit at your table.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Let it cook low and slow, magic awaits!
Let it cook low and slow, magic awaits!

You cannot have Thanksgiving or any dinner without leftovers, right? So, when it comes to this slow-cooked turkey breast recipe, you’re in luck. It is one of those perfect make-ahead meals perfect to store for those busy weeknights.

You can make the recipe 3 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat. When ready to reheat, place the slow cooker turkey breast in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through.

If you have lots of leftovers from your thanksgiving dinner, you can also reuse your smoked turkey breast for recipes like sandwiches, quesadillas, casseroles, pot pies and more. Don’t let anything go to waste by using the remaining meat from your slow-cooked boneless turkey breast.

Pro tip: When storing leftover turkey, remember that bacteria grow at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. You should refrigerate cooked turkey within two hours of roasting and don’t let it sit at room temperature for longer than two hours either.

With this comforting slow-cooked boneless turkey breast recipe in your back pocket, you can easily host any holiday family gathering or dinner party with ease knowing that meal prep won’t be a stress factor thanks to how easy it is to reheat the dish. Hurry up and whip up this masterpiece now!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Fork-tender and juicy flavor in every bite
Fork-tender and juicy flavor in every bite

As a southern-style cuisine chef, I know how important it is to achieve mouth-watering results with every dish, especially when it comes to the slow cooker turkey breast recipe. Here are a few tips to ensure that every bite of your turkey breast is tender, juicy and full of flavor.

1. Use boneless turkey breast

To ensure even cooking, I strongly recommend using a boneless turkey breast for this recipe. It cooks more evenly and avoids the dryness that can occur when cooking a whole turkey.

2. Check internal temperature

Make sure to check the internal temperature of your turkey breast before serving. The thickest part of the breast should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This is important to ensure that your turkey is cooked all the way through and safe to eat.

3. Season well

Don’t be shy with the seasonings! A good amount of salt and pepper added at the start will help deepen the flavor throughout the entire dish. You can also try adding in some lemon zest, fresh sage, rosemary or thyme, and garlic for added depth of flavor.

4. Stir ingredients together

Before placing your turkey breast in the slow cooker, stir together your chicken broth and melted unsalted butter to create a flavorful base for your bird. This will ensure that every part of the turkey is coated in flavor.

5. Place herb cornbread stuffing around Turkey Breast

For added deliciousness and Thanksgiving vibes, you can place herb cornbread stuffing around the perimeter of your turkey breast after seasoning it well with salt and pepper.

6. Cook on LOW heat setting for juicier meat

While it might be tempting to crank up the heat on your slow cooker to get dinner on the table more quickly, we suggest cooking your turkey breast on low heat for 7-8 hours for maximum juiciness.

Remember these tips when making this classic Southern Living slow cooker turkey breast recipe (or any turkey recipe, for that matter), and you’re guaranteed to wow your guests with a moist, flavorful dish that they will remember for years to come.


As a Southern-style chef, I understand that folks want to be confident about their cooking. That’s why I’m here to answer some frequently asked questions about this slow cooker turkey breast recipe, so you can cook with ease and impress your guests.

Is it safe to cook a turkey in a slow cooker on low?

To start cooking your delicious turkey, carefully place it in the crockpot and then make sure to cover it completely. You have two options for cooking time: high heat for around 3 to 4 hours or low heat for approximately 7 to 8 hours. Keep an eye on the internal temperature, making sure it has reached 170 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh, to ensure it is fully cooked.

Is it better to cook a turkey breast low or high?

Achieving the perfect texture and flavor for a whole turkey requires a careful balance of high heat and lower temperatures. This can be a daunting task for any cook looking to impress during holiday celebrations.

How do you cook the turkey so that the breast doesn t dry out?

If you’re cooking a turkey, it’s important to cover the breast with foil to prevent it from drying out or becoming overcooked. This way, you won’t have to constantly baste the turkey while it’s cooking. Additionally, having a cooking thermometer is essential for ensuring the turkey is cooked to perfection.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Slow Cooker Turkey Breast is a must-try for those seeking to enjoy the goodness of Southern-style cuisine. This recipe offers a simple yet delicious way to cook turkey breast using a slow cooker, giving you time and flexibility to prepare other dishes or wind down while your food slowly cooks. The combination of garlic, rosemary, and sage create a savory herb blend that will leave your taste buds feeling satisfied, while the dish’s flexibility allows for various substitutions and variations without sacrificing quality.

Whether you are hosting friends and family for Thanksgiving or simply looking for a hearty meal to enjoy on a cold winter day, this recipe is perfect. With easy-to-follow instructions and tips for ensuring perfect results, even first-time cooks can confidently whip up an irresistible Slow Cooker Turkey Breast.

So why not give it a go? Impress your loved ones with a delicious meal that tastes like it took hours to make, without all the fuss. Take advantage of the convenience that comes with using a slow cooker and indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of this popular Southern Living recipe today. Who knows – this might just become your go-to turkey breast recipe for every occasion!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (Southern Living)

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (Southern Living) Recipe

From Feb 2018 SL magazine. "Unlike roasting, slow-cooking locks in moisture, creating juicy and flavorful meat. Keep the skin on (it will be removed later) to seal in the herbed butter rub."
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 641.6 kcal


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 1 (6 lb) bone-in skin-on whole turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth


  • Stir together butter, thyme, garlic, rosemary, sage, lemon zest, 2 tsp of the salt and 1 tsp of the pepper in a medium bowl until well incorporated. Rub butter mixture under turkey skin.
  • Sprinkle outside of turkey with remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  • Pour chicken broth in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker; add turkey, skin side up.
  • Cover and cook on LOW until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165* F, 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
  • Remove turkey; remove skin from turkey and serve slices.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 373gCalories: 641.6kcalCarbohydrates: 0.8gProtein: 75gFat: 35.5gSaturated Fat: 13.8gCholesterol: 251.6mgSodium: 1121.3mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.1g
Keyword High In..., High Protein, Meat, Poultry, Very Low Carbs
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