Amazing alternative to roasting the whole bird. This slow cooker turkey breast is simple, delicious and takes only 5 minutes of prep time.
This recipe was originally posted on September 28, 2014, but it’s back by popular demand!
Over the past two years I’ve received a number of questions regarding this dish from my readers. So, I figured this would probably be an opportune time to both answer these questions, and offer some fresh ideas. With Thanksgiving around the corner, many of you may be looking for an alternative bird cook. Needless to say, the slower cooker turkey breast offers an easier, more convenient option.
Without further ado, here’s some of the Q&A that can help you cook a perfect Slow Cooker Turkey Breast:
- “Did the turkey breast get that brown on the top just from the slow cooker?”
Answer: I placed the turkey breast on top of onion, garlic, etc…; so it wasn’t swimming in juices. Additionally, I put a lot of dry rub on top and I think what made it crisp up is by leaving it for another couple of hours on a “Warm” setting before serving.
- “How big was the turkey breast that you used?”
Answer: Mine was about 3 pounds. I usually buy it from Trader Joe’s and they have them in a size ranges from 2.5-3 lbs.
- “When you said to cut the garlic head in half, did both halves go in there, and did you leave the garlic skin on or you peel each garlic clove?”
Answer: I took a whole garlic head with the skin on and cut it in the half. I then put both pieces, with the skin down, in the bottom of the crockpot. You will discard the garlic at the end. Afterwards, if you want to make a gravy, the best way is to strain the remaining sauce through a cheese cloth.
- “Did you rub any of the spices under the skin?”
Answer: I actually just sprinkled all the spices on the top of the breast. I literally prepared it in about 5 minutes before leaving for work and didn’t have time to rub it under the skin. That said, I’m pretty sure that rubbing spices under the skin will actually make this turkey even better…so by all means do it! Rub it under, and while you’re at it, sprinkle more on top.
- “Does the meat become so tender that it shreds or are you able to slice it up?”
Answer: The meat does come out very tender so slicing may be actually a challenge, but you won’t have to shred it either. Rather, you’ll be able to get nice pieces of meat that just peel off the carcass.
- “You don’t need to add chicken stock, or wine, or water to the crockpot?”
Answer: It won’t hurt. I don’t do this because I’ve done this turkey so many times and I know that onions and garlic, along with turkey itself, produces so much liquid that you won’t even want to use all of this for your gravy. But if you feel uncomfortable going this route, then feel free to add some chicken stock, wine, or water. It all will work. You will just end up with a little bit more liquid in the end, but that’s it. The flavors will still be there.
- “Can I add vegetables under the turkey?”
Answer: Absolutely, the more veggies you add the more flavorful your gravy will be. Try adding carrots, celery and parsnip.
- “Can you recommend paleo friendly gravy?”
Answer: Just add root vegetables at the bottom (carrots, parsnip, celery and potatoes). Once the turkey is cooked, strain the veggies and blend them. They can thicker your gravy.
- “My gravy came out a little bitter? Could that be lemons?”
Answer: This can happen because the lemon skin can produce different tastes. It happened to me once and some of the readers gave me the same feedback. So, I’ve updated this recipe to remove the lemons. Once you’re making your gravy, you can add some lemon juice to get a little tanginess.
- “What size slow cooker did you use?”
Answer: Mine is 6.5 QT
Welcome to my take on a perfectly moist and delicious Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. With this recipe you can have your favorite Thanksgiving meal any day of the week. And the best part of it is that you almost do nothing at all. The beauty here is that the slow cooker will do most of the job for you.
It takes literally 5 minutes to prepare. I did this in the morning before I left for work, while preparing lunches for my family. I grabbed this beautiful turkey breast from the fridge, then added garlic, onion and lemon from the pantry and a couple of herb strings from my garden, some dry spices from the cabinet and threw everything into the slow cooker.
All I had to do then was set it up for 8 hours, and walk away. Concerning your spicing, I decided to go with the Tuscan flavors of lemon, thyme and rosemary; but you can actually use whatever spices and flavors you wish. It will be equally delicious. When I came returned from work that night, dinner was done!
For me Thanksgiving is a fairly new tradition. Obviously, it’s not celebrated in Poland. However, I said “fairly new,” as I’ve actually been celebrating it for the last 9 years here in the States and I absolutely love it. All those foods and flavors…OMG my mount is watering now. As I write this, I actually want Thanksgiving dinner right now.
To roast the whole turkey takes a lot of preparation and a lot of babysitting while in the oven, in order to make a beautiful, flavorful and moist bird. But now you can cheat and have thanksgiving dinner without the fuss. When I got home, the smell in the house was incredible. It happened that my husband worked from home that day and was teased by the smells coming from the kitchen throughout the entire day. He made sure to reprimand me when I returned. He wanted to just eat. Yet, even he conceded that the reward of having it for dinner was worth the wait.
You can serve this slow cooker turkey breast with mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes like these Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candid Pecans, Craisins and Chives or just as is, with it’s natural juice and bread (like this amazing Homemade Dutch Oven Crusty Bread), or you can even make a gravy from the juice. I actually chose to have a dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy.
So I boiled the potatoes and once they were cooked I mashed them with milk and some sea salt. As I mentioned, I also made gravy from the turkey juice. The things that surprised me most was the amount of water that this bird produced and the amount of fat on top of that. I had to literally spoon the fat off before I made my gravy. But once I’d done that the gravy couldn’t have been easier. I just brought those juices to boil an added mixture of milk and corn starch, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper and voila! Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes and turkey was done.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
For the Turkey:
- 1 turkey breast on the bone (about 3 lbs)
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 medium sized yellow onion
- 5 strings of fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon of salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
For the gravy:
- 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of milk
- 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch
- Juice from half a lemon (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Turkey:
Cut your garlic head in a half
Cut onion in 4 large pieces
Add all of the above to the bottom of the slow cooker
Place the turkey breast on top of the garlic, onion and lemon
Sprinkle the top with the spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika
Spoon over Extra Virgin Olive oil on top of the turkey and half the lemon.
Bundle up the herbs and add to the slow cooker
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours
For the Gravy:
Once the turkey is done, you can take it out along with all the veggies and herbs.
The sauce will contain fat on the top - remove it so the gravy is not too heavy
Pour the sauce in a small saucepan
Bring it to boil
In a cup mix together milk with corn starch
Add to sauce and cook until thickened up (See note 1 below)
Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed
Now you can also add lemon juice for some extra flavor (See note 2 below)
Recipe Notes1. Depending on how much sauce you have, you may need to add more milk/cornstarch mixture. Just add 1/3 milk with 1 tablespoon first and see how it thickens up. If needed, repeat the process.
2. Originally I posted this recipe with the lemons added to the crockpot. It happens that the sauce can get a little bitter from the lemons. I guess it depends on the lemons. I suggest to skip the lemon and adjust tanginess of the gravy at the end with some lemon juice.
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