This easy Butter-Basted Slow Cooker Turkey Breast makes a tender and moist turkey breast right in the crockpot!
One year for Thanksgiving, Heather was on-call and couldn’t be any farther than 30 minutes from the hospital. It meant that we missed out on our annual family gathering with my grandparents, but also meant that we got to have a Thanksgiving dinner, just the 3 of us.
I insisted on doing the standard meal – I mean, it’s tradition, right?! But, rather than doing a whole turkey, I just did a turkey breast in the slow cooker. Always looking to improve things, I took the method from my Garlic Roasted Chicken in my cookbook and used the butter mixture to coat the turkey. It turned out amazing! It kept it super moist and added GREAT flavor.
How do you cook a turkey breast in a slow cooker?
- Season your turkey breast with seasoned butter.
- Place the turkey breast in the crock pot, or slow cooker if that’s what you prefer to call it.
- Sit it breast side up and cover.
- Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
What should you serve with turkey?
There are a lot of options out there for sides that go great with turkey. Here are a few of my favorites:
Starches: I love to serve my turkey with a side of mashed potatoes. Mom’s Secret Ingredient Mashed Potatoes are the perfect starchy pairing. Or, if you are short on time, try this Shortcut Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole. Yum! And then, of course theres the traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing – A Family Favorite!
Vegetables: Really any vegetable goes with turkey! My favorites are Sweet and Sour Carrots and My Favorite Roasted Green Beans. You also can’t forge the classic Green Bean Casserole!
Bread: Don’t forget the rolls! These Garlic Parmesan Knots go great with turkey!
Now I’m hungry! How about you?!
Butter-Basted Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- 1 (5 to 7 lb) bone-in turkey breast, thawed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Remove turkey from packaging and remove any giblets, gravy packets, and the neck if they are in the cavity. Don't rinse the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. This helps the butter mixture stick to the bird.
- In a medium bowl, combine the butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix until well combined. Rub the butter mixture over the entire bird. Carefully separate the skin from the meat over the breasts and rub butter mixture between the skin and meat.
- Place the turkey in the slow cooker, breast side up and cover. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. To crisp the skin up, place on a oven-safe platter and place under the broiler of the oven on low until crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
This sounds delicious. My turkey breast is thawing now and I’ll be using your recipe this weekend but have a question. So many slow cooker recipes for turkey breast have you putting it on a bed of fresh onions and garlic to keep it elevated. Since this doesn’t use either would you recommend my using my slow cooker rack insert to help keep the breast elevated and help avoid it from poaching in its own juices? Definitely not knocking the recipe but have never cooked a turkey breast in the slow cooker without elevating it and would love to hear your opinion. Do you feel that elevating the breast would be better or make a significant difference?
You can certainly cook this on a bed of onion sin the bottom of your slow cooker. The idea of it poaching in its own juices means it’s going to be very moist and juicy – which I why I like doing it in the slow cooker. It doesn’t look the prettiest, but it sure tastes good. It’s just a matter of what outcome you are expecting. Hope that helps!
Thank you for the quick reply Stacey. I decided to not elevate it and cooked it exactly as the recipe stated. It was perfect and will be my go to recipe from now on. I don’t always have fresh onions, garlic, and thyme on hand as many recipes require but always have salt and seasonings so this is super convenient as well as delicious. Thanks again.
Thanks for the trust! Glad to hear it turned out great for you!
We LOVE this recipe! My husband and I eat turkey year round, and leftovers are great for Cobb Salad wraps, Kentucky Hot Browns, etc. Thanks for this recipe – I use a boneless turkey breast, so this practically makes itself!
So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this recipe, Vicki!
I made this exactly as the recipe stated, and cooked it breast side down. It was moist, and fell apart!! The best turkey ever. Thanks, Stacey
Wonderful! It’s not exactly pretty to look at, but it sure tastes good!
These instructions don’t go with the description of what you are making or the pictures. What am I missing?
I’m not sure I understand. Are you referring to a video?
I cooked a turkey breast by this recipe for Thanksgiving this year and I will never cook turkey in the oven again. This was so moist and tasty. I followed the recipe exactly and did cook it breast side down because we didn’t care if it fell apart. It wasn’t firm enough to slice; it was just very tender. I’ve already shared this method with my daughter for use at Christmas. Thanks, Stacey.
I’m just so happy to hear that y’all enjoyed it!
This was a delicious crockpot turkey breast recipe. I also made your crockpot cornbread dressing. My family loved it. Saved time using these recipes and the crockpot. I did substitute onions and garlic with powder. My son in law want eat onions but it still turned out delicious.
I love your recipes Stacey especially your enchiladas.
Thanks so much, Janice! I’m so glad everything turned out great for you!
We celebrated Thanksgiving today and I used this recipe for the turkey. It turned wonderful! Very moist and tasty flavor. Thanks!
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it, Mary!
I’m making this today for work tomorrow. Yes, I have to work Thanksgiving. My turkey breast is 6.14 lbs. Will this feed 5-6 people? Of course, others are bringing appys and sides/dessert. Thank you for the recipe.
Bless you! We’ve certainly had our share of Heather having to work on the holidays with her being a nurse and all. Thanks for doing what you do! I typically suggest 1 to 1.5 pound of turkey per person. So, in this case, you’d certainly be close. It just depends if you’ve got big eaters or not.
Ok, thank you Stacey!
This was – hands down! – the BEST turkey breast I have ever had! It was an easy recipe to make and was juicy and moist and tasted simply delicious! I followed the directions exactly – even bought a probe thermometer to make the temp and timing more exact – and broiled it for about 9 or 10 minutes to make the skin golden. Wish I’d taken a photo – it was that beautiful! Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again!
That’s fantastic, Deb! I’m so glad it turned out so great for you!
Gravy homemade or store-bought Love your recipes! Thanks!
Thanks so much, Nancy!
Will a boneless turkey breast work as well?
We have only ever done it with a bone-in but boneless should work! I would just adjust the cook time!
Could you please send me the directions for doing this in my oven, I have never just cooked a turkey breast. Thanking you for your reply.
I think that I’ve waited to late to ask but I could use some help here.
This coming Sunday at church we’re going to have a soup dinner and I’m supposed to be bringing the soup beans, fried potatoes and cornbread. I only have one thing on my side and that is our clocks fall back.
I know that you have no clue at how bad I do mornings. I’m always late for church. I don’t do mornings, I take lots of medicine and I normally don’t get woke up until afternoon but this coming Sunday I have to be out of the house by and at church by 10:00am. 😢😢😢😢
Please know that I’m going to cook my soup beans, peal my potatoes, and make my cornbread on Saturday, I can have everything done that will speed up my meal with everything except for the frying the potatoes.
Please can you tell me how to speed up my frying my potatoes. I know that I’ve got to make at least 20lbs.
I thought that I would fry em in a Nesco cooker because of the size.
What do you think 🤔?
I really appreciate your help and feed back.
Hi Debbie! I suppose you could par-boil the potatoes, but you’d have to watch them very carefully to ensure they don’t get too done before frying them. You could also slice the potatoes in thinner slices so they’d cook faster. The larger pan should help, too. You’d just want to work in batches as cooking all of them at one time won’t allow the to get crispy.
Hi Stacey! This recipe sounds great! I just wanted to ask .. are there enough good juices to make good gravy??
Because of the moist cooking method of the slow cooker, I think it does produce a decent amount of broth for gravy.
I wondered that, too, but there was plenty to make a lovely smooth gravy!
Hey Stacey, I’m a little confused here. Supposedly the recipe is for a turkey breast, but the instructions seem to be for a whole turkey. Are the ingredient amounts and cooking time the same for both? Thanks! Love your recipes!
Hey, Kathie! No, it’s only for a turkey breast. So I can ensure the instructions are updated and clear, where is it that it seems to be referring to a whole turkey?
I have the same interpretation of this recipe as Katie. The recipe refers to removing items from the bird’s cavity, and to spreading the butter mixture over the entire bird, and under the skin of the breast. Nowhere does it say to cut the breast off the bird. As it is just my husband and I in our family, I would only buy a breast, boneless, if possible!
The recipe is for a bone in turkey breast. You can buy them just like that at the grocery store – already butchered down to just the breast, but with the bone in. Like this: https://www.publix.com/pd/publix-premium-turkey-breast-with-ribs-with-gravy-packets-frozen-usda-grade-a/RIO-PCI-114643 Does that help?
It looks like there is a “sort of gravy” on the turkey. Is it just from the slow cooker? Thanks.
No, it’s gravy made with the drippings.
Cannot wait to try this! As I’m dreaming of cooking this, I am smelling a big pot of bean soup with ham hock! Having for dinner tonight with cornbread! Smell of this simmering, is driving me crazy 🤣 Turkey next! Thankyou for another great recipe!
Hope it turned out great for you!
I do not PIN. What happened to my saved recipes?
They’re still there. Just click the “Recipe Box” link at the top in the menu.
Thanks Stacy. I tried that before and it doesn’t work. I love all your recipes and presentations.
I always cook mine breast side down. Since the breast tends to be drier than the dark meat, this way it is always soooo moist and delicious. Good eating.
Thanks for the tip!
I will be cooking a 6-1/2 lb. bone in turkey breast for Thanksgiving. I have been comparing slow cooker recipes. Most say to cook longer than your recipe of 4 – 6 hours. A lot I have read recommend 7 – 8 hours on low for 5 – 7 lb breasts. Is it possible to overcook the turkey using the slow cooker method?
It is certainly possible to overcook a turkey a slow cooker. The meat will get tough and dry out. I’ve found that most folks write slow cooker recipes for that 7 to 8 hour mark because that’s usually how long folks are away from home at work. But I find that in many cases, it’s too long.
Thank you for your prompt reply! I will plan on 6 hours for the cooking time (6-1/2 # bone-in breast) and also use a probe thermometer. Wish me luck…I’m glad I wrote for your advice. Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. How will you be cooking your turkey this year?
You’re so welcome, Annette! Happy Thanksgiving! If I’m cooking an entire turkey, I always cook it like this: https://southernbite.com/juiciest-spatchcocked-turkey/
I tried this turkey recipe for Thanksgiving dinner last week, it was A MAZ ING!!! I will be doing this ALL the time when turkey is called for at dinner!!! We LOVED it! Thank you!
Ha! I’m so glad to hear that y’all enjoyed it!
Well, Stacey. For the first time, in the history of ever, I made a moist, juicy turkey……thanks to you. Your recipe performed very well. We all loved it. Of course, all our turkeys will be cooked his way! Thank you a ton.
Awesome! So glad to hear y’all enjoyed it!
I made your butter dipped breast last night using two of the butterball 3lb. turkey breast roast. OMG. They are so amazing. I think I will actually like turkey now. The flavor is wonderful. Thank you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
So glad to hear your enjoyed this, Deborah!! Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m also asking about the boneless breast, which I have…I assume it should be thawed first, but since it’s boneless and smaller than 5 lbs, do I need to cut back on cooking time? Thanks!!
Hey Tim! Yes, I do recommend thawing it in the fridge for a few days before cooking it. Four hours on low should be plenty as along as it’s thawed completely.
Gosh, You’re good! I was just digging for the recipe again and decided to read the comments….lo and behold, you answered mine…Bless you, child! Thank You so much.
I had a small boneless turkey breast (about 3 lbs) in my freezer that I bought to try a crockpot recipe for. Made this tonight and it was delicious! The perfect Sunday dinner. I reduced the cooking time by an hour and reduced the amount of butter. It was perfect!
So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Candice! It makes a super moist, delicious turkey, right?
I am planning on making this today. About how long will it need in the broiler to crisp?
Not long at all – perhaps just a few minutes, depending on how hot your broiler gets. Just be sure to watch it very carefully.
Cooking this tomorrow with a little creole seasoning and onion added! Can’t wait!!
Creole seasoning adds such great flavor! I added some to mine this year too!
Recipe looks very inviting. My question, slow cook on HIGH or LOW setting?
You’ll want to cook this on low.
Hi Stacey…..I’m a Buffalonian, [New York] quickly becoming a Southerner via food and your recipes! I too made this before. You are correct in all the tips. It isn’t as pretty because it’s so tender but its so good — super moist. If you’re only making breast who cares if not that pretty. If anyone is interested, Butterball makes so many choices in breast, w/wo bones and white/dark. I’m buying 2 – 3 lb boneless breasts containing white & dark meat. First time for that. And the other part is they give you a gravy so no worry about having to make your own in crockpot. Tho I do add a little broth to mine. These special Butterballs can always be found @ my fav store, WALMART! And, BTW, I order online and hubby picks up – I need a new hip and Walmart offers this free and customer caring option. Everyone enjoy your holiday! Also making your spoon cornbread Stacey!
Thanks, Jackie! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this one! And thanks for the tips about the turkeys! I’m sure that will be super helpful to some folks.
This is a good idea as while I personally am a fan of the dark meat, most of my family opts for white meat. Fixing an extra breast will assure there is enough to have an ample amount.
Great idea! Hope y’all have a happy Thanksgiving!
Do I need to add any liquid like water with a bone in Turkey breast?
Nope. No need. Enjoy!!
This was my first bone in turkey attempt and it’s a winner! Even my friends that aren’t big turkey people said it was one of the best they’ve had! I want to make a stock for turkey soup with the leftovers, any recommendations? I’ve only done stock once before but the person who carved the turkey did a far better job than I did but I managed to get most of the meat off for the soup. Curious if you have any suggestions for the stock.
So glad it turned out great for you!! I love making stock in my slow cooker! Here’s the method I use… https://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/slow-cooker-turkey-stock/
Could you do this with a whole turkey just a small one? And could i put cooked stuffing in it lile a regular turkey on the oven?
If it fits in your slow cooker, absolutely! I wouldn’t recommend stuffing it though.
Could you add other spices in addition to the garlic powder and if so, what do you suggest? Can’t wait to try this!
Sure! Adding a poultry seasoning would be perfect!
Do I make it the same way if I am just using a turkey breast with no bone? This sounds amazing but need to know if I can make it without the bone. Fingers crossed. Lol
Did this turn out good with the turkey breast no bone? I have one in my freezer with no bone-in and I want to use this recipe for it but not sure if it’ll turn out as good as the bone-in. Thank you in advance.
Salted or unsalted butter?
Unsalted works best if you’r looking to watch your sodium intake, but either will work.
Is this a recipe for a turkey breast or for a while turkey? The instructions are a little confusing when you say to ru b the butter mixture over the entire bird
It’s a bone-in turkey breast.
Tried this today and it was delicious! Had a heck of a time spreading the rub, kept sticking to my hands. Is there a trick to this? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!, Sue
So glad you enjoyed it! There’s not much of a trick. It’s just kind of messy. 🙂
Well worth the mess!! Will always do it this way.
Ha! Love hearing that!
I found that if the butter is not soft enough due to it’s not warm/soft enough, it won’t spread. I popped my butter mixture into the microwave for 3-5 second increments, which softened it up without melting it and then it stuck to and spread across the skin perfectly! It’s cooking in my Crock-Pot as I type!
Great tip! Hope you enjoy!
I have a 5 quart crock pot, is that too big for this recipe? It sounds delicious!
No, that will probably work depending on the size of your turkey.
This sounds great! I just bought a turkey breast at the store since it’s only going to be two of this this year, and I wasn’t quite sure how to cook it. Here you are with this timely post that answered the question.
Well, I’m just tickled the timing was right! Y’all enjoy!
Stacey, The turkey recipe sounds good. I would like to make turkey gravy. Is there enough drippings to make about a cup or two of gravy or do I need to add some broth?
Every turkey is different, but I think you’d be able to get at least a cup of broth.
Stacey, this recipe sounds wonderful and can’t wait to make it. However, I am wondering if you have a recipe for a ham cooked in the crockpot? So many people are now cooking their holiday hams in the crockpot. Since this will be my first time cooking a ham in the crockpot, I want to run it pass you first to see if you have a recipe for ham cooked in the crockpot? That way for Thanksgiving or Christmas I could have the turkey in the oven and the ham in the crockpot baking at the same time for the holidays. Love all your recipes and have made many of them with great reviews. Keep them coming!
Hi Elizabeth! Here’s a recipe for a slow cooker ham that I did for Betty Crocker a few years ago… https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-southern-style-ham/c218d13c-a52b-4bc9-9252-ecc2d84a3bb5
I have enjoyed your posts and recipes and have made many of your dishes—— and never been disappointed. A great big thanks from north of the border, Stacey.Keep them coming .
You are so welcome! Thanks for your kind words, Joan!