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Dry-rubbed with a simple but flavorful blend of spices, this juicy slow cooker turkey breast brings bold BBQ flair to a beloved dish. The tender meat practically falls off the bone, and the seasoning blend packs flavor into every bite.
The Best Crock Pot Turkey Breast Recipe
Rubbed with BBQ seasonings and tossed in the slow cooker, this turkey fits just as well in your Thanksgiving spread as it does on any old Thursday. Either way, the recipe pretty much makes itself, giving you a chance to relax. Let your Crock Pot do all the work for a busy weeknight meal, or make it on the weekend and use the leftovers for quick and easy dinners all week!
The best thing about making turkey in the Crock Pot is the way it traps moisture, locking in the turkey’s juices and letting the rub really sink into the meat. While this turkey may not have the same crispy skin as a turkey roasted in the oven, it makes up for it with tenderness and flavor.
What You’ll Need
With only 3 ingredients, this recipe is ridiculously simple. You can find exact amounts for everything if you scroll to the printable recipe card below.
- Turkey Breast: Bone-in, with any giblets and excess fat removed.
- All-Purpose Red Rub: Or your favorite store-bought or homemade barbecue rub.
- Onion: Cut into chunks.
Can I Use Frozen Turkey?
You can use turkey that was previously frozen, but you don’t want to pop a turkey into the slow cooker when it’s still frozen solid. Living up to its name, the slow cooker cooks things slowly, meaning a frozen turkey will stay in the unsafe temperature range too long. This opens up the door for bacteria to grow. Instead, thaw the turkey fully in the fridge before beginning this recipe.
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
This slow cooker turkey recipe really couldn’t be any easier. After just 10 minutes of active prep, you can kick back and let the Crock Pot do the rest.
- Season the Meat: Coat the turkey breast thoroughly with the barbecue rub, inside and out. Press the rub in so that it sticks to the meat, until some gets under the skin.
- Add the Onions: Arrange the onion chunks inside the cavity behind the breast and place the turkey skin-side up in your slow cooker.
- Slow-Cook the Turkey: Cook the turkey on low for 5-7 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve: Remove the turkey from the pot. Serve it with a gravy or sauce of your choice.
Tips for Success
Slow-cooking turkey is pretty much foolproof, and this recipe has always turned out perfectly for me. Here are some tips to help you get the same results.
- Choosing a Turkey Breast: You want to use a turkey breast in this recipe that has the bone still in and the skin still on. Both of these things help to keep your turkey breast moist and tender. The skin traps in the juices, allowing the turkey to baste itself, while the bone lets out moisture into the surrounding meat.
- Finish Under the Broiler: If you like a crispy skin on the outside of your turkey, go ahead and stick it under the broiler for a bit after taking it out of the pot. Letting the skin crisp up adds a nice layer of flavor and helps to activate some of the spices.
Make Your Own BBQ Rub
Making a big batch of All-Purpose Red Rub opens up so many opportunities to save time in the future. This seasoning blend can be stored in a cool, dark place for months. Sprinkle it over meats or veggies before grilling or roasting them.
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- And a pinch of cayenne pepper
Make It a Meal
The drippings left over in the Crock Pot make a flavorful base for gravy, like this Cranberry Apple Cider Gravy. As far as sides, I love to pair it with one starchy side and one vegetable side. I especially like making Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash to go along with it, because this side dish offers both! It’s also great with Cranberry Orange Glazed Green Beans and Gluten Free Crescent Rolls.
Storage and Reheating
Because it’s such a lean meat, turkey loses a lot of moisture very quickly. You can keep it in the fridge covered tightly with plastic or sealed in an airtight container for up to 3 days, but it won’t be as juicy reheated. The best way to enjoy turkey the next day is to incorporate it into another recipe that adds moisture and flavor.
What to Do With Leftover Turkey
Slices of reheated turkey breast almost always come out drier and tougher than when they’re fresh. Luckily, there are so many ways to reuse this turkey aside from eating it plain. Try putting the meat in Turkey Pot Pie Soup, making some paninis, or tossing it into a Turkey Swiss Quiche. There are tons of leftover turkey recipes that you can try for yourself.
Can I Freeze This?
Slow cooker turkey breast actually freezes really well! Just make sure to remove it from the bone and seal it tightly in a double-lock freezer bag. It should stay good for up to 3 months.
What size Crockpot do I need?
In order to fit a bone-in turkey breast, you are going to need one of the larger models. I use a 6-quart slow cooker, and I have the Hamilton Beach Set and Forget Slow Cooker. Using the thermometer and programming it to cook to 165°F is an easy way to ensure it cooks fully to a safe temperature but stays moist.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker
For the turkey breast:
- One 4 to 7 lb turkey breast, thawed and giblets (if any) and excess fat removed
- About 1/2 cup of All-Purpose Red Rub, or your favorite store-bought or homemade barbecue rub
- One large onion, cut into chunks
- Gravy, Creamy Maple Dijon Dressing, or Barbecue Sauce for serving
- Coat the turkey breast thoroughly with the barbecue rub, inside and out, pressing it to stick it to the meat and pushing some under the skin.
- Place the onion chunks inside the cavity and place the turkey skin side up in your slow cooker.
- Cook on Low for 5-7 hours, or until it reaches 165°F internal temperature.
- Serve with gravy, maple Dijon or honey mustard sauce, or barbecue sauce.
- To Store: Keep in the fridge covered tightly with plastic or sealed in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze: Remove from the bone and seal tightly in a double-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months.