Go easy on yourself this Thanksgiving by making this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe! Your slow cooker not only frees up oven space but it yields incredibly moist turkey AND the base for a quick flavorful gravy! Great for a small gathering this recipe will yield 6 to 8 servings.
Not in a million years did I ever think I would slow cook a turkey.
And look at me now.
A few years ago Malloree’s high school varsity dance team had a team bonding dinner the night before a competition. The theme was Friendsgiving and three of us mom-friends teamed up and put it on together. I brought mac and cheese, rolls and pumpkin pies. And my friend Sarah made a whole turkey breast (among other things) in her slow cooker.
You guys, it was love after first moist and delicious bite! Now I’m a huge fan of whole turkey breasts. Especially for small gatherings and potlucks. Needless to say, I asked how she made it and went home and put together my own slow cooker turkey recipe based on what she told me.
Freeing up oven space and making the turkey in the slow cooker is brilliant and a game changer. This way you will have plenty of room in your oven for all the casseroles.
To Make This Slow Cooker Turkey Breast You Will Need:
- whole turkey breast (bone in) – This is basically a turkey without the legs or wings.
- garlic (whole) – Stuffed into the cavity to flavor the meat.
- carrot – Added to the slow cooker to flavor the cooking liquids/drippings.
- onion – Added to the slow cooker to flavor the cooking liquids/drippings.
- celery – Added to the slow cooker to flavor the cooking liquids/drippings.
- bay leaf – Added to the slow cooker to flavor the cooking liquids/drippings.
- turkey stock – Homemade or store-bought. Adds moisture while slow cooking.
- white wine – Gives the cooking liquids acidity and flavor. Can sub with more stock if preferred.
- low-sodium tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce) – Lends a salty and savory (umami) flavor while also deepening the color of the gravy.
- crushed dried rosemary – Adds a pine-like or woodsy flavor.
- rubbed sage – Is lighter (fluffier), less concentrated and not as intense as ground sage.
- dried thyme – Lends a sharp and earthy flavor.
- wondra flour – This is an ultra-fine flour that whisks really well into sauces and gravy without clumping.
- black pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor.
Prep and Stuff the Turkey:
Thaw your whole (bone-in) turkey breast in a dish or pan 2 to 3 days in advance. The day of, remove it from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the garlic heads in half and stuff them inside of the turkey cavity.
Place the turkey into your oval 6 to 8 quart slow cooker. Because the size of my turkey was on the larger side, I had to turn it on an angle to fit.
Tuck 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 chopped carrot and 4 chopped stalks of celery around the turkey and lastly, throw in a bay leaf.
In a mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup turkey stock, 1/2 cup low-sodium and 1/3 cup dry white wine.
Whisk to combine and pour over the turkey.
Lastly, combine 1 teaspoon each rubbed sage, crushed rosemary and dried thyme.
Sprinkle the dried herbs over top of the turkey and vegetables.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 or until the temperature (in the thickest part of the breast) reads 165° on a meat thermometer.
Your house by now should smell incredible!
Remove the turkey to a deep sided roasting pan, make sure it’s nearby the slow cooker so the transfer is easy. Move your oven rack to the lowest position and preheat your broiler. Broil the skin of the turkey until golden and crispy. Times vary, so watch closely to avoid burning and rotate to ensure even browning.
I also have to prop my turkey up so it will brown evenly and used a metal taco holder. 🤷🏻♀️ Whatever works as long as it’s oven/broiler safe.
Now for the easiest gravy you will ever make.
Use a slotted spoon remove the vegetables and bay leaf from the slow cooker and discard. Use oven mitts and pour the turkey drippings into a fat separator – I linked it in the recipe printable. Pull the plunger out and pour the juices out and through a strainer into a separate liquid measuring cup, reserving the fat.
Into a saucepan, add 1/4 cup of the fat and heat on medium heat until it starts to sizzle.
Shake in 4 to 6 tablespoons of Wondra and whisk to form a paste. Cook the roux for 2 to 3 minutes. Note: I am one of those who doesn’t measure and just eyeballs the flour.
What is Wondra?
Wondra is an ultra fine, quick mixing “instant flour” that is low-protein, pre-cooked and dried and dissolves instantly, and won’t clump. Making it PERFECT for gravies and sauces. However you can also used to bread meat, seafood or vegetables among many other uses.
While whisking, pour in 4 cups of the hot broth whisking well until smooth.
Simmer until the gravy thickens. If necessary or you lack patience (<–me), a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon flour mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water) can be added to the bubbling gravy.
The tamari gives the gravy the perfect saltiness and aids in the deep brown color. Bonus! There’s no need to season with salt, just some black pepper will do.
Carve the turkey breast away from the bones and slice.
Serve the sliced turkey with stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes and drizzle it all with that glorious gravy!
Have leftover turkey? click here for great ways to repurpose leftovers!
Enjoy! And if you give this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!