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slow cooker turkey breast with gravy

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

Need to make Thanksgiving turkey for a crowd but don't have the time (or patience) to handle the gizzards, gob herb butter inside the skin of the whole bird, and then baste it every half hour as it roasts? This slow cooker turkey breast recipe's got your back. It requires less than 10 minutes of actual work, the results are moist and flavorful, and the drippings transform into one of the best gravies you'll ever have.
5 from 5 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: holiday, poultry, slow cooker, Thanksgiving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Makes: 8 to 10 servings
Cost: $35


  • Slow cooker
  • Small saucepan
  • Large rimmed baking sheet


For the turkey

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend or herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 pounds boneless, skin-on turkey breast
  • 2 heads garlic, rinsed (unpeeled) and halved horizontally
  • 1 medium onion, halved and peeled

For the gravy

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


To cook the turkey

  • In a small bowl, mix together the black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried herb blend, and oil to make a paste.
  • Use some paper towels to pat the turkey breast dry. Then, scoop the spice-and-herb paste onto the turkey and rub it in on all sides, paying special attention to the skin on top.
  • Arrange the onion and garlic halves cut-side down in a slow cooker, and top them with the seasoned turkey breast, skin-side up. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. If possible, check the internal temperature of the turkey after 4½ hours of cooking; mine was slightly over 165°F at the 5-hour mark.
  • As soon as the turkey is done cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and let it rest on a carving board for about 15 minutes. If you’d like to crisp up the turkey skin, preheat your broiler to high and set a rack in the center of your oven. Otherwise, remove and discard the turkey skin, and cover the turkey with foil to keep it warm.

To make the gravy

  • While the turkey rests, make the gravy. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a 2-cup or larger measuring cup. Pour the turkey drippings from your slow cooker through the sieve into the measuring cup, pressing the garlic and onion to get out as much liquid as possible. If you don’t have 2 cups of drippings, pour in some water to top it off. (I got about 1¾ drippings from 5 pounds of turkey breast.)
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, let the mixture cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly, then gradually whisk in the turkey drippings. Cook, whisking, until the gravy thickens to your liking, then remove the pan from the heat. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper.
  • If you’re crisping the turkey skin, place the turkey breast on a baking sheet, skin-side up. Transfer to the oven and broil for about 3 minutes, just until the skin is caramelized on top.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, put it back on the carving board, and cut it into slices. Serve with the gravy.


Got a bone-in turkey breast? That's fine! If it's around 4 to 5 pounds, then keep the cooking time as is.
Need to cook more or less turkey? If your turkey breast (bone-in or boneless) is more like 8 pounds, check the internal temperature after 6 hours of cooking. If your turkey breast is around 2 pounds, check the internal temperature after 4 hours of cooking. 
Tempted to remove the skin? Resist the urge (at least before cooking)! As the turkey cooks, the skin will keep it from drying out. If you really don't want the skin, you can remove it after the turkey is done cooking.