In my family, Thanksgiving side dishes are the real star of this food-heavy holiday. Big buttery rolls, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and my favorite, green bean casserole. Which means space in the oven on Thanksgiving is a hot commodity. To make things a bit easier on ourselves and the oven, my mom, the resident Thanksgiving-turkey-roaster for the family, turned to an unlikely kitchen ally: a slow cooker.

Rather than roast a 20-pound bird in the oven for the better part of the day, my mom utilized Taste of Home reader Maria Juco’s fabulous slow cooker turkey breast and wrangled a few slow cookers and turkey breasts for a moist and flavorful main dish that was entirely hands-off.

Keep reading to get Maria Juco’s recipe, plus some helpful tips along the way.

Plus: Here’s how to cook almost any Thanksgiving dish in the slow cooker.

How to Cook a Turkey Breast in a Slow Cooker


1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), skin removed
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water


6-quart Slow cooker
Meat thermometer


Step 1: Prep

If not purchased skinless, remove the skin from the breast by gently pulling it up and back. Discard.

Next, in a small bowl, mix the garlic, seasoned salt, paprika, Italian seasonings and pepper until they’re combined. Brush the turkey all over with the oil then rub the seasonings on the breast.

Also, here are the most common turkey mistakes—and how to avoid them.

Step 2: Cook

Transfer your prepped turkey into a slow cooker and pour the water into the bottom of the device. Cover and cook the breast until it’s nice and tender, about 5-6 hours.

Make sure you’re not taking any unnecessary risks by following these slow cooker safety tips.

Step 3: Carve

Before taking the turkey out of the slow cooker, check its temperature with a meat thermometer (our Test Kitchen uses this model) to test its doneness. The thickest part of the turkey should be at least 165 °F for food safety. By the way, these are the food-safe temperatures for each type of meat.

Once it’s up to temp, pull your bird from the slow cooker and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices (and flavor!) to be locked into the meat before cutting. After a quick rest, slice your turkey breast and serve it alongside lots of fresh-from-the-oven side dishes!

Need some inspo? Here are some of our favorite side dish recipes and low calorie slow cooker recipes.

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