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Looking for fork-tender, juicy turkey to serve for Thanksgiving dinner? Save oven space and make this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with rosemary and orange juice. You may also like our citrus smoked turkey.
I’ll be honest. Turkey is not my favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner menu. When there’s sweet potatoes, green beans, corn casserole and rolls (and don’t forget to save room for the pie)…I’ll pass on that meat, thank you. But any other time of the year, I love a good turkey dinner. Especially when the turkey is fork tender and juicy. This slow cooker turkey breast is one of the easiest ways to prepare a turkey breast and I love that it frees up the oven for delicious side dishes!
We chose to use a bone-in turkey breast in this recipe. Is it better to use a bone-in turkey or boneless? First of all, it’s generally known that roasting meat on the bone has better flavor than meat off the bone. It’s also true, however, that bone-in meat can be messy and many of you may not want to deal with picking meat off the bone.
For turkeys, be aware that a boneless turkey breast is actually a turkey “roast”. I’ve found that the roasts are usually tied together with string because they are different pieces of the turkey all processed together. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once the turkey roast is slow cooked, it is often not as easily sliceable as a bone-in turkey breast. If you want all white meat boneless turkey breast, be sure to read the package well.
Also, remember that often the weight of the boneless turkey roast will conclude a gravy packet that you may or may not want to use.
Bone-in turkey breasts don’t sit upright as easily and don’t make for the prettiest pictures (see below) but they are delicious!
You’ll want to plan for about 1 pound of bone-in turkey per dinner guest. With all of the side dishes we serve with turkey, we can get away with a little less than that, but if I’m having a dinner party, I definitely don’t want to run out.
You’ll want to remove the turkey breast from the freezer 2 days before cooking. Don’t defrost the turkey at room temperature. Give it plenty of time in the fridge to defrost. If you happened to forget and need to defrost the turkey breast more quickly, place the unopened turkey in cold water for 3-5 hours.
The key with this method is to make sure the turkey stays cold, so you’ll want to switch out the water every 30 minutes so it doesn’t warm up.
This recipe calls for 3 simple seasonings: garlic, rosemary and pepper. In order for the flavor to get all through the turkey breast, we make cuts down into to the breast (about ¾ of the way through the breast) in 2-inch intervals. Stuff those seasonings down into the cuts you’ve made and that way the flavor infuses all throughout the breast.
Orange flavor is classic for cooking turkeys. To keep this recipe easy, we used ready made orange juice and poured it over the turkey breast, allowing the turkey to slow cook in that sweet citrus flavor. If you’d like, slice up a few oranges and throw them in the slow cooker alongside the turkey breast. Delicious and pretty too!
A 6-7 pound turkey breast will take about 7-8 hours to cook on low in the slow cooker. I like to baste it 2-3 times throughout the day to get that orange flavor all over the turkey.
Turkey breast is done when it reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the turkey breast. Be sure your internal probe thermometer is not touching bone or you may get a false reading.
**We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test meat temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING. Get it here.**