Looking for an easy turkey breast recipe? Free up your oven and cook this juicy turkey in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Why Cook Turkey Breast In The Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot
I am a person who really likes turkey. Turkey is a great low-fat alternative to pork, it tastes great as a substitute to beef in chili, and it can be more flavorful than chicken in many dishes. The problem I run into is that I’m not trying to feed enough people to really make buying one whole turkey worth it. That is why I love when I can find a good size turkey breast so I can make just enough for my household of 2 (we like leftovers). Since turkey breasts are just a portion of the whole bird, they are great for cooking in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Both methods help you make the juiciest and most delicious turkey breast that will wow guest this holiday season!
What Size Turkey Breast To Use
I have a 6-quart slow cooker & Instant Pot that I use to make most of my meals, and that allows me to cook a turkey breast that is up to about six pounds (or more, depending on the shape). Most often I get turkey breast in the five-pound range and that ends up being just the perfect size to fit while also having just enough leftovers to get an easy extra meal. You might find that you can fit a turkey breast that’s a bit bigger in your appliance, and I always suggest thinking about the shape of your slow cooker or Instant Pot when picking out a turkey breast. A turkey breast may fall in the five to six-pound range but still not fit in your appliance based on the shape, so make sure to think about how well it will fit when you’re shopping.
How Many People Will This Serve?
A good rule of thumb is to plan for a pound per person of meat. Generally, adults will eat ¾ to a full pound and children will eat about half a pound, but this can also change based on how many sides you offer and what those sides are. If you are serving two or more heavy sides like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or bread rolls then you can probably count on people eating less of the turkey. If you have fewer or lighter sides such as salads or roasted vegetables, then more turkey will probably be eaten. For the four to six-pound turkey breast that I usually cook, I end up having about four to six servings as well, but I always like to over estimate just a bit when I have guest coming over.
How Long Does The Turkey Take To Thaw?
To make this in the slow cooker, you will need to thaw the turkey breast first. All thawing times will vary based on the temperature of your refrigerator, but generally turkey thaws at a rate of about four to five pounds every 24 hours. Since you are just thawing the breast and not the whole turkey for this recipe, I highly recommend taking the breast out of the freezer the night before you intend to use it and let it thaw in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This makes sure that you won’t have any frozen spots in the meat, and that it will cook evenly in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Instant Pot: Cooking A Turkey From Frozen
While you need to thaw your turkey breast before cooking it in a slow cooker, you can skip thawing when you use an Instant Pot! The pressure-cooking setting of the Instant Pot allows you to cook your turkey breast completely and evenly without thawing by forcing the heat and juices back into the meat. That is why it gets so tender when you make Instant Pot turkey breast! From frozen, a five to six-pound turkey breast should take about an hour and fifteen minutes to make sure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
If you are making your turkey breast in the slow cooker, you will need to strain the drippings into a pan on the stovetop to make the gravy. If you are making your turkey breast in the Instant Pot, you will need to strain your drippings and then add them back into the pot and switch to the sauté function. No matter which way you cooked your turkey breast, you will need to add a tablespoon of butter/ghee and your preferred type of flour to make the gravy. Melt the butter into the drippings and then grab a whisk and add in your flour. Make sure to whisk continuously to prevent getting clumps and make sure your gravy is nice and silky.
Side dish recipes you might enjoy with this turkey breasts:
- 5–6 pound bone-in turkey breast
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1 tablespoon oil of your choice
- 3–4 sprigs fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 lemon or orange, sliced
- 1 tablespoon oil of your choice
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 cup water or broth (Instant Pot only)
Prep The Turkey Breast
- Rinse & pat turkey dry. Loosen the skin of the turkey breast. Place the ghee/butter under the skin of the turkey. Rub the oil all over turkey.
- In a small bowl, mix together salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the turkey.
- Add onion, lemon, and sprigs of fresh herbs to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add the prepared turkey on top.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 or LOW 6-8.
Pour the water or broth into the Instant Pot. Add the trivet.
Add the onion, sliced lemon, and fresh herbs on top of the trivet.
- Place prepared turkey breast on top of the trivet, breast side up.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 6 minutes per pound
of turkey (make sure internal temperature for the turkey breast is 165° Fahrenheit).
- When done, let the pressure cooker naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
After It’s Done…
- Transfer the turkey breast to a cutting board. Loosely tent the turkey with foil and let it rest 15-20 minutes.
Crisp The Skin
Preheat your broiler to high.
Carefully remove the turkey from the appliance and place on a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet the oven & broil for 3-5 minutes or until the skin is crisp to your liking.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one of the product links, I might receive compensation. For more about my disclosure policy see here: https://fitslowcookerqueen.com/about/disclosure-policy/.