Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey

Easy Turkey Recipe and Thanksgiving Memories

We sped through the Oklahoma countryside, passing fields of corn and cows with Christmas music playing softly over the car stero system as mom and dad talked in the front seat. I was crammed in the back with my mom’s Slow Cooker Holiday Ham, trying to keep from getting whiplash as my dad took the hairpin turns like a race car driver in the Indy 500. It was Thanksgiving Morning, circa 2004, and we were headed to my Grandma T’s, just like we did most every Thanksgiving. When we pulled into the long driveway of Grandma T’s house, we could see cars already lining the driveway and street as the family poured in, bearing various holiday dishes.

As we all gathered in to enjoy the Holiday Turkey and the other wonderful dishes, one particular Aunt who will go unnamed (because she might be reading this right now!) rolled in a little late. Aunt “N” was always late to the party but made up for it with the most delicious desserts you’ve ever tasted in your life. This year she decided to try something new and she brought a very large and very moist Kahlua Cake. After we feasted on Thanksgiving Turkey and all of the trimmings, my aunt presented her new and prized creation, the Kahlua Cake. We eyeballed this newcomer with a bit of skepticism because 1. we had never tried Kahlua Cake before and 2. it was literally floating in Kahlua.


A large, white, rectangle platter with a whole roasted turkey breast that has been seasoned with cooked celery and carrot sticks around it on the platter. The platter is sitting on a brown wood weathered back drop.


Best Roasted Turkey Recipe

My aunt began cutting huge slices for everyone, and not wanting be be offensive, we indulged her by polishing them off quickly. Shortly after consuming said cake, it became quite obvious that something was awry. Typically, when alcohol is used to bake or cook with the alcohol evaporates in the cooking process and no intoxication occurs upon consumption. However, the more Kahlua Cake everyone ate, the happier they all became! About three pieces of cake later, and with many giggles and loud guffaws, my aunt confessed that she had a “bit” of Kahlua leftover after baking the cake and had poured the remainder over the top of the cake as a sort of “frosting”.

Yep, you guessed it, my dear aunt got everyone at the Thanksgiving Dinner drunk that year on her new dessert! Needless to say, the Holiday Turkey wasn’t the talk of the table that year because the newcomer took center stage! haha! It was a Thanksgiving I’ll never forget. Assuming you all want a Thanksgiving turkey that WILL be the star of the show, let’s discuss my Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey. For this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey recipe I started out with a five pound bone-in turkey breast.


A package of one, young turkey breast is sitting to thaw in a large blue bowl on a black, granite, counter top.


How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

Remove the turkey from the packaging, remove the turkey gravy packet from inside of the chest cavity, and rinse the bird all over. You’ll need to make sure that your turkey breast is completely thawed before placing it in the slow cooker to cook. I purchased my turkey breast a little early and popped it in the freezer so I had to thaw mine beforehand and it took about 3 days to fully thaw in my fridge. This particular turkey came pre-brined so there won’t be any need to brine it before cooking.


An unpackaged and raw turkey breast is sitting, thawed, in a large blue bowl on a black granite counter top.


Best Turkey Breast Recipe

Once the turkey is rinsed in water, place it in the slow cooker with the chest cavity down. You could stuff the chest cavity with onions, celery, carrots, apples, lemons or oranges or even with turkey stuffing if you desire. We’ve never been big on stuffed turkey so I chose not to stuff ours at all. It is important to note at this point that you will need at least a six quart oval slow cooker (or larger) for this bird to fit. Side note: the plastic lining my slow cooker insert is called a slow cooker liner. It is completely safe and BPA free and just makes the clean-up process effortless and easy. Using a slow cooker liner is not necessary in cooking this turkey, I just used it so I would have one less dish to clean after the Thanksgiving dinner. 


A raw, uncooked turkey breast is in a black, oval, slow cooker that has a slow cooker liner inside of it.


How to Season a Thanksgiving Turkey

After fitting the turkey breast snugly in the slow cooker, go through your spice cabinet and select the perfect choir of spices to season this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey. I like to use one tablespoon each of Old Bay Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and one teaspoon each of Ground Black Pepper and Tony Chacherie’s Original Creole Seasoning. In case you’re wondering where the salt is, this turkey was pre-brined in salt water so there is no need to add additional sodium in the seasoning.


A container of Old Bay Seasoning, garlic powder, ground black pepper, onion powder, and Creole Seasoning sit on a black granite counter top with a white stove to the right of the photo.


Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

You can mix the above seasonings in a small bowl and then pour it over the turkey or add them one by one. Pat the seasonings into the bird, making sure it is seasoned all over and not just on top.


A raw, uncooked turkey breast has been placed in a black slow cooker that is lined with a plastic slow cooker liner and it has been seasoned liberally.


The Key to a Juicy Turkey Recipe

Now that the seasonings are added, step back, take a good look at the bird, and add some parsley flakes like I did. It just felt right to give this bird a little extra flare. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of dried parsley flakes or freshly chopped parsley. Once the parsley has been added, pour  1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of the slow cooker. Don’t pour the water directly over the Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey or you will rinse away the seasoning.


A raw, uncooked turkey breast is in a black slow cooker, seasoned with spices and dried parsley, and a measuring cup of water is coming in from the left hand side of the frame and about to be added to the turkey in the slow cooker.


How to Cook a Turkey in the Slow Cooker

The turkey is ready to go so let’s move on to the vegetables. I like to add in a few veggies when cooking a whole chicken or turkey because it adds a nice flavor to the meat. Wash four large stalks of celery, cut the ends and leaves off, then slice into halves or thirds and add in around the turkey. After the celery has been added, wash and peel four large carrots and cut them in half. Add the carrots to the slow cooker along with the turkey.


A raw and uncooked turkey breast in a black slow cooker that has been seasoned with spices and herbs and has cut and raw celery sticks and carrots in the slow cooker around it.


Christmas Turkey Dinner

Now that you’ve added the seasonings, water, and vegetables, it’s time to cook this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey! Place the lid on the slow cooker and set the time for eleven hours on low. If you have an early Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, this is the perfect turkey to cook the night before and let it cook overnight. When you wake up the next day, the turkey will be hot and ready to go! I like to cook this holiday turkey low and slow because it gives the meat such a wonderful flavor and leaves the turkey juicy and tender. Whether you’re making this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving, I can guarantee it will be a winner on the dinner table!


The front silver and black display of a Crock Pot slow cooker, set to cook on low for eleven hours. The slow cooker is sitting on a black, granite counter top.


The Easiest Turkey Breast Recipe Ever Made

Just before serving this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey, I like to remove the lid and place the slow cooker insert in the oven to roast the turkey. You don’t have to roast it before serving, but I love the wonderful flavor the meat gets when browned. If you’re of a mind to roast your turkey, place it in the oven at 450F for 5-10 minutes, just until the top gets brown and crispy.


The top glass lid of an oval slow cooker with a cooked seasoned turkey breast inside along with cooked celery sticks and carrots.


Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey

Once the turkey is roasted, carefully remove it from the slow cooker using a spatula on each end to lever it out. You may need a little help removing the bird depending on how large and heavy it is and how tightly it is wedged in your slow cooker so be sure to have someone on standby to help it needed! I like to serve this Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey on a pretty platter and surround it with some of the cooked celery and carrots.


A large, white, rectangle platter with a whole roasted turkey breast that has been seasoned with cooked celery and carrot sticks around it on the platter. The platter is sitting on a brown wood weathered back drop.


Crockpot Holiday Turkey

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, you’re probably looking for more wonderful holiday recipes to dish up on your dinner table. I’m glad you made your way over to my kitchen because I have some wonderful recipes for you to try, such as my Granny’s Southern Cornbread Dressing, and my Slow Cooker Holiday Ham.


A large, white, rectangle platter with a whole roasted turkey breast that has been seasoned with cooked celery and carrot sticks around it on the platter. The platter is sitting on a brown wood weathered back drop.


I hope this recipe brings you and your family around the table this Thanksgiving or Christmas to share delicious food and wonderful memories together. Happy Holidays, Friends!


A large, white, rectangle platter with a whole roasted turkey breast that has been seasoned with cooked celery and carrot sticks around it on the platter. The platter is sitting on a brown wood weathered back drop.
5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey

Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey is a bone-in turkey breast that is cooked in the Crock Pot until tender and seasoned with herbs and spices, making this turkey breast recipe the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas turkey dinner. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Christmas Turkey Dinner, Slow Cooker Holiday Turkey, Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 hours
Total Time 11 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8
Author Amy - The Speedy Spatula


  • 1 5lb bone in turkey breast
  • 4 celery stalks halved
  • 4 carrots peeled and halved
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay Spice
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp Toney's Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Thaw turkey out according to packaging directions, remove from packaging and rinse.

  2. Place turkey, chest cavity side down, into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.

  3. Season the top and both sides of the turkey liberally with all of the seasonings. 

  4. Pour water into the slow cooker, to the side of the turkey - not on top or you will wash away all of your seasoning.

  5. Wash your celery, remove very bottom and leaves and cut in half. Place the halves around the turkey

  6. Wash and peel the carrots, cut in half and place around the turkey.

  7. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 11 hours. Once cooked, remove carefully with two spatulas, on either end of the turkey. 

Shared at Meal Plan Monday

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Also shared at Weekend Potluck

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