The Ultimate Guide: Cooking a Juicy 3-Pound Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot

Are you craving the delicious flavors of a traditional turkey dinner but don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking a whole bird? Look no further than the versatile and convenient crock pot! Cooking a 3-pound turkey breast in this trusty kitchen appliance is a game-changer, ensuring moist and tender meat every time. Follow this comprehensive guide, and you’ll be serving up a delectable turkey feast without breaking a sweat.

Why Cook a Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot?

While roasting a whole turkey is a time-honored tradition, cooking just the breast portion in a crock pot offers several advantages:

  1. Convenience: No need to constantly monitor and baste the turkey. Simply set it and forget it until it’s perfectly cooked.

  2. Portion Control: A 3-pound turkey breast is an ideal size for smaller gatherings or families, reducing food waste.

  3. Juiciness: The moist, low-and-slow cooking environment of a crock pot ensures that the turkey breast remains incredibly juicy and flavorful.

  4. Oven Freedom: By freeing up your oven, you can easily prepare side dishes, stuffing, and desserts simultaneously.

Ingredients and Equipment Needed

  • 3-pound boneless or bone-in turkey breast (thawed if frozen)
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Your preferred seasoning blend (salt, pepper, herbs, spices)
  • Aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, herbs)
  • Chicken or turkey broth (optional)
  • 6-quart or larger slow cooker or crock pot
  • Meat thermometer

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare the Turkey Breast: If using a frozen turkey breast, ensure it’s completely thawed before cooking. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels and remove any giblets or netting.

  2. Season the Turkey Breast: Rub the turkey breast all over with olive oil or melted butter. Then, generously season it with your desired spice blend. Be creative and experiment with your favorite herbs and spices, such as salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, or a pre-made poultry seasoning.

  3. Add Aromatics: Place aromatics like onion, garlic, celery, or fresh herbs in the bottom of the crock pot. These will infuse the turkey with additional flavor as it cooks.

  4. Place the Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot: Position the seasoned turkey breast on top of the aromatics, ensuring it’s not submerged. If desired, add a small amount of chicken or turkey broth to the bottom of the crock pot to create a moist cooking environment (about 1/2 cup should suffice).

  5. Cook on Low: Cover the crock pot with a lid and cook the turkey breast on low heat for approximately 6-7 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer.

  6. Let it Rest: Once the turkey breast is cooked through, remove it from the crock pot and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring maximum moisture and tenderness.

  7. Optional: Crisp the Skin: If your turkey breast has skin, you can achieve a crispy, golden-brown exterior by broiling it for a few minutes in the oven or using a kitchen torch after cooking in the crock pot.

  8. Make Gravy (Optional): The flavorful juices that accumulate in the crock pot during cooking can be used to make a delicious gravy. Simply strain the juices, then thicken them with a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) or a cornstarch slurry.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to ensure your turkey breast is cooked to perfection. This will prevent overcooking or undercooking.

  • Don’t Overstuff the Crock Pot: Leave enough room for the turkey breast to cook evenly and the juices to circulate.

  • Baste for Extra Flavor: While not strictly necessary, basting the turkey breast occasionally with the cooking juices can enhance its flavor and keep the meat moist.

  • Consider Brining: For an even juicier turkey breast, consider brining it in a saltwater solution before cooking. This process helps the meat retain moisture during the cooking process.

  • Get Creative with Seasonings: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spice blends and flavor combinations. You can create a unique taste profile by incorporating ingredients like garlic, lemon, herb butter, or even a dry rub.

  • Utilize Leftovers: Any leftover turkey breast can be used in a variety of dishes, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, or casseroles, ensuring no food goes to waste.

Cooking a 3-pound turkey breast in the crock pot is a simple and foolproof way to enjoy the flavors of a traditional turkey dinner without the hassle. With minimal effort and maximum juiciness, this method is sure to become a staple in your home cooking repertoire. Gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and get ready to impress your family and friends with a delectable turkey feast that’s both convenient and delicious!

Moist and Tender Turkey Breast in a Crock Pot


How long does it take to cook a 3 pound Butterball turkey breast?

Cook Time (Unstuffed)
Cook Time (Stuffed)
3-5½ lbs.
1½ -2 hrs.
1¾-2½ hrs.
5½-9 lbs.
2-2½ hrs.
2½-3¼ hrs.
18-22 lbs.
2½-3 hrs.
3¼-3¾ hrs.
22-24 lbs.
3-3½ hrs.
3¾-4¼ hrs.

Is it safe to cook a turkey in a slow cooker on low?

Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, we’ve got a recipe for a Slow Cooker Christmas Turkey Joint which is the perfect place to start if you’re not sure how to go about it.

Do I have to brown turkey before crock pot?

You do not need to brown meat before you place it into the slow cooker. By browning meat, you will cause the meat to intensify the flavor. That will make the meat taste so much better. By adding onions, carrots & celery, that will also help to flavor the meat taste.

What if turkey breast is too big for crock pot?

If it is a little too big, don’t fret – just trim some of the rib bones on the underside of the turkey breast until it fits perfectly.

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