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Crockpot Turkey with Garlic Butter

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 40 mins
Servings 8 servings

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This easy Crockpot Turkey recipe is for those who don’t want to be bothered with roasting! It’s slathered in garlic butter and cooks all day (or night!) in the slow cooker.

It’s not that I’m afraid of roasting a turkey, I promise.

crockpot turkey in slow cooker whole with fresh parsley sprigs as garnish

It’s just that it’s not something I’ve had a lot of practice doing, and so, how do you know if it’s going to be good or bad?

In all seriousness, I should probably make an attempt to learn how to roast a turkey well, but it’s hard to find the motivation when this Crockpot Turkey turns out so incredibly well with very little fuss.

My crockpot is where I turn when I need a moist roast, or chicken, or turkey, and I don’t want to have to babysit it.

I know that it’s going to be tender and juicy, even if I don’t really know what I’m doing 😉

crockpot turkey sliced on large plate on dark grey background with parsley sprigs as garnish

Really, it’s a lot like this Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin or this Crockpot Shredded Chicken — what I like to call “stupid easy”. You can whip these up on a hectic day even with a one year old on your hip 😉

If you’re a big fan of your slow cooker, you might want to check out these Easy Crockpot Meals.

How to prep your Crockpot Turkey ahead:

Because we want things to be as easy as possible on the big day!

  • Give your turkey adequate time to thaw. Whole turkeys require one day in the refrigerate for every 4 lbs to thaw completely, which means for this recipe (since you’ll need a small turkey), you’ll likely want to give yourself about 2 days.
  • Make your garlic butter and slather it up under the skin and season the skin the day before — this will give your turkey so much flavour!
  • You can thaw and season your turkey right in your crockpot, which means little clean up!
crockpot turkey plated overhead on large light blue plate on dark grey background

How to make a turkey in the crockpot or slow cooker:

  • Know your crockpot. All cook differently, and will hold different sizes of turkeys. For this recipe, an oval slow cooker will work best, but all cook at slightly different temperatures. I use a large 6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.
  • Because we want to be super safe when serving poultry, you always want to check the internal temperature of the turkey with a meat thermometer. It should read 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 degrees F in the breast.
  • When cooking a turkey in the crockpot, it’s not going to dry out as easily as it would in the oven if you go past the optimal temperature somewhat, so if you end up cooking 8 or 10 hours because you’re out of the house, your turkey will still be incredibly moist and juicy.
  • If you like, you can brush on extra butter and crisp up your turkey under the broiler in the oven for 5-10 minutes (keep a close eye on it). This step is only essential if you serve the turkey with the skin on, as soggy turkey skin isn’t appetizing for anyone!

How to get crispy skin on a crockpot turkey:

There are two ways to get brown skin on a turkey made in the slow cooker:

  1. The crockpot: Follow the instructions in the recipe to drain most of the liquid, melt reserved garlic butter and brush over the turkey after it’s done cooking. Turn it to high to brown up the skin.
  2. The oven: Remove turkey from the slow cooker and place in a roasting pan. Melt reserved garlic butter and brush over turkey, then broil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the sake of transparency, I’m going to tell you that I did not brown this turkey in the oven. I want you to see how golden and glorious a turkey can be straight out of the crockpot. Sure, it is not incredibly crispy but it’s not soggy either. It’s brown and beautiful and incredibly juicy.

Recipes for leftover turkey:

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Crockpot Turkey with Garlic Butter

5 from 2 votes
This easy Crockpot Turkey recipe is for those who don’t want to be bothered with roasting! It’s slathered in garlic butter and cooks all day (or night!) in the slow cooker. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 40 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings
Calories 559kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt (I use Lawry’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 lb whole turkey (about 3.5-4 kg)
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • To make the garlic butter, stir together the butter, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, reserve 1-2 tablespoons garlic butter and set aside.
  • Loosen the skin of the turkey and spread garlic butter under the skin and on top. If you can, do this the day before and let the turkey sit with the seasoning overnight.
  • Add the water into the bottom of the crockpot and cook turkey for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low, until an internal temperature of 170 degrees F is reached in the thickest part of the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh.
  • Drain half of the liquid in the crockpot (but save it! It’ll make delicious gravy). Melt remaining garlic butter and brush onto the turkey. Turn to high for 30 minutes so the skin will brown up. (Optional: you can also broil for 5-10 minutes. See post for more details).
  • Remove turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Notes

*Please note that the nutritional information accounts for all of the juices and butter. As some of this is left in the pot or made into stock, the actual numbers in the calorie count will be lower.
**Estimating 1 lb of turkey per person will account for the weight of the carcass and still be good sized servings. You may find 8 lbs feeds quite a few more, but if you want to be safe or have leftovers, 1 lb per person is a good estimate.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 559kcal | Protein: 69g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 262mg | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 736mg | Vitamin A: 545IU | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords slow cooker turkey

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Barbara Cooper says

    Fixed it today and loved how simple it was! The turkey is super moist and flavorful. My husband said, “This is the best turkey I’ve ever had!” I cooked a 12# turkey – started on high and then switched to low while I was away from home and then back to high for a bit. Not quite sure how long it cooked as I just waited for the button to pop and then checked it – probably about 6 1/2 hours. Will definitely use this recipe again and again!!!

  2. Lynda Lawrence says

    I am about to try this tonight but what about stuffing can you put that in the turkey in the crock pot or not?

  3. JoAnn says

    Oops, my last Comment contained a typo. I “crisped” the skin in my oven for 5 minutes, NOT 15! I also forgot to mention that I used Xanthan Gum rather than flour to thicken the Gravy. No Carbs, but even better: no LUMPS!

  4. JoAnn says

    I made this yesterday as a “practice run” for Thursday’s Dinner. And it was WONDERFUL! Mine was an 11 lb. bird, but it fit in my 6 quart crock-pot/slow-cooker nevertheless. I didn’t have either Lawry’s Seasoning Salt or Italian seasoning (I never buy either), so I Googled them and created my own. I was surprised to learn that I had ALL but 1 (the Onion Powder) of the recommended herbs and spices — Basil, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary Leaves, Thyme Leaves, Marjoram, Turmeric, Paprika, Black Pepper, and Sugar (I used Splenda); a 1/2 tsp. of each — on hand. I did have Garlic Powder on hand, also, but, as a personal preference, I used 4 tsp. of minced Garlic (from the jar) in my baste instead. To compensate for my lack of Onion Powder, I quartered a medium-sized Yellow Onion and stuffed it into the Turkey’s cavity. Since mine was a larger bird than yours, I let it cook on High for 6 hours instead of 4. I took your advice and let the skin “crisp” in the oven for 15 minutes; I made Gravy from the Liquids in the crockpot in the meantime. We (4 of us) each had 2 servings (along side of steamed Broccoli and Zucchini Boats stuffed with Sweet Italian Sausage, Bacon and Mushrooms and topped with Provolone Cheese). I did say “wonderful”, didn’t I?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I hadn’t specified unsalted butter in the recipe and now that I did, it dropped a bit. Honestly, I’m not quite sure that the sodium amount listed is correct as it is auto generated. 1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt is 320 mg of sodium, which is what would be in one serving. I will adjust the amount manually. Sorry about the confusion!

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