Crockpot Turkey with Garlic Butter

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 40 minutes
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
Table of Contents
  1. How to prep your Crockpot Turkey ahead:
  2. How to make a turkey in the crockpot or slow cooker:
  3. How to get crispy skin on a crockpot turkey:
  4. Recipes for leftover turkey:
  5. Crockpot Turkey with Garlic Butter Recipe

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

4.97 from 51 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 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 40 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings
Calories 559cal


  • 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


  • 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. 


*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: 559cal | 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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  1. Donna D. says

    I haven’t tried it yet, want to try it but I also want to try it in the oven after to brown the skin, what oven temperature & how long to bake it?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Donna! The instructions were actually in the blog post under “How to get your skin crispy” section. “For 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.” Enjoy!

  2. Dan says

    I’ve made this recipe the last two years and loved it both times. Since the first time is always a trial run I wait till the 2nd to comment. The kid and I don’t eat the skin, so next time I’ll remove it and let that glorious garlic butter get more cozy with the meat. Because so many delicious juices occur I’ll likely try to stuff it with a mirepoix (carrots/celery/onion) next time around.

  3. Meg says

    I made this recipe last year for our small COVID Thanksgiving and now I’ll never go back to any other recipe I tried in years past — this is a clear winner! I didn’t have to keep checking or basting, could throw things in the oven without worrying if I had to add extra time. Hands down the best I’ve ever had 🙂

  4. Ray says

    Oh my goodness this is the best turkey I have ever made in my life. Popped it in the night before and let it cook overnight (12lb) for 12 hours. Fell right off the bone and had so much moisture. Would do this again every year.

  5. Kristina M Murray says

    Making 12 to 14 pounder Thursday is it safe to say to start it the night before? And how many hours should it cook for? Also is putting vegetables inside the turkey ok?

  6. Amy Dunn says

    I love finding new ways to tackle a turkey. When I read this recipe, I had to try it! It was certainly easy. This is a great way of making the meat for stews, soups and cottage pies. It was a bit “gritty” but I should have place it in breast first. This would have kept it from drying out on the top. I also should have stopped it earlier than I did. So any problems are the error of the kitchen, not the recipe.

    For Thanksgiving, I will stick to my standard bird-in-oven yearly saga but great to have an easier way of getting some fresh turkey salad in the summer time.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Thanks for your feedback Amy! I usually do place mine breast up but I’ve never really had a problem with my turkey drying out in the slow cooker. I would make sure that your lid fits tightly or add tightly sealed tin foil underneath. I do love an oven-roasted turkey too! But sometimes you need something easy, and if you’re not eating the skin, I find this much more moist! 🙂

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