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.
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 😉
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Chicken Rice Soup — swap the chicken for turkey!
- One Pot Turkey Tetrazzini Soup Recipe
- One Pot Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- Creamy Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Crockpot Turkey with Garlic Butter
- 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.