The Ultimate Guide to Slow Cooking a Juicy Turkey Breast in the Oven

Are you looking to cook a delicious turkey breast without the hassle of roasting a whole bird? Slow cooking a turkey breast in the oven is the perfect solution for smaller gatherings or if you simply prefer the convenience of a smaller cut of meat. This method produces a tender, juicy, and flavorful result every time, making it a foolproof way to enjoy turkey without the fuss.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the art of slow cooking a turkey breast in the oven, covering everything from choosing the right cut to seasoning, cooking times, and serving suggestions. Get ready to impress your family and friends with a succulent, mouthwatering turkey dish that’s sure to become a holiday favorite.

Why Slow Cook a Turkey Breast?

Slow cooking is a game-changer when it comes to preparing turkey breast. Unlike traditional roasting methods, which can sometimes result in dry or unevenly cooked meat, slow cooking allows the turkey to cook gradually and evenly, ensuring a juicy and tender outcome. Here are a few reasons why you should consider slow cooking your turkey breast:

  • Flavor Infusion: The low and slow cooking process allows the turkey to absorb the flavors of your chosen seasonings and aromatics, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
  • Moisture Retention: Slow cooking prevents the turkey from drying out, ensuring a juicy and moist result.
  • Convenience: With slow cooking, you can prepare your turkey breast in advance and let it cook while you attend to other tasks or enjoy your day.
  • Versatility: Slow-cooked turkey breast can be used in a variety of dishes, from sandwiches and salads to soups and casseroles, making it a versatile ingredient.

Choosing the Right Turkey Breast

Before you start the slow cooking process, it’s essential to choose the right turkey breast. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice:

  • Bone-in vs. Boneless: Both bone-in and boneless turkey breasts can be slow-cooked, but bone-in breasts tend to retain more moisture and flavor. However, boneless breasts are easier to slice and serve.
  • Size: Consider the number of people you’re serving and choose a turkey breast size accordingly. A general guideline is to allow for about 1 pound of turkey breast per person.
  • Fresh vs. Frozen: Either fresh or frozen turkey breasts can be used for slow cooking. If using frozen, make sure to thaw it completely before cooking.

Seasoning and Flavoring

One of the great things about slow cooking a turkey breast is the opportunity to infuse it with a variety of flavors. Here are some seasoning and flavoring options to consider:

Dry Rubs and Spice Mixes

  • Cajun Seasoning: A blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and other spices for a spicy and flavorful kick.
  • Herbed Seasoning: A combination of fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley, along with garlic and lemon zest.
  • BBQ Spice Rub: A mix of brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and other spices for a smoky, sweet, and savory flavor.

Wet Marinades and Brines

  • Buttermilk Marinade: Buttermilk, garlic, herbs, and spices for a tangy and flavorful marinade.
  • Citrus Brine: A mixture of water, salt, sugar, and citrus juices (like orange or lemon) for a bright and zesty flavor.
  • Herb Butter: Softened butter mixed with fresh herbs, garlic, and spices, spread under the skin for a rich and flavorful result.


  • Onions, Garlic, and Fresh Herbs: Add sliced onions, whole garlic cloves, and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage to the slow cooker or roasting pan for extra flavor.
  • Citrus Fruits: Add sliced lemons, oranges, or limes to the cooking liquid for a bright and refreshing note.
  • Wine or Broth: Use white wine, chicken or turkey broth, or even apple cider as the cooking liquid for added depth of flavor.

Slow Cooking Methods

There are two main methods for slow cooking a turkey breast in the oven: using a slow cooker or roasting in the oven at a low temperature. Both methods produce delicious results, but the cooking times and techniques may vary slightly.

Slow Cooker Method

  1. Prepare the Turkey Breast: Season the turkey breast with your desired rub, marinade, or brine. You can also add aromatics like sliced onions, garlic, and fresh herbs to the slow cooker.
  2. Add Cooking Liquid: Pour in enough cooking liquid (broth, wine, or water) to cover the bottom of the slow cooker, about 1/2 to 1 cup.
  3. Cook on Low: Place the turkey breast in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  4. Let it Rest: Once fully cooked, remove the turkey breast from the slow cooker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Oven Roasting Method

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to a low temperature, typically between 250°F (121°C) and 325°F (163°C).
  2. Prepare the Turkey Breast: Season the turkey breast with your desired rub, marinade, or brine. Place it in a roasting pan or baking dish.
  3. Add Cooking Liquid: Pour in enough cooking liquid (broth, wine, or water) to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 to 1 cup.
  4. Cover and Cook: Cover the pan tightly with foil or a lid and place it in the preheated oven. Cook for approximately 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  5. Let it Rest: Once fully cooked, remove the turkey breast from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cooking Times and Temperatures

The cooking time and temperature for slow cooking a turkey breast can vary depending on the size of the breast, the cooking method, and your desired level of doneness. Here are some general guidelines:

Turkey Breast Size Slow Cooker (Low Setting) Oven Roasting (250°F-325°F)
2-3 lbs 6-8 hours 2-3 hours
4-6 lbs 8-10 hours 3-4 hours
7-9 lbs 10-12 hours 4-5 hours

Remember, the internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) for food safety. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accurate doneness.

Serving Suggestions

Slow-cooked turkey breast is incredibly versatile and can be served in a variety of ways. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire you:

  • Traditional Turkey Dinner: Serve the turkey breast with classic sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables for a festive meal.
  • Turkey Sandwiches: Slice the turkey breast and use it for delicious sandwiches, paninis, or wraps.
  • Turkey Salads: Shredded or diced turkey breast makes a fantastic addition to salads, like a Cobb salad or a turkey Caesar salad.
  • Turkey Soups and Stews: Use the leftover turkey breast to make hearty soups or stews, like turkey noodle soup or turkey and vegetable stew.
  • Turkey Pot Pie: Transform your leftovers into a comforting turkey pot pie with a flaky crust.

Expert Tips and Tricks

To ensure your slow-cooked turkey breast turns out perfectly every time, keep these expert tips and tricks in mind:

  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to accurately monitor the internal temperature of the turkey breast. This will prevent overcooking and ensure food safety.
  • Baste or Flip: If slow cooking in the oven, baste the turkey breast with the cooking liquid every hour or flip it over halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking and moisture distribution.
  • Let it Rest: Allowing the turkey breast to rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking will help redistribute the juices, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful meat.
  • Tent with Foil: If the turkey breast is browning too quickly, tent it with foil to prevent over-browning while allowing it to continue cooking through.
  • Save the Cooking Liquid: The cooking liquid from the slow cooker or roasting pan can be used to make a delicious gravy or sauce to serve with the turkey breast.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have all the tools and knowledge you need to slow cook a juicy and flavorful turkey breast in the oven. Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or simply craving the comforting flavors of turkey, this method is sure to become a go-to in your kitchen. Happy slow cooking!

Simple Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

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