Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy

Thanksgiving during a pandemic
6 hours 10 minutes Total Time
55 minutes to prep
5 hours to cook
15 minutes to cool
8 servings

If you will be having a smaller socially-distanced Thanksgiving with fewer mouths to feed, this recipe is a great option. If, however, your family fights over the turkey legs and loves crispy skin this is not the recipe for you. For white meat lovers, this is a good option. There is some upfront work to make the gravy before the turkey, but that makes it easier when you are pulling the meal together at the end. This makes a very moist and delicious turkey. 

I have adapted the recipe slightly from a great Cook's Country recipe. 

Adapted From: Cook's Country

It is best to use a turkey breast that is 6-7 pounds. I could only get an 8 pound turkey while I was making this recipe and taking the pictures. It barely fits in the slow-cooker and is not ideal. I needed to turn it in the middle of cooking. 

Timing this will depend on your slow-cooker. You will want to keep an eye on the temperature as you go, but try not to open the slow-cooker too often because heat will escape and slow the cooking down. 

Taking the skin off the turkey is gross to me, but it is worth the effort to do it carefully. It will provide flavor for the gravy. To render the fat, I find it works best if you start with a lower heat in the beginning. After a few minutes, you can increase the heat to get the skin browned. 

You can skip the vermouth, or use white wine instead. I tend to use vermouth because an open bottle lasts longer than wine. 



Ingredients with an * are listed more than once.


  • Gather and prep ingredients.
    Step 0
  • With a small paring knife or kitchen shears, remove the skin from the breast. You can pull the skin away from the meat, and get in underneath it with the knife or scissors. Cut the skin into 4 or 5 pieces.
    Step 1
  • Cook the skin pieces in a 12" pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes to start to render the fat. After the fat starts to render out of the skin, increase the heat to medium or medium-high. Cook until the skin is browned. That will take another 5 minutes or more.
    Step 2
  • Place the skin in the bottom of the slow-cooker. Pour off the fat from the pan into a small bowl. Return 2 tablespoons of the turkey fat to the pan.
    Step 3
  • Add the butter, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to the turkey fat in the pan. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape up any turkey skin bits attached to the pan as you go.
    Step 4
  • Add the flour and stir constantly. Cook for a minute or two.
    Step 5
  • Slowly pour in the broth and vermouth while whisking. Pouring slower will help avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour into slow cooker on top of the turkey skin.
    Step 6
  • Add the bay leaves and 2 thyme sprigs to the gravy.
    Step 7
  • Generously season the turkey breast with salt and pepper. Place in the slow-cooker on top of the gravy. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low. Cook until turkey reaches 160°.
    Step 8
  • When the turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
    Step 9
  • Meanwhile, strain the gravy to remove the skin, vegetables, and herbs.
    Step 10
  • Stir in the minced thyme. Season with salt and pepper. If you do not think the gravy is thick enough you can simmer it on the stove while the turkey is resting. Otherwise, you can let the gravy rest and skim off extra fat.
    Step 11
  • Cut and serve.
    Step 12

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