Thanksgiving Turkey in the Slow Cooker?

Updated on November 08, 2013
L.K. asks from Lafayette, CA
17 answers

Has anyone ever done a thanksgiving turkey in the crockpot/slow cooker? If so, how did it turn out? What size slow cooker did you use?

Thanks for any advice.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I have cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot, but it is not presentable and it is more of pulled meat as opposed to sliced.

You can brown the outer sides of the bird on the stove top before putting it in the crock pot.

My worry is that the juices of the bird will overflow.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

YES! I did a breast in my crock pot last year. It was perfect...a whole bird would never fit but it was just the 4 of us so we didn't need a big bird. You can find many "recipes" online. It won't be the same kind of browned on the outside, but it won't be gross and pale either. You can put it under the broiler for a few minutes when it is done if you want to really brown up the outside.

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answers from Detroit on

My parents use a portable roasting pan. It did get done quicker than in the regular oven. They all liked it. I have no idea. I hate turkey. I despise the smell of it cooking. That is why they got the roasting pan to cook it either outside on the back porch or in the basement. Aren't they great?!?! LOL

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I can't imagine that there is a slow cooker that can fit even a small turkey. I do a whole chicken in my large crock pot and even that is a tight fit. You might be able to fit a turkey breast in a crock pot. Do you not have an oven available? I can't imagine that a crock pot would produce a yummy, attractive turkey worthy of gracing a holiday table. When I do the chicken, it's a sloppy mess but I'm usually cooking something that gets shredded or served in a sauce so it's not supposed to be pretty.

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answers from Chicago on

A turkey takes up my whole oven. I can't imagine a slow cooker big enough. But most importantly, the turkey won't look *yummy*.

Why do you want to do this?

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answers from Washington DC on

how big is your crockpot????
mine's pretty big and wouldn't comfortably fit a good-sized chicken.
but nonetheless, if you do a whole turkey in there you'll end up with shredding turkey-soup-ish bits, and flabby pale skin.
save the crockpot for your leftovers.

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answers from Dallas on

No, but it wouldn't brown. It might be liked a plucked bird just stewing there...

I did see a recipe for braising a Turkey on The Chew. It looked yummy.

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answers from Wausau on

It depends on what you mean by turn out. If your goal is make shredded meat for sandwiches or other dishes then it will turn out fine. You will need a 7 qt crock pot for a 9 lb turkey.

If you want "carve the turkey" results, then no. If you don't have or don't want to use an oven, you might want to look at a Nesco Roaster or a large rotisserie.

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answers from Portland on

The crock pot uses moist heat and the oven uses dry heat. The result with each is entirely different. Done in a slow cooker the skin will be pale and soft. The meat will be moist but the turkey will not be firm enough to carve.

If you don't hsve an oven I suggest you buy a roaster I've seen them on sale for $19.99 recently tho mostly they are more expensive. I think I saw it in Kohl's, Target, and Macy's ads. Not sure about the stores.

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answers from New York on

If you like a traditional Thanksgiving turkey, don't do it! Just not the same.

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answers from Chicago on

No to full size turkey..... YES to bone in turkey breast!!!!!! OMG yum! I have been making this for about 8 years. No one eats turkey legs in the family so it works out fine.

I have a 7 or 8 quart slow cooker. Got it from Aldi few years ago.

I can put an 8 lbs turkey breast in the slow cooker for holidays to free up oven for ham or others, or smaller breast in a 6quart one. It does not get as brown as the oven but it is so good family doesn't even care.

Here is the recipe I use:
This is for three pounder so I double it.
1/8 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup fresh sage
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
11/2 tbs. cornstarch

Mix butter, sage, garlic, tarragon,pepper and salt to make a compound and rub all over turkey. Place in slow cooker and cook 8-10 hours low/ 4-5 hours on high. When done remove turkey, while still on high whisk in cornstarch to make gravy. We don't usually use gravy, because turkey is so good alone!

Last Thanksgiving I did a 7lbs. and it took about 6 hours. You can prepare it the night before and just place stoneware with turkey in cooker in am. It won't crack because it is a gradual warm up.

My family was just asking when I would be making this! LOL

Good luck!
Edit: you will carve the turkey made this way. You could shredd it probably too, but this recipe is for carved turkey

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I have 7 crock pots and do my entire Thanksgiving meal in them. However, I have a very large 'roaster' that you plug in that I put the turkey in. I know you can do turkey breast in the crock, not sure about the whole thing and it would have to be a smaller turkey to fit anyway. Good luck.

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answers from Houston on

If it's for guests, don't. If it's just you, hubby and kids, it's fine.

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answers from Columbus on

I can't fit a whole turkey in mine, but a 3 to 4 lb. turkey breast with or without the bone (I think bone in is better and better tasting) fits nicely.

I put carrots and onions on the bottom, and do a rub all over on the turkey with a combo of olive oil and herbs (usually poultry seasoning and a little garlic). Cook on low, about 8 hours.

If you want to have it brown, take it out and pop it in a pan and brown it in the oven for a little bit.

I strain the veggies after removing the breast and make gravy with it (after removing some or most of the fat).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I've done a brest in the slow cooker. Google "turkey breast of wonder" OMG it soooo good!

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answers from Louisville on

No - not a whole turkey, but you could probably do a breast - just don't expect it to look like it came out of the oven!

Mom had done her turkeys in the microwave for years once she found the way to do that! They make roasting bags just for that purpose! We never put the whole bird on the table - it was always already sliced on a platter due to space! So that is another option for you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

To me, the thing that makes turkey good, is the nice crispy skin all browned.
A crock-pot cooked turkey, will not have that.

I wouldn't try it.

1 mom found this helpful
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