A very hands-off and healthy alternative to store-bought deli turkey, these slow cooker turkey breasts come out beautiful every time!
I make turkey breasts every other week or so to use for lunches, instead of buying the processed stuff. It started when I was pregnant with M. You're not supposed to eat deli turkey when you're pregnant and as a health and nutrition editor, I also knew about the concern over nitrates and nitrites. (More recently, the World Health Organization has said that red and processed meats are a carcinogen -- they contribute to an increased risk of cancer.)
I was on a serious turkey sandwich kick at the time and didn't want to give it up. So I found a way to make healthy turkey, deli-style, at home. And it couldn’t be easier!
I use frozen boneless turkey breasts, stick them in the slow cooker, sprinkle the tops with a delicious homemade seasoning mix and voila, beautifully moist and flavorful turkey. No basting. No oven going for hours at a time. No fuss. You don’t even need liquid; they cook up just fine in a dry slow cooker.
I always double up and do two turkey breasts. I figure, while I’m at it… and I like cooking them while still partially frozen. They hold up better so that you can slice them thin or thick, however you prefer. If your turkey breasts are completely thawed, they will still work, too - it just falls about more once cooked. You end up with strips of turkey more than slices. Still completely delicious.
(Also, see above? It looks like I've got 4 turkey breasts. Nope, just 2 that each fell apart in the middle when I unpacked them. That usually happens. Sometimes they stay together whole but more often, they split in two. No worries, they cook up perfectly and make large beautiful slices for your sandwich needs.)
By the way, this method is so easy and so fool-proof, I've perfected making our Thanksgiving turkey the same way with this bone-in slow cooker turkey breast. Stress-free cooking is so my style for the holidays!
OK, back to the deli turkey at hand. Once these have cooked and cooled, I pack up some of the turkey for the fridge to use for sandwiches for the week. Or wraps. Or salads. Sometimes even paninis or quesadillas or soups. It's so nice having protein ready to go.
And the rest of the turkey I put into freezer bags, label, and pop in the freezer so that we're stocked for a few weeks at a time.
Simple. Healthy. Delicious.
Go on, get your turkey on. Enjoy!
(And if you want to see me talk about and prep this recipe, check out my Facebook Live video!)
Slow cooker turkey breasts
Easy, hands-off, healthy homemade deli turkey - ditch the processed stuff!
- 2 frozen boneless turkey breasts (about 3 pounds each), slightly defrosted
- 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons preferred seasoning mix (homemade or store bought)
- Prepare the turkey breasts. Remove from all packaging (discarding the gravy mix) and use a knife to remove the layer of skin and fat. Place turkey breasts into slow cooker.
- Sprinkle seasoning all over the tops of the turkey breasts in the slow cooker.
- Cover with the lid and turn the slow cooker on. Cook on high for 4 to 4 ½ hours.
- Remove the cooked turkey and let cool before slicing and storing.
I buy frozen Butterball turkey breasts. I place the frozen turkey breasts in the fridge for 1 ½ to 2 days before cooking them. They are usually still a tad bit frozen and cook up perfectly and hold together for slicing.
I use a homemade Cajun seasoning mix (Emeril's recipe) but you can use any seasoning you like: southwestern, Italian, a simple mix of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sky is the limit - change it up and never be bored!
[email protected]'s Cravings
this is a fabulous idea and would be great to have meat on hand for the week!!
Yes! We definitely use it for more than just sandwiches - always nice to have something prepped and ready to go! Thanks for stopping by, Kim!
Liz - Meal Makeover Mom
So clever. I love this technique! pinning now 🙂
Thanks Liz! It's so super easy and you just can't beat homemade 😉
What a great idea! I definitely need to do this. My husband goes through a lot of lunch meat and I'd rather cut back on the processed stuff!
Carlee, you gotta try it! It's so super easy and the flavor is awesome. Plus, none of the weird preservatives and junk. You'll both be hooked 🙂
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Oh my gawsh, I make my own deli turkey too, but I am clearly doing it the HARD way because I use the oven! I have never seen or thought of doing it in the slow cooker, Kathryn!!! This is beyond awesome, and seriously genius! I can't wait to try this! Like, I am totally doing this over the weekend! YAY! Pinned! Cheers, my dear - to a fabulous weekend! XO
I knew you'd be with me on the homemade deli turkey, Cheyanne! Nothing wrong with oven roasting but this is a great hands-off alternative 😉 Have a great weekend and feel better! XO
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
Turkey is my fave!!! And this one looks great! I've never slow cooked a turkey before... must do that! Thanks for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party xx
We love turkey around here, too, and this makes it so easy to have our own homemade turkey on hand all the time. Hope you give it a try - you'll never go back! Happy weekend! XO
How long is this good for (in the fridge of course) after cooking?
Hi Marina! It keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge. Maybe a full week - we usually go through it faster than that though! And if you have extra, you can always freeze it for another week.