Slow Cooked Thanksgiving

This year, it will be just my husband and me at home on Thanksgiving.  I love tradition, and I have every intention of making it a festive day full of turkey, belching, and football.  However, since we have a more formal Thanksgiving dinner planned for early December, I don’t want to do the entire routine twice.  I only eat with reckless abandon on special occasions.  I could easily turn this into an excuse to pig out twice, and I could easily gain 10 pounds I certainly do not need.  With that in mind, I have alternatives planned.

We call our carving knife Big Pete to pay homage to my father.  He calls his Big Tom.

We call our carving knife Big Pete to pay homage to my father. He calls his Old Tom.

A turkey breast, bone-in, approx 6 pounds.
1 packet onion soup mix


  • Rinse turkey and pat dry.
  • Cut off excess skin, but leave the skin that covers the breast.
  • Rub onion soup mix evenly over outside of turkey and under the skin.
  • Place in slow cooker, breast side down.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
  • Switch slow cooker to low setting and cook for 7 more hours.
Prepped for the pot.

Prepped for the pot.

You may or may not be aware that you can usually buy a whole bone-in turkey breast from your grocer’s meat case, as opposed to an entire turkey with the legs and whatnot.  Our Walmart always has them.  This particular one came from Safeway.

It is important to leave the skin on, as that’s what seals in the herbs, spices, and moisture.  You can remove the skin easily enough at carving time.  If you are into eating the skin, this recipe is not for you.  The skin does not get crispy, nor is it aesthetically pleasing.  I avoid the skin in any case.  To me, it is not worth the extra calories, fat, and cholesterol.  I assume cooking the turkey with the skin on makes for more calories and fat than would otherwise be there had I removed it to begin with, but eating the skin itself is a whole new level of crap.  This is a fair compromise for getting a nice moist turkey out of a slow cooker.  If you are careful when cutting off the excess skin from the ends, you can provide yourself with a couple nice slits through which to cram the soup mix underneath.

I did miss the dark meat, but I can do without that, too.  That is something I will certainly be eating at The Big Meal.  I don’t need it bad enough to cook an entire turkey for two people.  As with regular oven roasted turkey, cooking breast side down allows gravity to pull moisture down into the bulk of the meat.  Do not overcook.  I actually took this out of the slow cooker after about 6.5 hours on low.  I can often remove meat in far less time than a recipe states.  If I go the full 7 or 8, that’s when I end up with something dried out and unworthy.  Having said that, MAKE SURE IT IS DONE.

The man of the house still gets to do the carving. :)

The man of the house still gets to do the carving. :)

Any onion soup mix will do.  This time, I used Walmart’s brand.  If you are concerned about sodium, look for a low sodium mix… or, make your own.  Really, it does not matter what herbs and spices you use.  You will probably want a little bit of salt to help keep the turkey tender, but I don’t think the recipe would be a great loss without it.  Morton Lite salt is a nice compromise, or you can find many salt-free herb & spice mixes on the shelf.  The dried onions add a nice touch, though.  I recommend you include them in whatever you do.

Can't you just smell the aroma from your office chair? (Get back to work!)

Can't you just smell the aroma from your office chair? (Get back to work!)

This is a recipe I make several times throughout the year.  Turkey is hardly the worst thing one can eat, so I didn’t mind making it the other night so that I could share it with you and also to make sure it would provide everything to make our Thanksgiving traditional and festive.  Indeed, I had wonderful aromas, a nice moist turkey breast, and plenty of leftovers for sandwiches.  This recipe makes about 6 to 8 normal-sized servings.

Gravy cheat!

Gravy cheat!

There are drippings left in the crock that could probably be worked into a homemade gravy, but the point here is to keep things simple.  I used a packaged gravy I found at Wegmans.

I served it with some roasted acorn squash drizzled with pumpkin seed oil.  (That was luscious and a recipe for posting another day!)

As usual, I have this recipe in my SparkRecipes recipe box.  However, the nutritional analysis is likely a bit off kilter.  I calculated for 6 pounds of turkey breast meat.  In the end, the total amount of meat would be a bit less since the bone is factored into the weight of the turkey on the label.  Also, I put the soup mix in as a custom ingredient.  Sugar, fiber, protein, etc. are all listed as less than 1 on the label, but I always round that up to 1.  Better safe than sorry, though I’m sure there are far less carbs and sugar per serving that the nutritionals indicate.  For the purposes of tracking, you are better off to weigh your own personal serving and enter that into your tracker.  One thing is certain, turkey has tons of protein!


  1. That looks incredible. I need some crock pot turkey! Thanks, Vicky.

  2. Thanks. :) Not sure I’d make this at a substantial festivity…. doesn’t look as nice, can’t do the whole stuffing & gravy bit quite right… but it is sure an easy way to get a festive mini-Turkey feel on an otherwise average night. :)

  3. Linda Skow says:

    Is this a whole breast ( both sides) or a half breast? I want to make sure of the cooking times. I have done the turkey breast in the past, but I was thinking it was about 10-11 lbs. It looked like a turkey without legs. Yours looks like a half breast in the pictures. Looks awesome, by the way. Makes me want to crawl thru the computer screen with a fork! lol Love the blog. Excuse the typing, I think I have corrected all the typos. My eyes were dilated today and I’m still half blind.

  4. It’s a whole breast… a turkey without legs is exactly right. I probably only ever captured one side of it with the camera trying to be artsy. :) i do pick 6 pounds or less. No way I could fit anything bigger in my crock if I wanted to. I’ll see if I have a pic of the whole thing and throw it up on FB.

  5. Well, ya had me second guessing myself but DH confirms it was the whole shebang. I do remember us having a laugh over the DA. :) We’re real mature. 😛 Here’s a couple pics. They don’t reveal much, but M assures me the meat was just mashed up to one side since it was laying on its other side. Was skin on both sides, too with just the neck hole. Guess there would be another gaping hole if it had been cut in half. It could have been a fresh *young* turkey, now that I think about it, which might explain that. :) I’ll have a look in the case when I’m back in Safeway tomorrow. I wouldn’t intentionally pick a half.

  6. Looks like WAY YUM! We are doing Thanksgiving at or house we’d love to have ya’ll! I’ll send you a evite I just did a day or so ago!

  7. Groovy. Not only are holidays at your house fun… that’d give me an excuse to cook something I wouldn’t want tempting me over here all weekend. :) Can leave it there and make everyone else fat instead. 😀

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