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Slow Cooker Whole Turkey

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Every year, at a company that I worked at for 8 years, we had a Thanksgiving luncheon. Everyone signed up to bring different things. Since there were so many of us, five to six people signed up for the stuffing, different veggies, the pie, and so on. We even had many turkeys! My former boss, BJ, always cooked his turkey in the slow cooker. He said his mom cooked it that way when he was growing up. The turkey always turned out moist.

I emailed him the other day because this year, we decided to cook our Thanksgiving dinner early- we enjoyed it on Sunday night and I wanted to try my hand at cooking the turkey in the slow cooker. He told me you can leave it in longer than the 6 to 8 hours but it starts to fall apart, which is totally fine! Just make sure the turkey you buy will fit in your slow cooker!

If you’re running low on oven space or just want a low maintenance way to cook a turkey- the slow cooker is the way to go! This turkey version is a modified version of my popular whole chicken in a slow cooker recipe that we LOVE to make all the time!

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Prep the dry ingredients.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.netSlow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Cut up the vegetables and add them to the crockpot.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Pat the turkey dry.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Fold back the wings and rub the turkey with garlic.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Add the rub to the inside of the turkey and all over it.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

All ready to go into the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

I put one of the garlic cloves and the rest of the dry ingredients I didn’t use on top of the veggies.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Place the turkey on top of the vegetables and cover the crockpot. Cook for 6 to 8 hours.

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Remove the turkey and place on an oven-safe baking dish. Broil the skin in your oven broiler for 4 to 5 minutes, watching it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Skim the fat from the broth and save it for another recipe! I’m thinking turkey ramen noodle soup are in order for this week!

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

Once you carve the turkey, add some broth to the turkey to keep the meat moist.

We loved this and it made it less stressful in the kitchen since I was able to do all of my sides in the oven without them having to compete with the turkey. We’ll definitely do this again!

Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and hoping that you have a lot to be thankful for! I know I do! Huge hugs!

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Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Whole Turkey in a Slow Cooker Recipe

Ingredients:

Rub Ingredients for the Turkey
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Crockpot
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed, no need to peel, chopped in halves or thirds
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in thirds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 whole lemon, quartered
  • 8 to 9-pound turkey

Directions:

  1. Combine salt, paprika, onion powder, dried thyme, white pepper, garlic powder and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the vegetables and place inside the slow cooker (I use a 7-quart oval one like this one or this one).
  2. Remove turkey from packaging and remove neck and pouch with organs. Discard or save for use in another recipe. Optionally, rinse turkey with water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Fold back the wings. Rub smashed garlic all over outside of the turkey. Put one garlic in the slow cooker and the rest inside the turkey. Put the rub all over the outside and inside the turkey. Add the quartered lemon to the inside of the turkey. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
  4. Place turkey on top of the vegetables, you may need to move the veggies around depending on the size of your slow cooker. Cover slow cooker and cook turkey on low for 6-8 hours. (I used a 9.82-pound turkey, it took about 6 1/2 hours. The time will depend on the size of the turkey and your slow cooker.)
  5. Remove turkey and place in a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes but watch it carefully. It may take less time or a little longer, depending on the temperature of the broiler in your oven, you don’t want to burn your turkey.
  6. Allow turkey to rest after removing it from the broiler for 25 to 30 minutes.

Notes: I know you’re going to ask and no, you don’t need any water in the crockpot! The turkey creates a broth while cooking!

from The Little Kitchen

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Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

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36 comments

  1. What a great idea Julie, I honestly never thought to cook a turkey in a slow cooker! This would be great all year round! It’s hard to fit all of Thanksgiving in the oven isn’t it??

  2. I can’t believe you cooked a turkey in a slow cooker! My mind is officially blown and I’m ditching the oven from now on. ????

  3. I love the thought of de-stressing the Thanksgiving meal with a slow cooker turkey!

  4. This looks so good, and I’m sure it makes the house smell amazing too! Perfect for the holidays!

  5. If I HAD a slow cooker, you can bet I’d give this a try. 🙂

  6. I love that you get the crisp with the juicy on account of the oven finish, but without the turkey taking up all the oven space.

  7. This is genius, Julie! I’ve seen your slow cooker chicken, too. I can’t wait to try soon.

  8. Had a turkey and a slow cooker. Yours was the first recipe I found. Nice SEO work. After collecting all the ingredients I followed your instructions…..with some minor adjustments. Ten and a half pound turkey and 6.5 quart cooker. Had to put the veggies inside the bird. After 7 hours at 250F and a little broiling time, it was ready. Best turkey I’ve ever made. Fall off the bone done, super moist and the whole house smells like Thanksgiving on steroids. Much appreciation. I’ll be back for more.

  9. Pingback: The Juiciest Smoked Paprika Turkey | Noble Pig

  10. Our a/c is out and I had already defrosted a Li’l Butterball.  Since I don’t want to heat up the house any more than necessary, I looked for a crockpot recipe and found yours.  It’s cooking in my crockpot as I write this and can’t wait to see how it turns out.  Thanks for getting me out of a real dilemma!

  11. Could you stuff the turkey before putting into slow cooker?

  12. Can you put stuffing inside the bird? I’m not sure if it would cook all the way through.

  13. We brine our turkey for 3 days and slow cook it <3 

  14. Hi Julie!
    I love this take on a very strenuous task! However, I have one question. Do you put any broth or other liquids in the crockpot with the turkey? I’d imagine, otherwise, everything would stick to the bottom?…

  15. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is my first year doing a Thanksgiving dinner mostly by myself (I’m in charge of all things savory and my step-kids’ mother is doing all the sweets) and I’ve never prepared a Turkey. The idea of trying to do one in the oven was so daunting that I decided to ask the internet if I could do it in the slow-cooker instead. Thankfully, you can! Now I can set it in the crockpot first thing in the morning and forget about it! While having plenty of oven space for my dressing and funeral potatoes!

  16. You cooked the turkey on LOW, for 6 1/2 hours, right??? What temperature should the turkey be at in the breast and thigh when it’s done?? I’m going to do this for Thanksgiving so please reply soon!! Thanks!!!

  17. Julie I’m intrigued by the turkey ramen noodle recipe you mentioned making with the leftovers. Can you post that recipe?!

  18. I have a 4 lb. turkey (yes, i found a small one). do i just change the proportions of the rub and the cooking time accordingly?

    • You can totally change measurements of the rub but I would keep the proportions the same. And yes, just shorten the cooking time. Check to make sure the turkey is 165 degrees F. Hope that helps!

  19. Going to try it.

  20. Was your turkey thawed or still frozen when you put it in the slow cooker?

  21. Americans living in Sweden this year… I bought the biggest turkey I could find and it fits in my crockpot with room to spare 🙂 Thank you for this recipe!

  22. can u cook turkey on high instead of Low?

  23. How would you adjust for a 20 pound turkey?

  24. First slow cooker recipe that popped up, most def trying this out….. So far so good should be done by 1p…thanks

  25. Tried it this year. Awesome! My turkey was 10.5 lbs and the lid didn’t quite fit on. I covered the top with aluminum foil and then put the lid on top of the foil. Cooked it for 7 hours, but the 6.5 would have been fine. . I did add some broth just to give me a little more gravy. We were planning to eat at 1:00 PM. Prepared everything the night before and put the crock in the frig. Set my alarm for 4:00 am, took the crock out of the frig, and started the timer. By the time I woke up at 9:00 to prepare the rest of the meal, the turkey was almost done.Pulled it out at 11:00, let it cool down and then carved and deboned the bird. Put everything back in the crock pot and turned it on warm – ready to eat at 1:00.

  26. This turkey sounds so good – I hope I can get 1 to do for Christmas ! Im amazed no liquid needed? That’s amazing ! What if it’s a frozen turkey?

  27. What size slow cooker are you using? I have a 7 quart and I’m not sure if it would be big enough. We had a kitchen fire last year and haven’t been able to afford to get the oven and range fixed. We have been cooking on hot plate, slow cooker, electric skillet and microwave for over a year and I’m dying to have turkey!! I’m hoping this would work. 

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