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Slow Cooker Whole Turkey

Slow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.net

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This crockpot turkey is so easy to put together and what I love most about it is you free up your oven for sides and desserts! You'll love how easy it and tasty is it is to cook a whole turkey in a slow cooker!

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 crockpot whole chicken 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.netSlow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.netSlow Cooker Whole Turkey from thelittlekitchen.netSlow 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 that's oval shaped but this one is an 8-Quart 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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199 comments

  1. This looks delicious and easy. Having a small gathering for Friendsgiving and don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.

  2. Ive never put a turkey in the crock pot,only a whole chicken, Im going to try this, sounds delish!

  3. Never thought of cooking a turkey in a slow cooker.

  4. wow great idea didnt k u could do this more room in oven for all my pies an cookies

  5. It does look good. Turkeys we have are too big. I might try it at Christmas.

  6. i never thought about putting turkey in slow cooker. I like that it frees up the oven to bake the side dishes.

  7. already have this years dinner planned but I’m adding this to my holiday recipes

  8. Love that you include pictures with instructions!  Thank you!

  9. This actually sounds amazing. I ordered our Thanksgiving dinner from our local grocery store this year. I did buy a turkey for the freezer though and will definitely try this when I make it.

  10. I’ve never tried it in the slow cooker. After reading this, I will try it. 

  11. I love trying new turkey ideas. This one looks great!

  12. Love the idea of doing the turkey in the slow cooker, so it’ll free up some much needed oven space!

  13. I would like this as a great convenience. I use crockpots lots.

  14. Thanks for showing how to do this…It doesn’t seem so overwhelming now.

  15. Well it looks good, still unsure if I will try it.

  16. I tried this with a whole chicken once, it was so tender everything just fell apart. It made it really difficult to serve and the kids had to watch out for small bones because it all just literally fell apart. It was delicious though. I may have to try the turkey one next time.

  17. Adore these recipe ideas

  18. Thanks for the great recipe it sounds like a delicious way to cook it

  19. I think one of the problems with slow cooker turkey is that a slow cooker doesn’t let any moisture release so it isn’t like it is roasted but this method may have solved that. Interesting.

  20. I hope my turkey looks this good…drool

  21. Nice and easy recipe for a small turkey. Will have to try.

  22. next time I’ll be doing a turkey in the slow cooker, tomorrow I’m doing whole chicken in the slow cooker.

  23. This year we are deep frying our turkey but I bookmarked the slow cooker idea for next year 🙂

  24. Question!   Could I cover the bird with Tin Foil…my turkey is ever so slightly too big for my crock pot..  🙁  The lid wont go on!   Or I could take the legs off!

    • Hi Susan,

      I’m just seeing your question now! Mine didn’t close all the way today either. I moved the veggies on the bottom to be on the side more and let the lid sit on top…ask it cooks, the lid fits on! Unless it really doesn’t fit on at all…I hope it worked out!!

  25. Turkeys are hard to cook!

  26. makes Turkey day dinner sound so much easier

  27. This is such a great way to make turkey without standing around the oven all day!

  28. Help!!!  It’s the night before thanksgiving and I just realized I forgot to thaw my 14 lb turkey. oh No!!!  Can I use the high setting for the same amount of time or am I out of luck? I can’t believe I did that. I used your recipe last year and it turned out awesome. Very moist and flavorful. Thank for any help. 

    • Hi Robin! I’m so sorry! I just saw this now…I don’t think you can cook it in the slow cooker from frozen. I’m so sorry!! I would thaw it in the fridge and make it this weekend? Hope you have a nice holiday!

  29. This recipe looks delicious!

  30. Doing this today!  How long would you cook it if you stuff the turkey?

  31. Do you put it breast side down in crock pot?

  32. Do you cook it on high or low in the crockpot?!?

  33. This looks awesome! Would have to be a small turkey or a really big slow cooker though. I do have a turkey but it won’t fit in my slow cooker

  34. I never thought about cooking the turkey in the crock pot. I think I need a bigger crock pot though!

  35. I have been looking at ways to cook a moist, succulent turkey, such as cooking over night. However, I have come across warnings that this might not kill off any pathogens.

    Do you think that using a slow cooker would kill off and prevent the growth of any ‘nasties’? I really don’t want either my family or myself to get food poisoning! It would be a huge helpo if I could slow cook the turkey either overnight in the oven or in the slow cooker as in your recipe.

  36. Looks delicious 

  37. Wow! So perfect and moist and delicious! I have been serving the Honey-Baked-Ham-Company smoked turkey for years, which is awesome. Decided to do my own this year and found your savory recipe. This turned out so moist and so flavorful, that I’ve decided this is now our official Thanksgiving Turkey recipe!

    Thank you for sharing this!

  38. Fantastic recipes

  39. Looks delicious! I love turkey. Thank you for the recipe

  40. I would never of thought to cook a turkey in a slow cooker.

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