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Easy Crock Pot Thanksgiving Whole Turkey Recipe

I know what you’re thinking, a Crock Pot Thanksgiving whole turkey recipe? You read that right!

Whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or you’re having a small gathering of family and friends, you can make an entire turkey in your Crock Pot

Slow Cooked Turkey Perfection

turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce on a Christmas plate.

It slow cooks to perfection all on its own, so there’s no basting and no wasting time. Or heating up the house for hours on end while roasting your bird.

The slow cooker recipe is the effortless way to get that turkey meat to come out juicy and wonderful every time, and you won’t have to watch it like a hawk, either.

Turkey on a Christmas plate.

Making Thanksgiving Turkey Just Got Easier!

When I found out you could make a full turkey in the Crock Pot, it was life-changing.

Turkey dinner has always been a delight to eat. It’s wonderful for bringing the family together around the table and making it feel more special.

But roasting a turkey in the oven requires attention. I set alerts in my phone so I don’t forget to baste it. And I set the kitchen timer too.

Now, though, I don’t have to do that, and I still get tender turkey breast and juicy meat just by putting the whole thing in my slow cooker.

It is one of the absolute easiest ways to make a turkey. Honestly, if you’ve roasted a whole turkey before and were disappointed that it came out dry, you need to try this method for cooking it.

You’ll never go back to the oven-roasted way again!

Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce on a plate.

Ingredients For The Easy Crock Pot Turkey Recipe

  • Butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Dried thyme
  • Minced onion
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried rosemary
  • Chicken Broth
  • 8-12 pound whole turkey

Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.

Size Of The Turkey

For this recipe, my turkey was between 10-12 pounds, and I used a six-quart slow cooker. If you have a larger one, you can easily fit the bird in the cooker.

This recipe fed about four people, including two growing teenagers.

How to Make My Slow Cooker Turkey Recipe

Obviously, you will need to choose a turkey that will fit your size of slow cooker. A 10 to 12-pound turkey works with the large Crock Pots and is the perfect size to feed a small family.

You’ll be mixing up the butter and seasonings and slathering it under the turkey breast skin and on top of the skin.

For this recipe, I used a turkey that was between 10 to 12 pounds. It was a little big for my Crock Pot, so I covered it with aluminum foil and placed a cookie sheet underneath to catch any liquid that might drip over.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Butter in a mixing bowl.

Start by adding the butter to a mixing bowl.

You’re going to need lots of butter, just like you would for roasting it the traditional way in the oven.

Butter, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Toss in the salt and pepper.

Butter, minced onion, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Add the minced onion to the bowl.

I like to keep minced onion on hand in the pantry because you never know when you need some onion flavor.

Minced garlic with butter and other seasonings in a bowl.

Add the minced garlic next.

Butter and seasonings in a clear glass mixing bowl.

Next, add the thyme, parsley, and rosemary to the bowl and mix all of the ingredients.

Butter slathered all over the turkey skin and underneath the skin.

Pat the turkey dry with some paper towels, and then slather the butter all over the turkey. Take a spoon and slide it under the skin on the breast to lift it up a little, and slather some butter under the skin, as well.

Pouring chicken broth into a slow cooker. There is a turkey in the slow cooker.

Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the slow cooker.

A Crock Pot on a cookie sheet. The Crock Pot is covered with tin foil.

Because the turkey was a little large, it wouldn’t fit under the lid. So, I used about three pieces of aluminum foil to cover it.

If you need to take this route, make sure it’s on top of a large enough cookie sheet because you might end up with a little bit of condensation dripping out, and you won’t have a mess all over the counter.

Then cook on low for about 8-10 hours. So easy!

Checking the temperature on a turkey inside of a Crock Pot.

Check the temperature when it’s done cooking.

For all turkeys, make sure you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey, which should be 170F in the breast and 180F in the thigh.

I used a digital thermometer to check the temperature.

Cooked turkey in a slow cooker.

Of course, a turkey dinner wouldn’t be the same without that crispy skin. After it cooks in the slow cooker, I like to place it under my broiler to make it nice and brown on top. 

Be sure to remove any plastic or anything that might be holding the legs together before you put it in the oven.

Turkey in a Crock Pot.

Take a spoon and spoon some of the liquid over the turkey, and then place the turkey under the broiler for a few minutes. Be sure to watch it, as it can brown very fast.

You can either pour off some of the liquid to make more of the bird crispy or leave it in the Crock Pot.

If you are making gravy, be sure to save that liquid.

While this recipe is for the whole bird, you can easily do this with bone-in turkey breast or boneless turkey breast too.

The turkey turns out so tender and flavorful.

How To Store The Turkey

Store the turkey in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated.

Turkey on a plate with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.

Also, I made turkey gravy from the drippings.

Incidentally, this recipe really frees you up, so you’ll have plenty of time to make other sides like green bean casserole and sweet potatoes. 

Turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes on a Christmas plate. There's a bowl of cranberry sauce and some turkey off to the side.

More Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Menu

Easy Crock Pot Thanksgiving Whole Turkey Recipe

Now that you know you can make a whole turkey in your Crock Pot, you don’t have to wait around for Thanksgiving or any other holiday to make it.

Give it a try for moist turkey that is never dry. It really is the perfect way to make a whole entire turkey without that heaping side of stress!

Turkey on a Christmas plate.

Easy Crock Pot Thanksgiving Whole Turkey Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes

Got a smaller crowd? Crock Pot turkey is going to make your Thanksgiving preparations a lot easier. The recipe turns out a tender and delicious turkey every time.


  • 8 to 12 pound turkey
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 16 ounces of chicken broth


  1. Spray some nonstick cooking spray inside the Crock Pot and place the turkey inside.
  2. In a small or medium bowl, add the butter, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, and rosemary and mix well.
  3. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel.
  4. Take a spoon and slide it under the skin of the turkey breast and spread some of the butter underneath.
  5. Spread the rest of the butter on top of the turkey skin.
  6. Pour the chicken broth into the Crock Pot.
  7. Place the lid on top and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or until the thermometer reaches 180F in the thigh and 170F in the thickest part of the breast.
  8. Once the turkey is done cooking, carefully pour out some of the liquid (save it if you're making a gravy recipe).
  9. Place it under the broiler in your oven for a few minutes to get the skin crispy. (Make sure your Crock Pot is oven-safe).


This recipe will feed a smaller crowd of four people.

When you place the turkey in the oven, make sure you have it on the lowest rack as the broiler gets hot and will burn it fast if it's too close. Keep an eye on it because it can also burn fast in the broiler.

If the lid doesn't fit on the turkey, you can use aluminum foil and a cookie sheet. I cooked the turkey in a six-quart slow cooker. The turkey was between 10-12 pounds and I couldn't get the lid on. I covered the slow cooker with three sheets of aluminum foil and pressed it against the side of the cooker. I then placed the Crock Pot on a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet will catch any condensation that drips off the edges of the aluminum foil.

For all turkeys, make sure you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey, which should be 170F in the breast and 180F in the thigh.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2788Total Fat: 124gSaturated Fat: 44gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 72gCholesterol: 1547mgSodium: 2840mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 390g

Nutrition is approximate.

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