According to the University of Illinois Extension, turkey consumption has increased 104 percent since 1970 and is the No. 4 protein choice among Americans. This increase in popularity may be linked to its nutrition. Turkey — especially the white breast meat — is high in protein and low in fat.
While turkey breasts are typically roasted, a slow cooker is an easy, hands-off way to get moist, flavorful meat without tying up the oven. You can prepare a Butterball 3-pound boneless turkey breast or the company's 3- to 9-pound bone-in turkey breast in the slow cooker, as explained at Butterball.com.
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Step 1: Pat It Dry
Remove the turkey breast from its outer packaging, leaving the string netting that covers a boneless breast in place. Use paper towels to pat the meat dry.
Step 2: Season the Turkey
Spray the entire outside of the turkey breast with nonstick cooking spray or brush it lightly with olive oil. Season all sides of the meat with salt, pepper and your choice of herbs and spices.
Step 3: Prep in Slow Cooker
Place the turkey breast in the slow cooker, skin-side up. Pour in water, broth, wine or a combination — 1/2 cup of liquid for a 3-pound turkey breast.
Step 4: Cook the Turkey
Place the lid on the slow cooker and make sure it's secure. Turn the cooker to the low setting and allow the turkey breast to cook for four hours.
Step 5: Check the Temperature
Insert a meat thermometer to check the turkey's progress. By this point, the internal temperature of the center and both ends of the turkey breast should reach about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 6: Continue to Cook
Replace the slow cooker's lid. Cook the turkey breast for one to two more hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the University of Illinois Extension.
Step 7: Rest and Serve
Remove the turkey breast from the cooker, and place it on a cutting board. Allow it to rest, tented lightly with foil, for about 15 minutes. Cut away the string netting; then slice and serve the turkey.
Consume and Store Turkey Safely
Do not attempt to slow-cook a turkey breast that is still frozen or has not been completely thawed. Butterball cautions that a turkey breast that has not reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit after four hours of cooking is not safe to eat.
You can strain and thicken the liquid from the slow cooker and use it to make gravy for the turkey breast. Use slow-cooked turkey breast — sliced, cubed or chopped — as a quick addition to salads, casseroles, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Discard any turkey that has sat at room temperature for more than two hours. Leftover cooked turkey breast can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Things You'll Need
Bone-in or boneless turkey breast, thawed
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil
Seasoning such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices
Cooking liquid such as broth or wine