This Thanksgiving I am going to have a smaller crowd at my table. In fact, I will only have 7 people for dinner, when I am accustomed to cooking for 12 or more. Now you may think that cooking for 7 is easier than cooking for 12, but I don't. When you have lots of guests, they can help entertain each other when you have to slip off to cook. But when you only have a couple of guests, you have to work a little harder to balance your roles as both hostess and cook.
To make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier, I have decided to make our turkey in the slow cooker. I have made a small turkey in the slow cooker before, but because our guests avoid high-fat foods, I have decided to cook a large turkey breast instead. I was pretty sure the process would be the same, but I wanted to make sure. So in order to reduce stress on Thanksgiving even more, I did a practice run this weekend.
SaveMart grocery store was having a buy one get one sale on turkeys, so I picked up two. One to experiment with before the holiday feast and one to serve on Thanksgiving.
How Much Turkey Per Person?
When I pick a turkey, I plan for one pound per person. I realize that most people will not eat that much, but some of the weight of the turkey is bones. Plus it is nice to have leftover turkey. An 8-pound turkey will provide enough for dinner for us with some leftover turkey for the next day.
How long does it take to thaw a turkey?
I put one turkey breast in the fridge to begin thawing immediately and one in the freezer for later. You want to plan 1 day of thawing in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of turkey.
How to Cook Turkey in a Slow Cooker
The turkey took 6 hours on high in my slow cooker. Slow cookers vary so I recommend that you start checking the internal temperature at about 5 hours. Once it has reached 170 degrees in the breast (and 180 degrees in the thigh if you are cooking a whole turkey) you are ready to pull it out and serve it. Now the great thing about a slow cooker is that if your turkey is ready before the other dishes, you can just turn it to warm and not have to worry about it drying out or getting cold.
I do not cook my stuffing inside the turkey because that slows down the time it takes to cook the turkey. Instead, I just put a few pieces of onion and celery inside the cavity to add flavor. If the turkey is in the slow cooker, I have plenty of room in the oven to cook the dressing in a casserole dish.
How to Make Turkey Gravy
The gravy from the slow cooker turkey is the most flavorful turkey gravy I have ever had. Take the time to make your gravy from scratch! It takes less than 5 minutes and it is worth it. Below is a basic recipe for turkey gravy, you can double or triple it when serving a larger crowd.
- 1 cups of turkey drippings
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- To make turkey gravy, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for each cup of turkey drippings in a small pan.
- Use a whisk to blend while cooking over a medium-high flame until it boils.
- Lower the flame and simmer for 1 – 2 minutes until it thickens.
Printable Slow Cooker Turkey Recipe
- 7 - 9 lb turkey or turkey breast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 medium onion
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ cup vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
- Pour the broth in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Cut the onion and celery into large chunks. Place a few pieces of onion and celery in the cavity of the turkey.
- Brush the turkey with olive oil. Sprinkle the turkey with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.
- Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Place the remaining onion and celery pieces around the turkey.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 5 - 6 hours or until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
Are you cooking a large turkey this year or will you be making a smaller turkey?
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Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
This slow cooker turkey recipe was originally created as part of a sponsored post for Save Mart.