Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different flavor ideas.
Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey is one of our favorite easy dinner options around here and I am totally honored to have the National Turkey Federation sponsoring this post and all of this amazing turkey deliciousness. If you have been a reader of the blog for any period of time you’ve probably heard me wax poetic about my love for Crispy Slow Cooker Chicken which is the same method as this turkey and makes the best rotisserie style chicken ever.
The Crispy Slow Cooker Chicken recipe also happens to be one of the top 10 recipes on the blog. Over 1000 people a day check out that recipe because if there is one thing I know about dinnertime, easy slow cooker recipes are king. I have a sinking suspicion you all will love this Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey just as much! And it is even more awesome than normal slow cooker meals because the skin is crispy and who doesn’t love crispy skin!?
The National Turkey Federation is a non profit trade association in Washington, D.C. (yay for our old stomping grounds!) that works to strength the turkey farmers’ ability to responsibly provide wholesome products, raise awareness about how turkey can be a healthy, delicious and easy source of protein. Visit their site to learn more about their efforts and to check out any of their over 2000 turkey recipes!
There is a grocery store here near us that has a hot deli section that makes turkey pot roast. I know, I know, the name sounds a bit strange, but what it is really just ½ a turkey, dark meat only that has been cooked rotisserie style. So the meat is crispy and tender. We used to buy it every time we saw it in the store because it was always so popular it would sell out well before the regular rotisserie chickens. Plus, expensive!! It was usually over $10.00 which is quite a lot compared to the $5.00 rotisserie chickens, but it was always the first thing we would grab for.
I’d include some action shots for you all…but there’s no action needed! It is as easy as putting the turkey in the slow cooker and hitting 7 hours on low!
I’m proud to say this method of cooking Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey has completely negated those purchases. We make this Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey at least once a month, sometimes more, and every time we do dinner is full of excitement. I think we are used to turkey being a deli meat or a Thanksgiving dinner option and for us that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is a reason we all eat our body weights in turkey for Thanksgiving each year, turkey is awesome! I think the misconception about turkey is that it takes so much time to make it because we’re used to cooking the entire bird. To be honest? I cook a whole turkey on Thanksgiving because A. the cost is so low for them! and B. I think everyone expects one….but I also make two slow cookers full of turkey legs and thighs because lets be honest… they’re my favorite pieces.
So lets get some different flavors going on with this Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey, remember – NO liquids:
- Salt and pepper: Seriously, we do this version 9 times out of ten. Crispy salted turkey thighs are just heaven.
- Salt, pepper, garlic, with a squeeze of lemon: Add salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of garlic to thighs. When done, add a squeeze of lemon on top.
- Salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic: Classic flavors, 2 tablespoons garlic, 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary.
- Salt, pepper, orange zest, rosemary, sage: zest of one orange, 2 teaspoons minced rosemary and thyme.
- Salt, pepper, celery, carrots and onions: roughly chopped veggies under the turkey, it’ll feel and smell just like thanksgiving.
- Salt, pepper, butter and flour: Now this one is a bit more complex, because you’re going to make it the classic way, then reserve the liquids left behind, remove the fat and add the liquid to a saucepan to thicken with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix the flour and butter in a small bowl with a fork, add to the turkey liquids and thicken for an awesome quick gravy.
- Salt, pepper, garlic and Parmesan rind: 2 tablespoons minced garlic and chopped up Parmesan rind. Don’t waste good cheese for it, just the leftover rind to add flavor.
- Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder: Easy spicy, latin flavors, I serve this with my toasted Mexican Rice.
- Salt, pepper, sage and dried cranberries: I know, I know, dried cranberries? YES! they will plump up to these delicious red little flavor balloon! Add ½ teaspoon dried sage or 1 teaspoon fresh minced sage and a big handful of dried cranberries.
- Salt, pepper, cajun seasonings and garlic: Oh yes, this version is a huge hit in our house, lots of cajun seasoning rubbed on the thighs, 2 tablespoons minced garlic.
Tools Used in the making of these Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken Thighs:
Slow Cooker: Love this slow cooker and how programmable it is, it has been a workhorse for me… until…
My New Slow Cooker: This recipe was made in this slow cooker. For larger roasts I also brown the meat in the insert and not lose a bunch of the flavor by transferring the meat and leaving the browned bits behind. If you’re thinking of a new slow cooker, consider it if your budget is open.
- 4 turkey thighs , skin and bone on
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- Add salt and pepper to taste (I do about ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper).
- ADD NO LIQUIDS AT ALL.
- Put the turkey skin side up and cook on low for 7 hours.
- If you have any issues with the skin crisping, you can brown under a broiler, six inches from the heat, for 1-2 minutes or let it cook with the top slightly opened for the last hour to let any steam escape.
Need more turkey? I don’t blame you one bit! Check out the National Turkey Federation’s site to learn more about the nutritional benefits of turkey and grab one of those 2000 delicious recipes! Also keep up with them on Facebook (for tips, tricks and delicious turkey videos!) and Twitter for all the turkey updates and turkey conversation you can handle. 😉
Can this be made with chicken thighs? And if so, what would be the approximate time for skin-on, bone-in thighs? Thanks
Perhaps you would like to try our Slow Cooker Rotisserie (in flavor, not the actual rotisserie!) Chicken Thighs recipe!
I’ll be giving this recipe a try this year. Here are my questions. I saw one reply where you said to put the veggies under the thighs, then as I scrolled down, I saw another reply where you suggested to cook them separately in the oven, so Im trying to get clarity on that. Also, I normally put a tea towel in between the cooker and the lid (in order to catch the condensation). Is that something you would suggest for this recipe as well?
I would like to know if I could cook these on high for four hours.
Hello! I’m very late to this thread. I just wanted to let you know that this recipe has a regular spot in my “recipe rotation”. It is perfectly delicious! I’ve been using your combination of celery, carrots, onions along with minced garlic(from a jar) and President’s Choice fresh poultry herb blend. When you open the door upon arrival at home or even on a busy day around the house, the aroma is so inviting. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfully easy, convenient and incredibly tasty recipe. It’s brilliant!
I love hearing that so much! Thank you for the support and im so happy you enjoy it!
I love your recipes! Just wondering if a marinated thigh would work with this if I completely pat dry the turkey before putting in the crock pot? I am testing one this afternoon to see how it will come out before Thanksgiving. As it is only my daughter, one friend and myself. I am only doing a couple of thighs and one breast for Thanksgiving. I’m looking for the crispy skin, but also want them super juicy.
Will 2 turkey thighs take the same amount of cook time as 4 thighs?
Might need about 30 min less. Make sure you don’t have a lot of empty space in the slow cooker though otherwise the turkey will dry out. I suggest using a smaller slow cooker if you do. Good luck!
Unbelievably delicious and SO easy! Highly recommend. We seasoned with thyme, salt,
pepper and thyme. Used small slow cooker for two thighs. Ready in 6 hours.
Thanks for the 5 stars, Nettie. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Hoping to receive response b4 T’giving! I love this idea but am concerned that my slow cooker doesn’t have a flat bottom – it’s more bowl shaped so thighs would have to be stacked.
Concerned this won’t allow them to crisp properly & my oven isn’t working. Will this still work for me?
No, if you can’t leave them in a single layer they won’t crisp, it would be soggy. I’d choose a different recipe, I’m so sorry.
Thanks very much for your prompt reply – you saved me a T’giving Day headache!
Would slow cooker braising be my best bet?
I am partial to turkey thighs in the slow cooker, so I would then crisp in an oven when it comes out so you get the best of both worlds. I’d either broil on high from at least 10 inches away or cook for 5-10 minutes at 450 degrees until the top browns. Happy Thanksgiving!
I found this recipe just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving and decided to try it. We are seniors and usually have a houseful of guests on Thanksgiving, but this year, it was just me and my hubby. I love white turkey meat and he favors dark, so I cooked a turkey breast and 2 turkey thighs in my slow cooker. I followed your directions to the letter, using the very basic option # 1 ingredients. It was amazing ! ! The best turkey I’ve ever cooked in my many years, and so easy. I only wish the rest of the family could have been here to share it – i know especially the two strapping teenagers would have loved it…but I’m hoping to make it for them at Christmas. Thank you ! & Stay safe.
I’m so glad you found this recipe, Muriel. Thanks for coming back to let me know how much you enjoyed it.
How long would one thigh take ? Could it also be done on low? As a senior who lives alone I roast a turkey thigh twice a month for myself. Also ‘cause I’m near the Willie Bird store and can them fresh! Because it’s just me, I can only do one at a time, but it’s a lot of work in the oven so I’m delighted to find this less hassle recipe. And a crispy skin too? The one in my frig has been marinating in white wine and soy sauce. Will the marinade affect the cooking time? Thanks so much!
I’d suggest you use this recipe for a smaller amount.
I made these last month, in a “new” crock pot. Timing was much longer than needed. Timing you listed probably would have been perfect in my old crock pot, but this new one is still a learning curve for me, as even the low on it seems to cook really quickly. However, the Thighs Were Fall Off The Bone Tender and Juicy! My significant other couldn’t stop talking (growling I think) about how good they were. I made them by seasoning them with my homemade spice blend. It consists of a finely ground up powder mix I make using dried mushrooms, salt, red pepper flakes, dried thyme and fresh ground black pepper. I followed your recipe, no liquids and resting only on the bottom of the crock pot ~ today I am doing them again, but will be reducing the cook time quite a bit. I will let you know if I find the right length of time. Again, thank you for sharing this Simply Easy and Elegant Way to Cook & Enjoy Turkey Thighs!
Cooking times definitely can vary depending on the slow cooker. Thanks for all of your feedback.
Fall off the bone tender and juicy. I did these with salt, pepper, garlic and a touch of paprika and poultry seasoning. Delicious!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.
You’re welcome, Monica.
The local turkey thighs I purchased (the only bone-in, skin-on thighs I could find) are huge–all around 2.25 lbs. Two of them overlap quite a bit in one large slow cooker, and I have four thighs (I can borrow a second crock pot). How important is it for the thighs to be resting on the bottom of the pot?
If you want the skin to be able to crisp up, it’s important that they don’t overlap. You could always pop them under a broiler quickly at the end if they aren’t as crisp as you’d like. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn in the broiler.
I am confused on the 10 idea? I was thinking about putting the onions carrots and celery underneath but I’m unsure how you did this can you explain the best way for the thighs for thanksgiving flavors with juices for gravy ?
Yes, put all the rough chopped veggies under the turkey in the slow cooker. Easy peasy!
Can I prepare the turkey thighs on a layer of dressing? If the skin doesn’t come out crispy, it’s not a problem. If it is possible how do I adjust cooking time.
I would not recommend that at all. The turkey is going to release all it’s liquid/fat into the dressing and turn it to mush. I have a slow cooker turkey dinner that is all done at once with no stuffing mush 🙂
I see a rack under the turkey thighs in the picture. Is this necessary to bleep them from get getting soggy and slimy? I don’t think I have something that will fit in my slow cooker. :/
I didn’t use a rack when I cooked, I’m not sure which picture you are seeing it in. But the good news is you won’t need a rack either, just the turkey skin side up will do. 🙂
Can you cook this on high?
You can, just reduce the cooking time and check on it after 3 hours in case your slow cooker runs hot.
I made this for dinner tonight, but I did all the prep and slow cooking the night before and just reheated in the oven to warm up and crisp up the skin. It was the best turkey thigh I have ever had! I must admit I was a bit skeptical at first, I am so glad that I gave this recipe a try, even my 11 yr old was raving on about it and he’s my toughest critic. I will definitely be adding this to my meal rotations. Thank you for bring us this recipe.
Fantastic! I’m so glad you decided to give it a try, James.
Question: If you make this while away at work it will cook more than 7 hours. Will it dry out if it goes 8 1/2 by the time I get home from work?
It is best right as it’s done but if your slow cooker turns to a keep warm setting after the cooking time is done, you should be ok. Enjoy!
Hi! This looks really good. If you add veggies under the thighs, will the skin still be crispy?
I would recommend making the veggies separately. Adding anything extra to the slow cooker will create more moisture and not allow it to crisp up.
I made this exactly as directed and it was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! So easy, so tender, *juicy* and flavorful. I turned the lid the last half hour but the skin wasn’t super crispy so I popped it under the broiler on High for 2 minutes. I seasoned with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. So good.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
So I am thinking of making this tonight but was running late this morning. However I am only cooking 2 thighs, so can i do this in about half the time on high?
So sorry I just am now seeing this. Your question was caught in the spam filter. 🙁 How did it turn out?
I have the same question, I have 2 thighs, total weight 2.5 lbs. Should I cut back the cooking time?
Yes, you might only need around 5-6 hours.
I made this recipe. I seasoned the turkey thighs simply with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. They were juicy and tender – most of the skin was crispy. The next time that I use this method I’ll take the suggestion of leaving the top of the slow cooker slightly open during the last hour or so of cooking to see if it makes a difference.
Thanks for dropping by to let me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
There are 35 comments on this recipe and it doesn’t appear anyone has actually made it. Lots of remarks on the photo of crispy skin, but no actual reviews of the completed dish. Does it work and taste as good as the picture looks? How about some helpful comments from people who have tried this recipe.
I only have a small slow cooker. Can I make this in two batches and make one a day ahead, then recrisp in the oven? Or is I?t best day of
So sorry it took a bit to respond. Your question got caught in my spam filter 🙁 Yes, you can split this into two slow cookers to make. Although I do enjoy this dish best the same day, you can definitely crisp it back up in the oven to reheat. Just keep an eye on it as not to overcook.
Could I do this with turkey breast and rotate to crisp all sides? I have to cook for 150 with minimal use of a kitchen…
There is a crispy turkey breast recipe too: //dinnerthendessert.com/crispy-slow-cooker-turkey-breast/
When you rotate in the slow cooker the sides facing down will not be crisp though, just a heads up. How are you planning on cooking turkey for 150 without a kitchen? Do you have a fleet of slow cookers?
Looks so tasty, thanks for sharing
I can’t believe you got the skin so crispy in the slow cooker! That looks so tasty.
Your photos make this dish pop! Looks great!
I LOVE turkey- especially dark meat- and I love ysing my slow cooker so this recipe is right up my alley! Pinning for sure.
Wow, this is genius. Can’t wait to try this method!
Those Brussels sprouts back there look yummy!
I forgot to link to it, but I’ve made that recipe on the blog too! You can find the brussels sprouts here.
I love this idea and I’m so curious to try it! My slow cooker is one of my favorite tools, but I never thought it could make things crispy. I’ve been missing out!
It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools too! You’ll love this recipe – you won’t believe what you’ve been missing!
More and more I’m realizing the slow cooker is the one kitchen appliance I couldn’t get by without. This is brilliant!
Oh, wow! I adore my slow cooker, so I’m always excited to find new things to use it for (that don’t involve chili). 🙂 This turkey looks AMAZING! Pinned and sharing!
This looks delicious! I made turkey breasts in the slow cooker similar to this to use for sandwiches, but haven’t ever tried to make turkey thighs – or to make them crispy! Sounds like an excellent dinner idea 🙂 Yummed and pinned!
This looks delicious! I’m in AZ and it’s WAAAY too hot to turn on the oven all summer, so this will be perfect.
That skin looks so crispy! Can’t wait to try this!
yumm!! Sabrina, that crispy skin is mouthwatering! thanks for this delicious recipe!
Oh la la! Now this looks like something I want asap! Crispy, delicious, and turkey!
Okay, now this is one amazing turkey meal!!! I love that it’s so easy and fuss-free 🙂
Whoa! This is awesome! Who knew that you could get crispy turkey skins in the slow cooker. MUST TRY! 🙂
love all the different flavor options. I am mostly a salt and pepper w/ a dash of lemon kind of girl.
This turkey is making my mouth water! What a great and simple technique. Consider this post pinned!
This looks incredible!! I cant wait to make this!
I never would have imagined you could get crispy skin in the slow cooker! What a great recipe, and I love all the combos! Nice!
I can’t believe how easy this is! Perfect for a weeknight meal.
Slow Cooker Turkey! Yes please! What a great and easy dinner!
I usually think of turkey only at thanksgiving, but making it in the slow cooker makes it an easy weeknight meal.
I can’t resist anything looks crisp and yummy like this. Thank you for sharing your method how to make that.
Can you make this for dinner for me pleeeeeeeeeease?!?!?? It look so good!
The best part of this recipe is that it’s so easy to make! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of the accomplishment!
I’m a huge turkey fan, and not just during the holidays. I usually start to make it when the kids go back to school. What a great recipe to make in the slow cooker…something everyone will love!