Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey

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 Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

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!? Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

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!

Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

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.  Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

So lets get some different flavors going on with this Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey, remember – NO liquids:

  1.  Salt and pepper: Seriously, we do this version 9 times out of ten. Crispy salted turkey thighs are just heaven.
  2. 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.
  3. Salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic: Classic flavors, 2 tablespoons garlic, 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary.
  4. Salt, pepper, orange zest, rosemary, sage: zest of one orange, 2 teaspoons minced rosemary and thyme.
  5. Salt, pepper, celery, carrots and onions: roughly chopped veggies under the turkey, it’ll feel and smell just like thanksgiving.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder: Easy spicy, latin flavors, I serve this with my toasted Mexican Rice.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

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.

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Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey

Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 4 turkey thighs , skin and bone on
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcal | Protein: 21g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 495mg | Potassium: 273mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Keyword: Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey, crock pot turkey, crockpot turkey thighs

Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

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. 😉

Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!
Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs are juicy, crispy, tender and a total breeze to make on a weeknight! Also includes 10 different ways to add different flavors with almost no effort!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Hi Sabrina,

    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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Thanks very much for your prompt reply – you saved me a T’giving Day headache!
        Would slow cooker braising be my best bet?

        1. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. 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 ?

  9. 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.

  10. 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. :/

    1. 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. 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. 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. 

      1. 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?

          1. I have the same question, I have 2 thighs, total weight 2.5 lbs. Should I cut back the cooking time?

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 

  16. 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 

    1. 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.

  17. 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…

    1. 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?

  18. I can’t believe you got the skin so crispy in the slow cooker! That looks so tasty.

  19. I LOVE turkey- especially dark meat- and I love ysing my slow cooker so this recipe is right up my alley! Pinning for sure.

  20. 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!

    1. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools too! You’ll love this recipe – you won’t believe what you’ve been missing!

  21. More and more I’m realizing the slow cooker is the one kitchen appliance I couldn’t get by without. This is brilliant!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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.
    Pinned 🙂

  25. Oh la la! Now this looks like something I want asap! Crispy, delicious, and turkey!

  26. Okay, now this is one amazing turkey meal!!! I love that it’s so easy and fuss-free 🙂

  27. Whoa! This is awesome! Who knew that you could get crispy turkey skins in the slow cooker. MUST TRY! 🙂

  28. love all the different flavor options. I am mostly a salt and pepper w/ a dash of lemon kind of girl.

  29. This turkey is making my mouth water! What a great and simple technique. Consider this post pinned!

  30. 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!

  31. I usually think of turkey only at thanksgiving, but making it in the slow cooker makes it an easy weeknight meal.

  32. I can’t resist anything looks crisp and yummy like this. Thank you for sharing your method how to make that.

    1. The best part of this recipe is that it’s so easy to make! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of the accomplishment!

  33. 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!