Looking for a simple yet succulent turkey recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Our orange bourbon slow-cooker turkey breast, inspired by WhitneyBond, is a sumptuous holiday entree boasting mouthful after mouthful of sweet, spice and everything nice.
Every hot, juicy bite of this slow-cooked turkey delivers a delicious combination of warm spices, brown sugar, orange juice, bourbon and honey. You may have an appetizing assortment of mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and salads on your holiday table, but it will be this turkey that steals the show.
Feeding a smaller crowd this year? This is the holiday turkey recipe for you! There’s no need to fuss with a large whole turkey that requires basting and babysitting all afternoon when you can feed your family amply with just the turkey breast. The best part? Once you prep the turkey breast, your slow-cooker does all the basting and cooking for you.
Bourbon, orange juice and honey infuse their distinct balance of flavors into the turkey as it cooks for hours. Not familiar with bourbon? Bourbon is the most popular type of American whiskey. In general, bourbon’s barrel-aged flavor is characterized by oak vanilla, and caramel notes, which all go impeccably well with orange and honey. In a bowl, whisk together bourbon, orange juice, orange zest and honey. Set aside.
Cook’s note: Take advantage of the turkey juices in the crockpot to make a turkey gravy to serve alongside the turkey or with mashed potatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the spices — paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, toasted cumin, ground cloves — and brown sugar. Brown sugar and spice make everything nice, especially in this orange bourbon slow-cooker turkey. Set the spice rub aside.
Make a flavorful liquid
In a small bowl, whisk together bourbon, orange juice, orange zest and honey. This tasty liquid will infuse the turkey with flavor and keep it moist. Set aside until the turkey is in the slow-cooker.
Rub the turkey with the spice mixture
Pour the spice rub over the turkey breast and use your hands to liberally rub the spice mixture all over the turkey, pressing the spices into the meat.
Cook the turkey in the slow-cooker
Place the turkey breast in the slow-cooker and add orange wedges. The heat from the slow-cooker will coax the citrus oils and juice from the orange, adding even more flavor to the bird. Pour the bourbon mixture over the turkey. Cook the turkey on high for four to five hours or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the breast reaches 165F.
Let the turkey rest then carve into slices
Once the turkey breast is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 minutes to allow the turkey juices to redistribute through the meat. When it’s time for dinner, use your best carving skills to cut the turkey breast into juicy slices. Serve the turkey hot on a platter garnished with orange slices and fresh herbs.