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Slow Cooker Turkey & Cranberry Sauce With a Twist

Green bean casserole with stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, and a biscuit on Thanksgiving.

The turkey and dressing with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and a biscuit.

I’ve used my slow cooker a lot lately and decided to find a way to make turkey in it for Thanksgiving. I came across an interesting idea at Kiki & Company: crock pot turkey made with a BBQ-cranberry sauce. Did the thought of BBQ sauce and cranberry together make you turn up your nose a bit? I admit, I was skeptical at first, but Kiki said not to knock it ’til I’ve tried it and that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

The turkey in her photo looked tasty, and I’d recently tried meatballs someone had made with grape jelly and chili powder that were pretty good, so I decided to take a chance. Since it was just me, my husband, and a friend for dinner, I figured at least it was a small group to disappoint if it didn’t turn out well. We liked it well enough that I’ll be making it again for Christmas. I thought I’d tell you how I made it today case anyone is looking for a last minute turkey idea.

What You’ll Need/What I Used

The ingredients.

*Two 1.5 lb turkey breast roasts. [I just got one .705kg (about 1.55lb) breast and that was enough for us plus a little for leftovers.]

*One 16oz can whole berry cranberry sauce [I only found a 14oz can of Ocean Spray jellied sauce, so I used that, but I have whole berry sauce for the next time.]

*1 cup of barbeque sauce [I used Hunt’s Original, and a cup was about half the bottle. Edit: For Christmas 2014, I used Jack Daniel’s Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce. My husband said that he liked it better than what I had used previously.]

*1/2 cup diced celery (optional)

*1/2 cup diced onions

*1/2 teaspoon salt

*1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

What to Do/What I Did

The instructions said to combine all the ingredients in the crock pot, but it didn’t seem like they would mix well that way, so I first combined the BBQ sauce, cranberry sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mixed it with a whisk.


Then I put the turkey in the crock pot and poured the sauce over the turkey. I lifted the turkey up a bit so some of the sauce would go under it. Then I sprinkled the celery and onion on top of the turkey.


When everything’s in the crock pot, put the lid on. You can either cook it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. I picked high for 4 hours, and that worked out fine. After it’s done, you’re supposed to remove it from the slow cooker and slice it thinly. I just kind of pulled it apart.


What’s left in the crock pot can be served on the side as gravy. I didn’t think chunky gravy would look appealing, so I tried to leave behind as much of the celery and onion as possible.


I know cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce doesn’t sound like it would be a great combination, but it was pretty tasty. Using the slow cooker left the oven open for me to be able to make the green bean casserole during the last hour the turkey was cooking instead of having to wait until afterward. It was also nice to be able to cook a small portion of turkey so that we had enough for leftovers but not so much that we were left eating it for a week. If you have a bigger crowd or want a way to make a juicy roast turkey, I also wrote about using this roast turkey recipe for our first Christmas here, which was also my first time roasting a turkey. In the near future I’ll be sharing a lot of the slow cooker recipes I’ve been trying out, but next time I’ll tell you about our trip to Karlsruhe.

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5 Thoughts on “Slow Cooker Turkey & Cranberry Sauce With a Twist

  1. This looks so tasty. Got my stomach growling now, lol. Hope you have a very merry Christmas!!

  2. I finally got my slow cooker replaced! This sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing with us on Weekend Bites

    • Yay. I would be sad without my slow cooker. I have a German oven that I can only set to 4 temperatures so I use the slow cooker every chance I get. It is pretty good. I have made it for a few holidays so far with no complaints. You’re welcome. Thanks for hosting. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Fathers day recipes roundup

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