Enjoy the classic big flavors of turkey that you love, but with the convenience of cooking only the juiciest and tender part of the turkey – the tenderloin! This easy crock pot turkey tenderloin recipe is an ideal alternative to turkey breast for a small Thanksgiving gathering or family dinner any time. Simply add tenderloins in the slow cooker with an aromatic marinade, and in just a few hours you’ll be ready to serve a centerpiece-worthy dish for any occasion.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS POST
- What Is A Turkey Tenderloin?
- Slow Cooker Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- Ingredients Needed to Make Turkey Tenderloin Crock Pot Recipe
- Kitchen Tools Needed
- How to Make The Tenderloin Marinade
- How to Cook Turkey Tenderloin in a Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooking Frozen Turkey Tenderloin
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Full Turkey Tenderloin Breast Crock Pot Recipe (With Easy Marinade!)
What Is A Turkey Tenderloin?
If you like turkey breast, you are absolutely going to love turkey tenderloins. They are pieces of tender (hence the name) white meat that have a mild flavor and great texture. And like whole turkeys and turkey breasts, the tenderloin is great to pair with your favorite comfort food sides.
The tenderloin is located between and is attached to the breasts. It’s a thick, wide strip of meat from a part of the bird that doesn’t get much of a workout. So it tends to be a bit softer and stay super juicy when cooked vs. the breast. However, tenderloins are still rather lean and quite healthy!
Turkey tenderloins are boneless and skinless, so they are also very easy to work with and prepare in any number of ways. I like to marinate them overnight for extra flavor. However, this is totally optional!
Either way, your turkey will turn out terrifically moist when cooked in a crockpot with just a few key ingredients. And, everyone will love this boneless skinless turkey breast tenderloin recipe.
Slow Cooker Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
Using a crock pot to slow cook turkey tenderloins really takes the tenderness up a notch. When you slow cook the turkey in a tangy marinade and chicken broth, the meat becomes incredibly juicy and infuses each tender bite with flavor.
Plus, it’s nearly foolproof to make this turkey tenderloin crockpot recipe!
Simply blend the easy marinade, and marinate the tenderloins for an hour or up to overnight (highly suggested!), and add all of the ingredients right into the crock when ready to prepare. Then set, step away, and let the slow cooker work its magic.
In a matter of hours, your home will smell amazing, and you are ready to serve the turkey tenderloin as an impressive yet effortless main dish.
Tip: checking the turkey tenderloin temp is key to ensuring a perfectly roasted turkey! So, invest in an instant-read thermometer (we use the one that is linked) and check your turkey tenderloins after 4 hours.
Enjoy an intimate Thanksgiving dinner with classic holiday sides, or as part of any gathering with your choice of comforting side dishes.
Although serving up a turkey tenderloin crockpot recipe or oven roasted turkey tenderloins may seem like non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner ideas, they’re actually perfect for smaller gatherings where a whole turkey is too big. A beautiful platter of slow-cooked turkey tenderloins is always a welcomed centerpiece on the table!
Ingredients Needed to Make Turkey Tenderloin Crock Pot Recipe
- Turkey – For this recipe, you need two boneless and skinless tenderloins, about 1.5 pounds (or 24 ounces) in total. I like to buy Jennie-O turkey tenderloins, which come in two-packs and can be found at Wal-Mart all year long.
Although I prefer to cook the turkey roasts thawed, you can use frozen turkey tenderloins in this recipe. No need to defrost the turkey! Just see the area below on “slow cooking frozen turkey.”
- Broth – You’ll also need to add chicken broth to the slow cooker for cooking the tenderloins. Vegetable broth is also a great option if you prefer.
For the Marinade
- Olive oil – Any neutral flavored oil will also work.
- Apple cider vinegar – This adds a nice tangy flavor to the marinade, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can use white vinegar instead.
- Honey – This sweetens up the marinade. You can also use brown sugar, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar as a substitute.
- Dijon mustard – This helps thicken the marinade and adds flavor. You can swap it with yellow mustard if needed.
- Garlic cloves – This adds great flavor and also helps tenderize the meat.
- Herbs and spices – We used dried thyme, dried rosemary, sea salt, and pepper. However, you can use any herbs and spices you have on hand. Feel free to get creative!
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make The Tenderloin Marinade
The marinade can be whisked up and the turkey tenderloin marinated for only an hour or so before everything is added to the slow cooker. But if you have the time I recommend that you let the tenderloins marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
To do this you want to marinate the turkey in a large ziplock bag or use the crockpot insert covered with the lid. In the morning, drop the turkey tenderloin in the slow cooker, add a cup of broth, then let the slow cooker roast the tenderloins during the day.
Making a bold, tangy, and deliciously savory turkey tenderloin marinade is as easy as 1-2-3!
- Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Place the tenderloin in the bowl, or add the marinade to a zipper bag or the crock pot insert as mentioned above.
- Set the bowl, bag, or crock in the refrigerator. Allow the turkey to marinate for at least 1 to 8 hours, up to overnight.
How to Cook Turkey Tenderloin in a Slow Cooker
- Add turkey tenderloins to the slow cooker pot. Pour over the marinade sauce along with the chicken broth.
2. Cook the turkey breast tenderloins on low for 6-8 hours, checking the turkey tenderloin temp after 4 hours. Check the turkey tenderloin temp with an instant-read thermometer in the center (the thickest part of the turkey roast). The magic number is 165º F.
3. Remove the turkey from the crockpot and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Slow Cooking Frozen Turkey Tenderloin
What, you forgot to thaw your turkey tenderloin? No worries here!
When I forget to defrost my turkey tenderloin, I just take them from the package and rinse them well and pat them dry. Then I follow the recipe as shown below and add 2 hours to the slow cooking time.
Always be sure to check the internal temperature of the turkey, and this is especially important when using frozen turkey roasts! Reliable, quality instant-read thermometers are less than $15 (I’ve linked my favorite here. So, check to see that your poultry is 165º before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Definitely! Just pour the marinade mixture over the top of the turkey when you add it to the slow cooker. See notes under the recipe.
Follow the recipe as shown, then add an extra 2 hours of slow cooking.
Full Turkey Tenderloin Breast Crock Pot Recipe (With Easy Marinade!)
Slow Cooker Turkey Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 6 sprigs fresh thyme)
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 sprig fresh rosemary)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 turkey breast tenderloins (about 1½ pounds)
- 1 cup chicken broth
Prepare the turkey marinade
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, herbs, and seasonings until evenly combined.
- To marinate the turkey, go to the next step, otherwise, see "Cook the Turkey Tenderloins" below.
Marinade the turkey tenderloin
- Place the turkey in the bowl (or in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag) with the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 8 hours to allow the flavors to infuse with the turkey tenderloins.
Cook the turkey tenderloins
- Add turkey tenderloins to the slow cooker pot. Pour over the marinade sauce along with the chicken broth. Cook the turkey breast tenderloins on low for 6-8 hours, checking the turkey tenderloin temp after 4 hours.
- Turkey tenders are done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin, registers 165 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the crockpot and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.