These slow cooker Hot Turkey Sandwiches are a copycat of “Turkey-to-Go” sandwiches from the Minnesota State Fair. For the juiciest shredded turkey you’ve ever tasted, start with a can of beer and end with a stick of butter.

2 hot turkey sandwiches piled on a plate.

“Turkey-to Go” sandwiches are wildly popular up in Minnesota. They’re made of melt-in-your-mouth shredded turkey breast that is long simmered in beer and spices then piled into a soft bun, the perfect outdoor fair food.

They are also great for parties, tailgates, and busy weeknights! And if you don’t feel up to roasting a whole turkey this Thanksgiving, I’m pleased to introduce you to this Hot Turkey Sandwich.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients:
  2. Ingredient notes:
  3. Step-by-step instructions:
  4. Recipe tips and variations:
  5. Hot Turkey Sandwiches Recipe

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled hot turkey sandwich ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Beer: Any light beer will do. You can also substitute a non-alcoholic beer.
  • Onion soup mix: Store-bought packets are fine or you can make homemade onion soup mix.
  • Chicken base: Similar to bullion cubes, chicken base is highly concentrated chicken stock. You can find it in powder or paste forms. I love “Better than Bouillon” brand, a paste which is widely available and tastes delicious. Add more to taste in Step 3, if desired.
  • Bone-in turkey breast: Look for bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. You may have to ask your butcher at the grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can substitute boneless skinless turkey breast.
  • Cornstarch: An optional thickening agent that turns the buttery turkey sauce into more of a gravy.
  • Bun size: For family suppers, serve larger, burger-sized buns, but search out smaller rolls for parties with a large buffet spread.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In the bottom of a slow cooker, combine the beer, onion soup mix, white pepper, dried parsley, and chicken base. Add the turkey breast right on top of everything. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
    A turkey breast in a black slow cooker.
  2. When the time is up, carefully take out the turkey and move it to a rimmed baking sheet so you can shred it up. Separate the meat from the bones, discard the bones and skin, and shred up the meat using two forks. Once all the turkey is shredded, return it to the slow cooker and stir in the butter. As the butter melts, mix it into the cooking juices.
    Hot turkey sandwich meat shredded in a slow cooker.
  3. If you want a thicker broth, remove some of the cooking juices in a measuring cup and whisk in some cornstarch; then return it to the crockpot to thicken.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: Plan for 1 pound bone-in turkey breast per person (uncooked weight). So, a 10-pound breast will feed about 10 people. If you are cooking boneless turkey breast, plan on ¾ pound per person (a 6-pound boneless turkey breast would feed about 8 people).
  • Make ahead: You can make this several days before you need it and gently reheat the shredded meat in the slow cooker. Just be sure to hold onto the juices.
  • Freezing: Shredded turkey freezes beautifully. Divide into freezer-safe containers, label, date, and seal. Thaw the turkey overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • Condiments: Feel free to top your sandwich with crisp dill pickles, barbecue sauce, tomato slices, mustard, onion, or mayonnaise. In Minnesota, they often top their sandwiches with cranberry sauce and thick slices of brie cheese.
  • Make it for Thanksgiving: Turkey sandwiches for a holiday dinner? Almost sounds too easy, right? Believe you me, I have done it, and I will do it again.
  • Lawry’s seasoning: Some Minnesotans add a sprinkle or three of Lawry’s seasoning to the turkey to jazz things up.
2 hot turkey sandwiches piled on a plate.

More slow cooker recipes

2 hot turkey sandwiches piled on a plate.

Hot Turkey Sandwiches

These slow cooker Hot Turkey Sandwiches start with a can of beer and end with a stick of butter. So great for your next party! Or serve the shredded turkey for a fuss-free, delicious holiday meal any time of year.
4.93 from 53 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 650

Ingredients 

  • 1 (12 ounce) can light beer (see note 1)
  • 1 recipe homemade onion soup mix or 1 packet store-bought (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base plus more, to taste (see note 3)
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • 10 pounds bone-in skin-on turkey breast (see note 4)
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch optional (see note 5)
  • rolls split, for serving (see note 6)

Instructions 

  • In the bottom of a slow cooker, add beer, onion soup mix, chicken base, dried parsley, and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Add turkey breast. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Remove turkey breast from slow cooker and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Take off skin and separate meat from bones, discarding bones and skin. Shred turkey.
  • While the meat is still out of the slow cooker, stir in butter until melted. For a thicker broth, remove ½ cup broth and whisk with cornstarch. Add back to slow cooker.
  • Add shredded turkey back to slow cooker and heat until broth is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve with rolls.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Beer: Any light beer will do. You can also substitute a non-alcoholic beer.
  2. Onion soup mix: Store-bought packets are fine or you can make homemade onion soup mix.
  3. Chicken base: Similar to bullion cubes, chicken base is highly concentrated chicken stock. You can find it in powder or paste forms. I love “Better than Bouillon” brand, a paste which is widely available and tastes delicious. Add more to taste in Step 3, if desired.
  4. Bone-in turkey breast: Look for bone-in, skin-on turkey breast. You may have to ask your butcher at the grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can substitute boneless skinless turkey breast.
  5. Cornstarch: An optional thickening agent that turns the buttery turkey juice into more of a gravy. 
  6. Bun size: For family suppers, serve larger, burger-sized buns, but search out smaller rolls for parties with a large buffet spread.
  7. Yield: Plan for 1 pound bone-in turkey breast per person (uncooked weight). So, a 10-pound breast will feed about 10 people. If you are cooking boneless turkey breast, plan on ¾ pound per person (a 6-pound boneless turkey breast would feed about 8 people).
  8. Make ahead: You can make this several days before you need it and gently reheat the shredded meat in the slow cooker. Just be sure to hold onto the juices.
  9. Freezing: Shredded turkey freezes beautifully. Divide into freezer-safe containers, label, date, and seal. Thaw the turkey overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  10. Condiments: Feel free to top your sandwich with crisp dill pickles, barbecue sauce, tomato slices, mustard, onion, or mayonnaise. In Minnesota, they often top their sandwiches with cranberry sauce and thick slices of brie cheese.
  11. Make it for Thanksgiving: Turkey sandwiches for a holiday dinner? Almost sounds too easy, right? Believe you me, I have done it, and I will do it again.
  12. Lawry’s seasoning: Some Minnesotans add a sprinkle or three of Lawry’s seasoning to the turkey to jazz things up.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 650kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 90gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 267mgSodium: 1148mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 284IUCalcium: 5mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. We’ve made this probably 4 or 5 times now, and love it! My guy turkey hunts so we use wild turkey breast (no bone or skin) and the flavor is still great. One wild turkey breast is probably like 2 or 3 pounds? I use the full beer and rest of the ingredients (though I do cut down on the butter a bit) and it’s the perfect amount of gravy. So using 10 pounds (even with bones and skin), I’d probably want to double the rest of the ingredients to get enough gravy.

    Definitely needs the cornstarch to thicken, and does not need any additional salt above the onion soup mix and boullion.5 stars

  2. Omg so salty, between the onion soup mix, butter, and chicken base it does not need any more salt. Otherwise it was pretty good.3 stars

  3. Question… this will be the second time making. One can of beer barely covers the bottom of the crock pot. Is that really all the more liquid you start off with?

    1. Hi LJ, yes one can is correct. It’s possible your crockpot is larger than ours. If you feel like you need more feel free to add it! – Meggan

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