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.
  • 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.
5 from 19 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)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken base (see note 3)
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 10 pounds bone-in skin-on turkey breast (see note 4)
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter cubed
  • 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.

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. 
  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
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Comments

  1. these are the easiest and tastiest turkey sandwiches ever. I served them for a graduation party and everyone raved about the flavor and moistness of the meat. I have been asked by at least 6 people for the recipe.5 stars

  2. On the picture of ingredients, it shows “white pepper,” but then it’s never mentioned again in the recipe or instructions. Is white pepper an important part of this recipe? When or how would it be used?

    1. Typos are so embarrassing. I’m sorry about that. My original recipe for this (from a friend’s mom in Minnesota) has 1-2 teaspoons white pepper going in with the other seasoningss and the beer in the very beginning. I meant to re-write it to say just put in 1 teaspoon in the beginning, and then season to taste with more white pepper (and salt) at the end if you think it needs it. I clearly forgot to do that. I only got as far as taking it out of the recipe and not putting it back in. I’ll fix it right now! Thanks for pointing that out. -Meggan

    1. Hi Jessica! So sorry for not explaining that in the post (I updated it so the post now has an explanation of 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 which is a paste in a jar and you can find it at grocery stores, Target, and Walmart. It’s in the aisle with the chicken broth, usually on a high shelf. It last a long time in the refrigerator and tastes really good. I use their beef one too. Thank you! -Meggan

  3. I am not a huge turkey fan so I am doing this exact recipe in my slow cooker layering 2 bone in chicken breasts, 2 boneless breasts and topping with 2 bone in skin on breasts. I hope it turns out!!! I am cooking in high for 3-4 hours🤞🤞🤞

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