Slow Cooker Turkey Stew with Mustard and Root Vegetables

Turkey thighs, seared and slow-cooked, braised in a mustard sauce with carrots and parsnips. Perfect belly warming stew for a chilly day!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Salting the turkey thighs time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8


  • 4 turkey thighs, skin on, bone-in
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle or chili powder
  • 4-6 Yukon Gold or other yellow potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (packed) roughly chopped mustard greens, arugula, spinach, or parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard


1 Salt the turkey thighs well and set out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2 Sear the turkey thighs: Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Pat the turkey thighs dry with a paper towel and set them skin side down in the hot oil to brown. Turn the heat down to medium. Let them brown well, at least 3-5 minutes, before turning.

Don’t crowd the pan, the meat needs air flow around it to brown properly. Cook the turkey in batches if needed.

When the thighs are browned, place them in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

3 Sauté the onions in the pan once the turkey has browned, then add them to the slow cooker or Dutch oven.

4 Season the stock: While the turkey and onions are browning, place the stock in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the brown sugar, yellow mustard (reserve the whole grain mustard for the end of the recipe), mustard powder, chipotle and a little salt. Cook for a minute and add salt to taste. Depending on how acidic your mustard is you may need to add a little cider or white vinegar as well.

5  Add the carrots and parsnips to the pot with the turkey and onions. Pour the sauce over everything until the liquid is about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the turkey and vegetables. Reserve any remaining sauce. Cover and simmer on low, or cover and turn the slow cooker on high.

6 Cook in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high, or in a Dutch oven for 1 hour on simmer.

7 Add the potatoes and a little more sauce, if you have any. Cover and cook another 1-2 hours in a slow cooker, or 30-45 minutes in the Dutch oven.

8 Strip skin and bones from turkey meat: Before serving, remove the turkey pieces from the pot, strip off and discard the bones and the skin, return the turkey pieces to the pot.

9 Add greens and mustard: Stir in the mustard greens, arugula, or other greens you are using. Stir in the whole grain mustard. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt, chipotle powder, and mustard to taste.

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  • Brenda

    I would love to make this but at this time of year I can only find boneless turkey thighs. Is it possible to use them and if so, how would I have to change the recipe?

    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Brenda! Yes, you can totally use boneless thighs. They’ll likely cook faster, but since this recipe is for a slow cooker, it shouldn’t make much of a difference!

  • Oralea Howard

    This was ridiculously tasty. It’s definitely going to be one of my regulars… as are quite a few recipes I’ve gotten from you! I used one gigantic turkey breast as I didn’t find thighs and didn’t want to go to another store searching. It still tasted divine to me! My husband would err on the side of dark meat always but I never buy it (although willing to give it a try here). He loved it too! Thank you!


  • Chris

    Made this today with chicken thighs (couldn’t find turkey legs or thighs anywhere). A fabulous recipe, bags of flavour and very little effort – my kind of recipe.

    Another winner Elise :)

    Thank you.


  • Marita

    I finally got the chance to try this recipe this week. When you work outside the house all day those 4-hour cook times don’t work. To make this recipe work for me I browned the turkey, made the sauce and chopped the vegetables the night before and refrigerated it all. Then in the morning I threw everything in the crockpot and set it for 9 hours on low before I left for work. It turned out fantastic! I had the leftovers for lunch today and they were even better.

    I’ve never put turkey thighs in the crockpot before, but I’m going to try them with other recipes. They hold up to long cooking times so much better than chicken.

    Thanks Elise!


  • Courtney

    I loved this, as did my husband and three year old! I cooked it in my crock pot on low for about 8 hours instead of high for 4 hours, and the veggies were tender without being mushy.


  • Kris

    I made this today, minus the salt. It is very good, sort of a comfort food!


  • Chris

    Excuse the silly question… Is yellow mustard the same as the stuff you put on hot dogs? It’s not a term I’ve heard of in England. (and does mustard come in other colours?)

    Hi Chris, yes, it’s the mustard you put on hot dogs. It has turmeric mixed in with the mustard which gives it a brighter yellow color. ~Elise

  • Yeni

    What a wonderful comfort food Elise! Worth the browning, etc. I made your Dad’s stew version instead of this one in the slow cooker, and added some dry mustard. Yum!

  • Bella

    Generally speaking, where can you pick up turkey parts? My grocery only carries the drumsticks.

    We just get turkey thighs at our local grocery store. You can use drumsticks for this recipe, just be careful when you pull the meat from the bones as there are some tiny bones in the drumstick. ~Elise

  • Mary

    This was a fantastic stew! We made it tonight for company with cornbread and it received rave reviews. I ended up using turkey drumsticks as I couldn’t find any thighs. I didn’t have yellow mustard, so I used spicy brown and added turmeric; and because I don’t handle spices too well, I omitted the chili. I also followed the dutch oven instructions to save time, but look forward to trying it again in the slow cooker.
    Even with those minor adjustments everything turned out perfectly. It even looked like the picture! Thanks again, Elise, for another wonderful dinner.

  • Maria

    This sounds great! Could I use chicken thighs instead of turkey?

    Sure could! ~Elise

  • Marita

    It’s nice to see a slow cooker stew recipe that uses something besides beef.

    What size slow cooker would you use for this?

    Great question, a 6-quart slow cooker would be ideal. ~Elise

  • Darby "The Dessert Diva"

    This sounds divine. I think I will switch it up a bit and replace the yellow mustard with spicy brown or Dijon. We are not big yellow mustard people. I also think I will sneak in a few dried cranberries to make it feel “festive”. Yum Yum!

  • Adam

    Hmmm… I do love mustard, the mere mention of it is what made stop and read this, but straight yellow mustard sounds a little boring. Maybe it’s just me. I have some Dijon-style mustard that I enjoy, do you think it would overpower the dish if I substituted at least some for the yellow mustard as the recipe calls for?

    Yellow mustard is just mustard with some added turmeric, which gives it its bright yellow color. Turmeric is very good for you, so I would just keep the yellow mustard as is in the recipe, and add more vinegar or more whole seed mustard at the end of the recipe. ~Elise

  • Adam

    Any thought on using turkey legs? They’ve been on sale recently and seem to be begging me to make something with them.

    Yes, you could easily use turkey legs. ~Elise

  • laura @ a little barefoot

    this looks absolutely delicious, and perfect for the cool fall we are having! this might be a silly question, but do you think this would work with white meat turkey, or would it dry out too much?

    Dark meat will hold up better with the long cooking. ~Elise