The instant pot turkey breast cooked in the pressure cooker is super moist and tender, with only a 30-minute cooking time. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to take hours when you have a pressure cooker and this easy Instant Pot turkey breast recipe!
The Thanksgiving turkey cooked in the electric pressure cooker/Instant Pot is perfect for a small Thanksgiving gathering or just a delicious Sunday dinner. This recipe can be paired with these other Thanksgiving recipes, including instant pot filling, pumpkin pie, and creamy mashed potatoes.
Traditional oven-roasted turkeys tend to dry out. Since the pressure cooker uses steam for cooking, it will have tender and moist meat.
When you pressure cook a turkey, you don’t end up with the classic golden brown skin fresh out of the pot. But you can still get a crispy skin with an air fryer attachment or a quick grill in the oven.
When I have a dinner crowd, I still cook a big turkey in my big oven. But since my audience loves white meat, I also like to pressure cook a turkey breast, so I’ll have extra white meat and extra sauce.
Check out our video How to Cook Turkey in the Instant Pot on YouTube.
How to Cook Turkey Breast
in Instant Pot/Electric Pressure Cooker
This instant pot turkey breast recipe will work on any brand of electric pressure cooker, including Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Mealthy MultiPot. Pressure cookers are the perfect moist environment for cooking turkey.
If you’ve never made turkey in your pressure cooker before, make sure you give yourself enough time so you’re not stressed about putting dinner on the table.
Before preparing the turkey breast, make sure it fits inside your pressure cooker.
<img src="https://i2.wp.com/pressurecookingtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Pressure_Cooking_Today_Instant_Pot_Turkey_PCT-5359.jpg" alt="Pressure cooker turkey breast
You can pressure cook both bone-in and boneless turkey breasts. My recipe is for a turkey breast with bone. You can also cook a boneless turkey breast, it will take about the same amount of time to cook.
Do I brown the turkey breast before cooking?
The first time I pressed cooked turkey breast, I browned it in the pressure cooker before cooking. It was difficult to brown evenly because of its shape, and I didn’t notice any difference in terms of the taste of the turkey or sauce.
And, after pressure cooking, the turkey wasn’t golden or crispy enough to serve with the skin. If you want to serve a beautiful brown turkey breast, I recommend browning it AFTER pressure cooking. This is easy to do with a Ninja Foodi, Instant Pot Duo Crisp (review coming soon!), or Mealthy Crisp Lid. You can also use a traditional air fryer or grill in your oven.
If you don’t eat the skin anyway, you can skip this step. Simply discard the skin and cut the turkey into slices before serving.
How long can I pressure cook a turkey in the instant pot?
The cooking time
in an Instant Pot turkey breast depends on the weight and thickness. There is no one size fits all for turkey breast cooking time!
If you are cooking a bone in turkey breast, the weight of the turkey breast usually determines the cooking time.
In general, I use a cooking time of 30 minutes with a natural pressure release of 10 minutes to cook a turkey breast with bone and skin of 6 pounds. A 3- to 4-pound turkey breast has a cooking time of 25 minutes, and a 4- to 5-pound turkey has a cooking time of 27 minutes.
If you are cooking a boneless turkey breast, the thickest part of the breast will determine the cooking time.
Boneless breasts can vary in shape. If your turkey breast is long and thin, your cooking time will be shorter. However, if your breast is more rounded, you will need a longer cooking time.
For a general start time, I use a 30-minute cooking time with a natural pressure release of 10 minutes in a round, boneless, skinless 3-pound breast.
My turkey timer
For some reason, the tender timer doesn’t always work when you cook
turkey breast in the pressure cooker, so don’t rely on that.
Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure your turkey is cooked to 165°F at the thickest part of the breast.
Can I cook a frozen turkey in the instant pot?
can, but that doesn’t mean you should.
For best results, make sure your turkey is completely thawed before pressurized. (See the USDA-recommended thaw schedule. It always seems to take longer than expected to thaw the turkey, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time.)
If there is a possibility that the center of the turkey is frozen, you will need to add additional cooking time. The general rule of thumb is to add 5 minutes per pound when cooking frozen.
Remember, when you cook frozen, the outside of the bird will cook faster than the inside. Which means that by the time the inside is cooked to a safe temperature, the meat outside will be harder and drier.
the best things about pressure cooker turkey breasts is that you get a lot of tasty liquid that makes a wonderful turkey sauce. (I’ve given salsa instructions in the recipe so you can make it in the pressure cooker after the turkey finishes cooking.)
Keep in mind that what flavors your turkey will also flavor your sauce. So if you know your family isn’t crazy about onions, reduce the amount of onions you use to cook turkey. If your mom always added rosemary to the turkey, go for it!
After pressure cooking the turkey, taste the drops left in the pot. If they are too strong, add some extra broth to the pot. (Remember, flavors usually intensify as the sauce cooks. So if they are too strong now, they will become even stronger.)
I prefer to use cornstarch when making a turkey sauce. Cornstarch is a great thickener with very little flavor, and it doesn’t need to be simmered like flour does.
However, if you prefer the texture of a thick flour sauce, you would start with 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water and beat until smooth. Slowly combine the flour mixture with the liquid in the pot and whisk until completely incorporated. Then bring to a boil and simmer for several minutes to make sure the flour is well cooked.
How to Use Leftover Turkey
Leftover turkey is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving!
I save the casing to make pressure cooker turkey broth and the meat to make pressure cooker turkey noodle soup.
My husband also likes to pair the leftover filling, cranberry sauce, and turkey to make a loaded turkey sandwich.
of leftover turkey
Leftover turkey should be wrapped and refrigerated within 2 hours of the pressure cooker exiting
To reheat, use the pot-in-pot method. Place 1 cup of water and a trivet at the bottom of the pressure cooker. Put the turkey and sauce in a cake pan or oven-safe bowl, and cook on high pressure for a few minutes, depending on how much you’re reheating. When the cooking time is over, use a quick pressure release and check if the turkey and sauce have reached the desired temperature.
This recipe is one of my pressure cooker Thanksgiving recipes. Check out the other recipes in the series!
Vacation Recipes for enjoy:
Pressure cooker / Instant pot filling pressure cooker /
- Pumpkin pie
- / instant pot
- Mashed potatoes
- All our pressure cooker recipes Thanksgiving