Turkey breast cooked in the pressure cooker is super moist and tender, with only a 30 minute cook time. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to take hours when you have an Instant Pot and this easy pressure cooker turkey recipe!
When you pressure cook a turkey, you won’t get a crispy golden oven-roasted turkey. So if you love to eat the skin, this method isn’t for you. I won’t be cooking my turkey this way for Thanksgiving, but it’s a great alternative if you don’t have an oven, if you’re having a big crowd and won’t have enough white meat, or if you’re eating at someone else’s house and just want to come home to some left over turkey sandwiches. I know I always miss Thanksgiving leftovers when we eat at someone else’s house.
Making Turkey Breast in an Instant Pot
An Instant Pot is one of the most popular brands of electric pressure cookers. They are easy to use and your Instant Pot can help you create this moist and tender turkey breast recipe! You can make a bone-in or boneless turkey breasts. My recipe is for a bone-in turkey breast. Boneless turkey breasts will take less time to cook.
I’ve cooked two turkey breasts in my pressure cooker so far. A 3.5 lb. turkey breast which took 25 minutes and a 6.5 lb. turkey breast, which took 30 minutes. The first turkey breast I browned in the pressure cooker before I cooked it. It was difficult to brown evenly because of it’s shape, and I didn’t notice any difference in terms of the flavor of the turkey or gravy. After it was cooked it wasn’t golden or crispy enough to serve.
You could try browning the turkey in the oven after it’s cooked in the pressure cooker, but since we don’t eat the skin any way, I just discarded it.
The larger turkey had a tender timer that never popped in the pressure cooker, so don’t rely on that. Use a meat thermometer to check to see that the turkey breast has reached 165°.
Another great thing about cooking a turkey in the pressure cooker is that you get lots of flavorful liquid to make wonderful turkey gravy. I’ve given gravy directions in the recipe that you can make in the pressure cooking pot after the turkey’s finished cooking.
Turkey Breast in a Pressure Cooker
- 6.5 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 (14 oz.) can turkey or chicken broth
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 stock celery, cut in large pieces
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons cold water
Season turkey breast liberally with salt and pepper. (You season with dried thyme under the skin if you prefer.)
Put trivet in the bottom of pressure cooking pot. Add chicken broth, onion, celery and thyme. Add the turkey to the cooking pot breast side up. Lock lid in place, select High Pressure and 30 minutes cooking time.
When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then do a quick pressure release to release any remaining pressure. When valve drops carefully remove lid. Use an instant read thermometer to check to see if the turkey is done. It should be 165°. If it isn’t 165°, lock the lid in place and cook it for a few more minutes.
When turkey has reached 165°. Carefully remove turkey and place on large plate. Cover with foil.
Strain and skim the fat off the broth. (I like to use a fat separator.) Whisk together corn starch and cold water; add to broth in cooking pot. Select Sauté and stir until broth thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove and discard the skin. Slice the turkey and serve immediately.
If you want an easy Thanksgiving side dish for a pressure cooker, try my pressure cooking stuffing recipe. (I know it’s really dressing if it’s cooked outside the turkey, but to me it’s still stuffing.) Try this pressure cooker cranberry sauce recipe, too!