Instant Pot Turkey Breast

by Erin @ Food Doodles on October 10, 2021

This Instant Pot Turkey Breast recipe is perfect for smaller gatherings and takes the pressure off of having to spend an entire day in the kitchen. The turkey comes out juicy and tender and is ideal when you’re not feeding a huge crowd. It’s seasoned with fresh herbs and cooked with potatoes and carrots making an incredible one-pot meal.

Not every holiday calls for feeding 20 plus people, so using the instant pot makes the perfect amount for a gathering of 6. If you’re thinking cozy and intimate this Thanksgiving, this turkey breast recipe is for you. It’s a satisfying meal and makes the day so much easier.

If you’re wanting more Thanksgiving flair serve it with this easy Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Salad along with this creamy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese.

Whether cooking for a big holiday or a quaint Sunday meal, I think you’ll enjoy having less time in the kitchen and more time at the table.

gravy being poured over instant pot turkey breast

Ingredients:

Chicken stock – this helps prevent the bottom of the pot from burning. And it can be used to make a gravy once the turkey is cooked! You can use water if you prefer.

Optional veggies – I used onions, potatoes, carrots and celery. Adding this bed of veggies is optional, but it’s a nice place for the turkey to si, and it adds extra flavor. Plus it turns this into a one-pot meal! 

Butter – not only is it delicious, but it keeps the turkey breast moist and holds the herbs and garlic on the meat. Of course, it melts, so you could likely use olive oil in its place.

Fresh herbs – parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary. I’m using a combination of garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage to flavor the turkey but feel free to use any combination of fresh herbs that you like!

Boneless skin-on turkey breast – I highly recommend a boneless turkey breast as they cook faster and more evenly in the Instant Pot.

Olive oil – it helps lock in the juices on the outside of the turkey so it stays moist.

Kosher salt + black pepper – salt and pepper season the turkey as well!

How to make Instant Pot Turkey Breast:

  • Make a bed of veggies for the turkey breast, and add chicken stock in the instant pot.
  • Mix butter and fresh herbs.
  • Rub the mixture under the skin of the turkey breast.
  • Drizzle olive oil on the outside of the turkey breast and season with salt and pepper.
  • Put the turkey on a trivet, skin side up.
  • Pressure cook it, then release pressure.
  • Remove the turkey from the pot, slice and serve.

Tips:

  • This turkey dinner feeds 6 people and takes 25 minutes to prep and only 35 minutes to cook (plus a few minutes it takes to come to pressure).
  • This instant pot turkey breast won’t have that crispy skin like it would if it were made in the oven. If you’re not one to eat the skin, just discard it and slice before serving.
  • But if you want to brown the turkey skin after cooking, transfer the cooked turkey breast to a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes or until your desired doneness. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • Before you start prepping the turkey breast, make sure it fits inside the pot of the pressure cooker. Better to know sooner than later. My Instant Pot is a 6 quart which should hold up to 5 to 6-pound turkey breasts.
  • I recommend taking the temperature of the thickest part of the breast to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Make sure you get a reading of 165°F (74°C).
  • You can make a gravy from the drippings right in the Instant Pot! Just use the sautee setting and you don’t have to wash yet another pan.
  • You can store any leftover turkey in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You should transfer the turkey breast to a container within 2 hours after cooking.
  • If you want to freeze the leftover turkey, just put it in an airtight sealable bag, date it and it should be good for up to 3 months. To reheat it, just thaw it in the fridge then microwave it at 50% power for 45-seconds at a time until it’s thoroughly heated.hand holding plate of turkey breast in instant pot

How long do I pressure cook the turkey in an Instant Pot?

There are a lot of variables to look at when answering this question. The weight and thickness of the turkey breast matters the most so there is no one size fits all.

However, the weight of the boneless turkey breast is generally a good indicator. In this recipe, I used a 3-pound boneless skin-on turkey breast and pressure-cooked it for 35 minutes. A heavier breast would need a little more time.

Thickness, too, is something to consider. Boneless turkey breasts can differ in size. If you have a thin and long breast, then the cook time will be less than a thicker, more robust turkey breast.

Using a thermometer is essential in cooking just about any meat, so I highly recommend taking the temperature of the thickest part of the breast to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Make sure you get a reading of 165°F (74°C).

Bone-in or boneless turkey breast?

You can cook either in an Instant Pot. I used boneless because it cooks more evenly.

Using bone-in doesn’t necessarily change the cook times that much, but again it depends on the thickness and weight of the breast.

plate of instant pot turkey breast

Should I brine the turkey breast?

It’s not necessary. Brining the turkey will allow it to absorb the extra moisture to make it extremely unlikely the turkey breast will dry out. Salt also breaks down the meat so it makes it super tender.

If you decide to brine the breast, just dissolve ¾ cup of salt in enough water to cover the turkey breast. Cover it and soak it overnight.

When you’re ready to cook it, just rinse off the breast and follow the directions. That being said, because the pressure cooker is actually steaming the turkey, you shouldn’t have any issues getting a perfectly juicy, tender turkey without having to brine it. 

What pressure cooker did you use?

I used this 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker. It has just about every function you could want from a cooking machine.

It’s not only a pressure cooker, but also a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, saute pan and a food warmer.

sliced instant pot turkey breast

Why use an Instant Pot for a turkey breast?

It’s super easy and makes a wonderful meal in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. It makes the juiciest turkey meat I’ve ever had and I don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen.

Really, it just takes the stress off the day with appetizers, side dishes, and desserts, and then the turkey being the star of the show – it’s a lot!

Using the instant pot just makes the day so much simpler and more relaxing for everyone. Plus, I can spend more time with desserts. 😉

How to make turkey gravy in the Instant Pot:

To make turkey gravy, drain the drippings through a sieve to catch the onions and garlic. If you want a heartier flavor, you can press the onions and garlic through the sieve and into the gravy.

Add 2 cups of the stock back into the Instant Pot. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water and whisk. Saute until it thickens.

You can use the rest of the stock for turkey soup later. Just put it in a ziploc bag once it has cooled and freeze it for up to 3 months. To use it in soups for winter, just thaw and add your favorite ingredients.

overhead shot of instant pot turkey breast

What to serve with this turkey breast:

This Corn Chowder is a wonderful starter for any special meal. It’s made with fresh corn, sweet onions, tender potatoes, fresh thyme and bits of crispy bacon.

These Dairy-free Mashed Potatoes are creamy and rich and include tricks so you never make gummy mashed potatoes again.

This Tuscan-style Panzanella Salad is a hearty bread salad loaded with fresh tomatoes, spicy arugula, crunchy cucumbers, sweet red onions and zesty capers.

For other Instant Pot recipes, you can try these rich and creamy Instant Pot Potatoes Colcannon or this Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip to start.

For dessert, this Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cake is terrific with Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting. Or for an elegant mini dessert, you could try this Cheesecake Mousse or a more traditional Pumpkin Pudding.

I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot Turkey Breast dinner. If you make it, I would love to see how it turns out. Please snap a pic and tag #fooddoodlesrecipes so I can easily find them.

5 from 1 vote
hand on plate with turkey
Instant Pot Turkey Breast
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
 
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, turkey breast
Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
Optional bed of veggies:
  • 2 large onions quartered
  • 1 medium Russet potato
  • 3 large carrots cut into 1.5” slices
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1.5” slices
For the turkey breast:
  • 1 ½ cups (355 grams) chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) butter, room temp
  • 3 large cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 3-pound (1360-gram) skin-on, boneless turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put the trivet insert in the pot of the Instant Pot.

  2. Add the chicken stock. If using the optional bed of veggies, add them in an even layer so that the turkey breast can sit on them.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme together.

  4. Dry the turkey with a paper towel. Carefully lift the skin away from the meat and rub the herb butter between the skin and the meat.

  5. Drizzle the olive oil on the skin and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub it all over the skin.

  6. Put the breast in the pot with the skin side up.

  7. Attach the lid. Make sure the valve is on the “sealing” position.

  8. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook, manual mode for 35 minutes.

  9. When it's done cooking, let it naturally release for 15 minutes. Then switch the valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure.

  10. Remove the breast from the Instant Pot. If you want to brown the skin, transfer the breast to a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes or until it's crisp enough for your liking. Keep a close eye on it because things burn quickly under the broiler!

  11. Let the turkey sit for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

  12. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anaiah October 18, 2021 at 07:08

Oh my goodness, this instant pot turkey breast was such a time saver and soooo easy to make. I love how flavorful and juicy it was. It turned out perfectly!

Reply

2 Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer October 17, 2021 at 21:32

I love making turkey breast this way! It’s so easy and always comes out super moist. I love the instructions you give also about bone-in or boneless!

Reply

3 NATALIA October 17, 2021 at 19:54

What a great recipe to make for my family! Tender and flavorful meat is just what they like, specially turkey. Definitely going to give this a go, thank you so much for the recipe!

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4 silvia October 17, 2021 at 18:41

Beautiful recipe. The turkey is moist and delicious. I love using my Instant Pot, it really makes my life easier.

Reply

5 Chandice Probst October 17, 2021 at 16:06

Oh my, who would’ve ever thought the instant pot would be the place to make Thanksgiving turkey! Super moist and so much quicker! Thank you for this great recipe!

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6 Julia October 17, 2021 at 00:23

Turkey breast can be sooo finicky, and definitely come out try. Loved using the Instant Pot (maybe it’s because it keeps the moisture in), but this was delicious and very moist. Great flavors.

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7 Jacqueline Debono October 15, 2021 at 11:49

This is a great Christmas lunch recipe for a small number. Not sure how many we are going to be but will save this as it’s possible there will be only 6 of us!

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8 Liz October 14, 2021 at 22:59

This sounds delicious! Love using my Instant Pot!

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9 Heather October 13, 2021 at 19:06

This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving turkey but don’t want to cook a whole one & the fresh herbs are amazing

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10 Kathryn October 13, 2021 at 17:33

Wow I didn’t know you could make turkey in the IP. This will be so helpful for Thanksgiving! Love easy and delicious recipes like this, thanks!

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11 Bernice October 12, 2021 at 19:23

Great post!! I always head down to the grocery store after Thanksgiving to grab the turkey parts on sale. We freeze them so I can have my turkey dinner all year round. This would be great for the three of us!

Reply

12 Cathleen October 12, 2021 at 03:52

Wow, I am definitely trying this for Thanksgiving!! Thank you so much for the recipe, bookmarked to make during the holidays 🙂

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