Effortlessly prepare the juiciest, most flavorful, tender turkey breast with this easy recipe for Instant Pot Turkey Breast.
When it comes to easy recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner, it doesn't get much easier than making a turkey breast in the Instant Pot.
But easy does not mean sacrificing flavor! This recipe for Instant Pot Turkey Breast is made with butter and fresh herbs and the moist heat of the Instant Pot ensures the juiciest turkey breast you have ever had!
Reasons to Love Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- Impressive Results. The moist heat from the instant pot perfectly cooks the turkey, without drying out the meat, while the homemade herb butter infuses the turkey with flavor. Finished with a rich gravy, Instant Pot Turkey Breast is not only easy to make but also delivers delicious, juicy turkey.
- Time-Saver. The Instant Pot prepares turkey breast in a fraction of the time it would take in the oven or the slow cooker.
- Frees Up Oven Space. For a holiday feast, we often need all the space in the oven we can get. Cooking a turkey breast in the Instant Pot frees up space in the oven for things like Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potato Casserole, and Classic Bread Stuffing
- Perfect for a Holiday Meal or Sunday Supper. Turkey Breast is an obvious choice for a smaller Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but easy enough to make for a cozy Sunday Supper.
Notes on Ingredients
- Turkey Breast: This recipe is designed for a bone-in turkey breast. The bone will help keep the turkey moist and flavorful.
- Compound Butter: A compound butter is simply butter mixed with flavorings or herbs of choice. For this turkey breast recipe, I combine unsalted butter with fresh minced rosemary, fresh thyme leaves, salt, and pepper, as those are classic pairings for turkey.
- Stock: If you plan to make gravy, use low-sodium chicken or turkey stock as the cooking liquid. If you are skipping the gravy, water will work.
- Onion and Celery: Adding onion and celery to the turkey breast cavity is optional, but will help flavor the meat.
- Ingredients for Optional Turkey Gravy: If you would like to make gravy with the cooking liquid, you will need butter, flour, dry white wine, salt, and pepper.
Size of Turkey Breast
In my experience, an instant pot can hold the following sized turkey breasts:
- For a 6-quart Instant Pot: 5-6.5 pounds
- For an 8-quart Instant Pot: 7-8.5 pounds
How to Cook a Turkey Breast in the Instant Pot
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Make sure your Turkey Breast Fits. This may sound obvious, but the most important step to properly cooking a turkey breast inside an instant pot is to be sure it fits! I recommend placing the turkey breast, while still in its packaging, inside the instant pot on top of the metal trivet/rack to be sure the lid will fit and close properly. Don't worry about your turkey breast extending past the max fill line in your pressure cooker, this is one time that is okay!
Step Two: Season the Turkey Breast. Instead of rubbing the butter over the surface of the turkey breast, it is best to gently loosen the skin on the turkey breast and rub the herb butter underneath the skin. The butter will melt into the meat of the turkey as it cooks and gives it an incredible flavor.
Step Three: Pressure Cook. There are four key things to remember when pressure cooking a turkey breast in the Instant Pot.
- Place the turkey breast meat side down on the inner rack. That is so the juices flow into the meat, keeping the turkey breast super juicy.
- Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes per pound. In all my experience with turkey breast, cooking for 6 minutes per pound yields turkey that is between 162-165 degrees F (it will reach 165 degrees F after resting.)
- Let the pressure release for at least 10 minutes. Any time you cook any poultry it is crucial to keep the meat tender.
- Let the meat rest for an additional 10 minutes before slicing. This will help to keep the turkey breast juicy.
Step Four: Broil (Optional). If you would like your Instant Pot Turkey Breast to have crispy skin or a golden brown appearance, place the cooked turkey breast on the baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and broil until golden.
Step Five: Make Gravy (Optional). If desired, you can easily make turkey gravy using the cooking liquid right inside the Instant Pot after the turkey breast has cooked and is resting. You will simply use the saute function to prepare the gravy, just as you would on the stovetop.
Storing Leftover Turkey Breast
- Refrigerate: Leftover Turkey Breast can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Freeze leftover cooked turkey in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat: Place sliced leftover turkey in a heat-safe container and pour hot broth or stock over it. This will warm the turkey up without drying it out.
- Recipes Using Leftovers: Leftover Instant Pot Turkey Breast is great to use for a Panera Turkey Sandwich, Turkey Club Wrap, Turkey Tetrazzini, Instant Pot Turkey Noodle Soup, or Southwest Turkey Soup.
Yes! First, be sure to check for any packet of frozen gravy inside the cavity of the turkey breast. If so, run under cold tap water to loosen and discard, as you do not want to cook the turkey with any plastic packets inside the cavity of the turkey breast. Skip the herb butter, season with poultry seasoning or salt and pepper, and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes per pound.
According to the USDA, Turkey Breast needs to reach 165 degrees F to be safe to consume. If after pressure cooking your turkey breast is not at 162-165 degrees F when using a digital meat thermometer, don't panic. Return the lid to the instant pot, seal the venting knob, and cook for an additional 5 minutes with 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
If your turkey will not fit in the instant pot using the rack, you can cook directly inside the inner pot. However, do not place the turkey breast meat side down in the pressure cooker, as this could cause a burn notice due to the compound butter under the turkey skin. Instead, cook meat side up OR skip the compound butter.
If you have a small whole turkey, this recipe will work the exact same way--cook for 6 minutes per pound on high pressure. If your turkey won't fit in your Instant Pot, use my recipe for cooking a whole turkey in the oven.
If you would like to brine this turkey breast before cooking, follow my Turkey Brine recipe. You can skip the herb butter if you opt to brine the turkey breast, as the brine will give it plenty of flavor.
More Thanksgiving Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Honey Baked Ham
- Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Instant Pot Stuffing
- Instant Pot Creamed Corn
I hope you enjoy this delicious, juicy Instant Pot Turkey Breast and I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Turkey Breast
For the Turkey Breast
- 1 to 1½ cups chicken or turkey stock see notes
- 1 (5-6 pound) turkey breast bone in
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ tablespoon rosemary chopped
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper divided
- 1 yellow onion peeled and cut in half
- 2 stalks celery
For the Turkey Gravy
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup dry white wine optional
- 1-2 cups turkey drippings
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
For the Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- In a small bowl, combine the butter with Mix together the butter with rosemary, thyme, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper until well combined.
- Loosen the skin on the turkey breast using your hand. Rub the prepared herb butter underneath the skin of the turkey breast.
- Season outside of turkey with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
- Pour 1 cup of stock into the inner pot of a 6-quart pressure cooker for a 6-quart instant pot and 1½ cups for an 8-quart instant pot. Place the rack or trivet inside the inner pot.
- Place the seasoned turkey breast on the trivet (rack) inside the inner pot, meat side down. Place the onion halves and celery stick into the cavity of the turkey breast.
- Close the lid on the instant pot. Be sure the vent knob is pointed towards sealed. Hit the manual or pressure cook button and set it to cook on high pressure for 6 minutes per pound.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release for at least 10 minutes naturally, then release any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and test the turkey breast with a digital thermometer to be sure the meat has reached at least 162℉. (The turkey breast will continue to cook as it rests and needs to reach 165℉.) If it is not fully cooked, return the lid to the instant pot, seal the venting knob, and cook for an additional 5 minutes with 10 minutes natural pressure release.
- Remove the turkey breast from the instant pot, it place on a cutting board, and tent it with foil. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
- If you desire golden, crispy skin on the turkey, place the cooked turkey breast on a baking sheet. Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn, and brown up the skin of the turkey breast.
For Turkey Gravy (Optional)
- Strain cooking liquid from instant pot and reserve.
- Return the inner pot back to the Instant Pot. Hit saute, add the butter, and let the butter melt. Once melted, whisk in the flour to form a thick paste. Let cook for 1 minute.
- Add in dry white wine and whisk well. Then slowly add ½ cup reserved cooking liquid to the instant pot and whisk well. Allow the gravy to bubble and thicken, adding more cooking liquid as needed to reach desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, and serve with turkey.
This post was originally published in 2017 but was updated with new tips and a video in 2020.