Instant Pot Turkey Breast is easy, fast, full of flavor and so juicy! A special trick crisps the skin and makes this a fantastic way to enjoy turkey any time of the year.
Most everyone loves turkey. The time and cost for roasting a whole turkey often reserves it for the holidays only.
With this Turkey Breast recipe, you can make it in a fraction of the time all year long!
The recipe combines a bold flavor rub and searing the turkey breast before pressure cooking for excellent results!
A fast trick crisps the skin after cooking for that mouthwatering result we all love.
A simple gravy can be made with the cooking juices for a complete main dish in a flash (instructions included).
I get emails from readers every year before Thanksgiving seeking alternatives to roasting a whole turkey.
For a variety of reasons (time, cost, size) it’s not a good fit for them.
This recipe uses the magic of an electric pressure cooker to create the familiar turkey flavors we love much more easily and affordably.
How to Make Instant Pot Turkey Breast – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Remove boneless turkey breast from packaging and rinse. Leave netting on.
STEP 2: In a small bowl combine the butter, smoked paprika, rosemary thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Using a fork mash all ingredients together into a paste (photo 1).
STEP 3: Rub paste all over the turkey breast (photo 2).
STEP 4: Preheat a large skillet. Sear the turkey (2-3 minutes per side) until golden (photo 3).
STEP 5: Place the trivet in the Instant Pot (photo 4). Pour in chicken broth (photo 5) .
STEP 6: Place turkey breast on the trivet. Seal the Instant Pot and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 30 minutes (photo 6). Follow with a 5 minute NATURAL RELEASE; then manually release remaining pressure (photo 7).
STEP 7: Remove the turkey from the Instant Pot and cut away the netting.
STEP 8: TO CRISP THE SKIN (optional): put the cooked turkey breast on a rimmed baking sheet. Place 4-inches under the broiler in the oven. Allow to cook 1 ½-2 minutes a side to crisp skin (watch closely to avoid burning).
STEP 9: Make the gravy (if desired) and serve.
The Delicious Rub
The delicious coating includes bold spices and fresh herbs:
- Smoked Paprika
- Fresh Rosemary
- Fresh Thyme
- Garlic Powder
The flavors are big and bold. They penetrate the meat thanks to the searing and last through the pressure cooking for a fantastic flavor.
Use a Thawed Turkey Breast
For this recipe using a thawed turkey breast will yield the best flavor results.
It’s possible to cook a boneless turkey breast from frozen in the Instant Pot.
The cooking time takes 50 minutes versus 30 minutes for a thawed boneless turkey breast.
Searing a frozen turkey breast doesn’t provide the same effect and therefore isn’t recommended for this recipe.
Searing the Turkey Breast
What is searing? It is a process of cooking meat at a high temperature to brown the exterior.
Searing forms a crust and seals the meat.
The step of searing seals the turkey breast helping to retain moisture.
The end result is completely tender and juicy meat.
The recipe calls for searing in a heavy skillet. This is to reach a high enough temperature to quickly sear the meat.
Searing CAN be done in the Instant Pot (on the Sauté function).
It may take longer to achieve the golden brown crust than is using a skillet however.
PRO TIP: When sauteing in the Instant Pot, be sure to scrape any browned bits of food off the Instant Pot bottom. Any food sticking to the Instant Pot can trigger a burn warning.
PRO TIP: How to Crisp the Skin after Cooking
This method of cooking ensures turkey that is incredibly moist and juicy.
It’s perfectly cooked after the cooking cycle. However, if you are a crispy skin lover I have a trick to take care of that!
Put the cooked turkey breast under the broiler for a few minutes a side to crisp the skin.
HOW TO TIPS:
- The turkey needs to be 4 inches below the broiler to avoid burning.
- It’s important to keep a close eye on the turkey breast while it cooked to avoid burning.
- Use tongs to rotate the turkey breast while broiling.
What Temperature Does the Turkey Need to Be?
The turkey breast should reach 165 degrees.
The temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees after it is removed from the Instant Pot.
After removing it or after crisping the skin allow to sit to ‘rest’ while you thicken the pan juices.
The best way to measure the internal temperature of the turkey breast is with an Instant Read thermometer.
Insert into the middle of the turkey to check the temperature.
Instant Pot Gravy
The flavor-packed cooking juices are delicious drizzled on the cooked juicy, cooked turkey slices.
Thickening Cooking Juices
To thicken the cooking juices slightly a ‘slurry’ is made of cornstarch and water.
The reason cornstarch isn’t added directly to the liquids is that it will clump.
This makes it difficult to mix into the liquids.
Once the slurry is added and mixed in, the Instant Pot is heated on the Sauté function. This allows the liquids to thicken.
As the mixture heats it will thicken. To thicken as with traditional turkey gravy the liquids would need to simmer for a while.
Instead I recommend some simmering until they thicken slightly.
Additional cornstarch could be added to make a more traditional thick gravy the this will also change the flavor.
Make It a Meal!
- Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Garlic
- Mashed Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Green Chiles
- Instant Pot Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
Conventional Thanksgiving Recipes
- Spicy Chorizo Sage Cornbread Dressing
- Fresh Green Beans with Bacon and Sliced Almonds
- French Green Bean Casserole
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Easy Roast Turkey – for a traditional turkey option
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Holiday Turkey Hash: the Perfect Leftover Turkey Recipe