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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Make Instant Pot Turkey Breast – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation
Remove boneless turkey breast from packaging and rinse. Leave netting on.
STEP 2. Make rub
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).
Rub paste all over the turkey breast (photo 2).
STEP 3. Sear
Preheat a large skillet. Sear the turkey (2-3 minutes per side) until golden (photo 3).
STEP 4. Cook in Instant Pot
Place the trivet in the Instant Pot (photo 4). Pour in chicken broth (photo 5) .
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 5. Crisp skin (optional)
Remove the turkey from the Instant Pot and cut away the netting.
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 6. Make gravy (optional)
Make the gravy (if desired) and serve.
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.
Note: not all boneless turkey breasts have much skin so decide on this step based on the turkey your are cooking.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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Instant Pot Turkey Breast
For the turkey
- 1 3-pound boneless turkey breast
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
How to Prepare the Turkey:
- Remove all packaging from the turkey including gravy packet and wash well. Make sure to leave the netting on.
- In a small bowl, combine softened butter, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and use a fork to mix until all ingredients are combined into a rub.
- Using a clean hand or utensil, rub the butter mixture all over the turkey breast.
How to Cook the Turkey:
- Preheat a large heavy skillet to medium-high heat. Place the turkey in the pan and leave for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Repeat on all sides.
- Pour 2 cups broth into the Instant Pot and place in the trivet.
- Place the turkey breast on top of the trivet and secure the lid.
- Set the Instant Pot on HIGH PRESSURE for 30 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, allow to naturally release for about 5 minutes then manually release the remaining pressure.
- Carefully remove the turkey from the Instant Pot and remove the netting.
To Crisp the Turkey Skin:
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Heat the broiler in the oven.
- Place the turkey breast on the prepared pan and into the oven 4-inches below the broiler. Allow the skin to crisp for 1 1/2-2 minutes a side. Turn the turkey breast with tongs to brown on all sides. NOTE: watch closely so the skin does not burn.
How to prepare gravy:
- Once you have removed the turkey and trivet from your instant pot leaving only the drippings and broth, turn on the “sauté” function.
- Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk to combine and make a slurry.
- Add the cornstarch slurry into the liquid and whisk often for about 5-6 minutes until thickened. NOTE; will continue to thicken as it sits after cooking.
- Serve over turkey and enjoy!