How to Cook a Turkey Breast in an Instant Pot?

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How to Cook a Turkey Breast in an Instant Pot? Cooking a turkey breast in an Instant Pot is more than a mere convenience; it’s a culinary strategy that savvy cooks employ for a result that’s both succulent and time-saving. With the holiday season looming or perhaps just a desire for a homely, yet delectable meal, mastering the Instant Pot turkey breast is an essential skill for the modern gourmet.

Setup: The Instant Pot Advantage

The setup for cooking a turkey breast in an Instant Pot is straightforward, making it accessible even for those less experienced in the kitchen. Begin by prepping your turkey with a brush of olive oil and a robust seasoning of salt and pepper. Some choose to nestle the turkey atop a bed of aromatic vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery, creating a natural rack and infusing the turkey with additional flavors as it cooks​​.

For those who appreciate a more pronounced sear, the Instant Pot’s ‘Saute’ function comes in handy. Browning the turkey breast skin side down until it reaches a golden hue not only enhances flavor but also contributes to an appealing presentation​​.

Flavors: Unleashing the Potential

An Instant Pot doesn’t just cook; it infuses. Combine butter, herb seasonings, and salt to create a rich under-skin paste, which when applied to the turkey, permeates the meat with moisture and taste. The pressure cooking process intensifies these flavors, ensuring that every slice is as succulent as the last​​.

Time: A Fraction of the Traditional

Gone are the days of long roasting hours. With an Instant Pot, a fresh turkey breast only needs about 25 minutes on high pressure to reach the perfect tenderness​​. If starting from frozen, the process takes longer, around 65 minutes, but it’s still a fraction of the time compared to oven roasting​​.

Extra Features: Beyond Basics

The Instant Pot isn’t just for cooking a straightforward turkey breast. Its versatility allows for a range of culinary creativity. For example, after cooking, the sauté feature can be used to make a flavorful gravy directly in the pot with the drippings, thickened with a bit of flour or cornstarch.

What is the Difference?

The primary difference between the Instant Pot and traditional methods lies in the cooking time and moisture retention. The sealed environment of the Instant Pot traps steam, which not only cooks the turkey breast faster but also helps it remain juicy and flavorful.

Which is Better?

The “better” method depends on your priorities. If you value speed and juiciness, the Instant Pot is unrivaled. However, for those who prefer the classic crispy skin of an oven-roasted turkey, traditional methods might be preferred.

Remember, regardless of the method, a good set of knives like those from the Ninja Never Dull Knives: The Best Sharp Knives You Will Ever Own collection will be essential for carving your perfectly cooked turkey breast. And while the Instant Pot handles the main course, consider using a Ninja Double Oven for your side dishes, or perhaps try grilling some vegetables with the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill for a smoky flavor.

As for the turkey itself, pairing it with Finger Foods: Recipes, FAQ, and Delicious Ideas can make for an exciting and varied meal. And if you’re curious about incorporating air frying into your cooking repertoire, consider exploring the Best Stainless Steel Air Fryer for a crispy complement to your succulent turkey breast.

In summary, the Instant Pot is a formidable kitchen tool that offers a combination of speed, flavor, and versatility, capable of making a turkey breast centerpiece that is both easy to prepare and delightful to eat.

Detailed Questions

How can I ensure my turkey breast is moist when cooking it in an Instant Pot?

Preparation: To guarantee a moist turkey breast, brine it prior to cooking, or rub it with a mixture of butter and herbs under the skin to lock in moisture.

Liquid Use: Always add broth or water to the Instant Pot before cooking. This creates steam and pressure, which helps to cook the turkey breast evenly and retain its natural juices.

Natural Release: After the cooking cycle ends, use the natural release method. Quick releasing the pressure can cause the meat to tense up, potentially squeezing out moisture.

Resting Time: Let the turkey breast rest after cooking before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring that each slice is moist.

  • Brine or use a butter-herb mixture for moisture.
  • Add broth or water to the pot for steam and moisture.
  • Utilize the natural release method after cooking.
  • Rest the turkey breast before slicing to redistribute juices.

What are the best spices or herbs to use for a turkey breast in an Instant Pot?

Herbs: Rosemary, thyme, and sage are classic herbs that pair beautifully with turkey, giving it a traditional flavor.

Spices: Paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder can add depth and warmth to the flavor profile, enhancing the natural taste of the turkey.

Freshness: Whenever possible, use fresh herbs and spices. The high-pressure environment of the Instant Pot amplifies the flavors, so fresh ingredients can make a significant difference.

Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to try out different combinations or incorporate citrus zest, such as lemon or orange, for a unique twist.

  • Classic herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage are ideal.
  • Paprika, garlic, and onion powder add depth to the flavor.
  • Fresh herbs and spices are more flavorful under pressure.
  • Experiment with citrus zest for a unique flavor profile.

What’s the difference between cooking a fresh vs. frozen turkey breast in an Instant Pot?

Cooking Time: A fresh turkey breast cooks quicker in an Instant Pot, usually taking about 25 minutes on high pressure. A frozen turkey breast requires more time, about 65 minutes on high pressure, to cook through properly​​​​.

Preparation: A fresh turkey breast allows for more seasoning options, like a herb rub or marinating. With a frozen turkey breast, you’re limited to seasoning on the exterior unless it was pre-seasoned before freezing.

Texture: A fresh turkey breast tends to have a slightly better texture, as it has not undergone freezing and thawing, which can affect the muscle fibers and moisture content.

Convenience: Cooking a frozen turkey breast in an Instant Pot is incredibly convenient as it eliminates the need for thawing, making it a great last-minute option.

  • Fresh turkey breasts cook faster and can be seasoned more variably.
  • Frozen turkey breasts take longer to cook but offer convenience.
  • Fresh turkey may have a better texture due to no freeze-thaw cycle.
  • A frozen turkey is a good last-minute option, requiring no thawing.

Can I make gravy from the drippings of a turkey breast cooked in an Instant Pot?

Gravy Creation: Yes, you can make gravy directly in the Instant Pot using the ‘Saute’ function. After removing the cooked turkey breast, measure the drippings and add flour or cornstarch to thicken.

Flavor Intensity: The drippings from the turkey breast will be concentrated and full of flavor, perfect for creating a rich and savory gravy.

Deglazing: Use a bit of wine or broth to deglaze the pot before adding your thickening agent, scraping up any browned bits for extra flavor.

Consistency Control: You can control the consistency of your gravy by adjusting the amount of flour or cornstarch and simmering time, ensuring it’s perfect for your preferences.

  • Use ‘Saute’ function to make gravy from turkey drippings.
  • Drippings provide a concentrated flavor base for gravy.
  • Deglaze with wine or broth for additional flavor.
  • Adjust thickening agent and simmering for desired consistency.

What should I do if my turkey breast isn’t cooking evenly in the Instant Pot?

Trivet Positioning: Ensure the turkey breast is placed on a trivet or a rack to promote even heat distribution around the entire piece of meat.

Size Consistency: If the turkey breast is thicker in some parts, consider butterflying it to create an even thickness throughout.

Manual Intervention: Halfway through the cooking process, you can open the Instant Pot (after quick releasing the pressure) and rotate the turkey breast to help it cook more evenly.

Thermometer Check: Use a meat thermometer to check different parts of the turkey breast for doneness, adjusting the cooking time as necessary.

  • Ensure even placement on a trivet for uniform cooking.
  • Butterfly the turkey breast if it’s uneven in thickness.
  • Rotate the turkey midway through cooking if necessary.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for even cooking.


How much water should I add to the Instant Pot for a turkey breast? Add water until just below the trivet line, typically around ¾ cup for a 6-Qt Instant Pot​​.

Can I cook a seasoned turkey breast in an Instant Pot? Yes, seasoning a turkey breast before cooking in an Instant Pot is recommended for flavor.

Is it necessary to brown the turkey breast before pressure cooking? Browning is optional but adds flavor and improves the appearance of the turkey breast​​.

How do I know when my turkey breast is fully cooked in the Instant Pot? The turkey breast is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Can I cook a stuffed turkey breast in an Instant Pot? Yes, but ensure the stuffing and turkey reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

What do I do if my Instant Pot turkey breast is undercooked? Return the turkey to the Instant Pot and cook for an additional few minutes on high pressure.

How long should I let my turkey breast rest after cooking in an Instant Pot? Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Can I use chicken broth instead of water in the Instant Pot for more flavor? Yes, chicken broth can add more flavor to the turkey breast as it cooks.

What can I do if my Instant Pot turkey breast skin isn’t crispy? For a crispier skin, place the cooked turkey breast under a broiler for a few minutes.

Can I use the ‘Slow Cook’ function on my Instant Pot for a turkey breast? While possible, the ‘Pressure Cook’ function is preferred for a quicker and more moist turkey breast.