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Award Winning Instant Pot Turkey Recipe [+ Video]

16 Reviews

Your Thanksgiving turkey is just 30 minutes away. Yes, you read that correctly! You can make a juicy, perfect Thanksgiving turkey in no time with this Award Winning Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe.

a photo of sliced instant pot turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes all on a black plate

The Best Turkey Recipe in the World

Our family usually just eats the turkey breast, and we are often doing our own thing on Thanksgiving since everyone is so spread out in our family. So making just the turkey breast in an Instant Pot is the perfect amount of food for us with enough leftovers to make those blessed leftover turkey sandwiches. You know the ones I’m talking about! 

Plus, and this might be my favorite part, if you make this Instant Pot turkey breast, your oven is freed up to make all those delicious Thanksgiving sides. I have many Thanksgiving dinners under my belt, and it always becomes a little tricky getting everything done at the same time with everything warm and perfect.

Boom! Now your oven isn’t hogged up by the turkey all day! And you don’t have to be on constant turkey alert making sure it’s basted and not overdone or underdone. It’s a win-win!

It took us a while to get aboard the Instant Pot train.  We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just going to be a fad, and we wanted to test it ourselves on all sorts of different foods.  We have tried it on everything from applesauce to yogurt, with stops at cheesecake and chili in between. And we are IN LOVE with the Instant Pot. How did we live without it?!

This is the Instant Pot we prefer for our family of five. We love it for cooking poultry, and this Instant Pot turkey breast recipe is no exception! We’ve also created an Instant Pot Cheat Sheet that we use all the time now.

a photo of sliced instant pot turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes

Instant Pot Turkey Breast Ingredients

The beauty of this pressure cooker turkey recipe is that all you need is a little butter and a few fresh herbs to make this bird sing! It’s all the fresh herbs and butter slathered all over it that make this Instant Pot turkey so juicy and flavorful. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Instant Pot Thanksgiving turkey breast: 

  • Boneless turkey breast
  • Butter
  • Fresh sage and thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic salt
  • Orange juice

And to make gravy from the turkey drippings, you’ll need a little water and cornstarch as well. 

Can I Season This Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Other Herbs? 

Of course! So many different fresh herbs can be used to flavor a turkey, but we used just thyme and sage in this turkey breast recipe to keep things simple. If you’re looking to amp up the flavor in this pressure cooker turkey breast recipe, here are a few other fresh herbs you could use as well:

  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

a photo of a raw turkey breast bound with twine and lathered in butter and fresh herbs

How to Make Instant Pot Turkey Breast

Let’s jump into this award winning recipe! Here are the basic steps for making turkey in an Instant Pot: 

  1. Mix the softened butter and seasonings until smooth.  
  2. Rub half the butter mixture under the turkey skin, then rub the remaining butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey breast.
  3. Sear the turkey breast on all sides. You can do this either in a hot skillet or in your Instant Pot on the “Saute” function.  
  4. Stick a trivet in the Instant Pot and pour all the butter and juices from the sautéing into the Instant Pot. 
  5. Add the orange juice to the Instant Pot, then place the turkey on the trivet.
  6. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, ensure the valve is set to seal, and cook it on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  7. Allow a 10-15 minute natural release, then stick the Instant Pot turkey breast in a baking pan and place it under the oven broiler for a few minutes so it can get all crispy golden again.  
  8. Remove the turkey from the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for up to 10 minutes while you make the turkey gravy. 

How Long to Cook Turkey in an Instant Pot

There’s no math needed here, woo hoo!  It doesn’t matter if your turkey breast is three pounds or six pounds, the 30-minute cook time is going to get the job done perfectly. 

Can I Make Instant Pot Frozen Turkey Breast? 

Why, yes you can! Although I would strongly recommend making this pressure cooker turkey breast with a thawed breast, it can also be made using a frozen turkey breast. You won’t be able to get that butter and herbs slathered under the skin, but sometimes you wake up Thanksgiving morning and you realize your turkey is still in the freezer. Don’t panic, friends!  

Just follow the same directions listed below for a regular Instant Pot turkey breast, but up the cook time to 1 hour.

a photo of a cooked turkey breast bound with twine in an Instant Pot sitting on top of all the juices that have cooked off

How to Make Turkey Gravy From Drippings

I don’t know why, but making homemade turkey gravy from the drippings often intimidates people. You don’t want it lumpy or too thick or too thin, as the gravy is a critical of any Thanksgiving dinner. But fear not, there is no need for intimidation here. You’ve got this!

Here’s how I like to make homemade turkey gravy using the leftover pan drippings: 

  1. Add the drippings to a skillet that has been heated to medium heat.
  2. Make a quick slurry of water and cornstarch by whisking them together in a small bowl.
  3. When the drippings are simmering, add the cornstarch mixture a little at a time until your gravy is the consistency you want. (Make sure you are whisking constantly. That will help you avoid lumps.)
  4. Serve that liquid gold all over anything and everything you can!

Pro Tip: This gravy separator is pretty much the greatest invention ever! It saves all the yummy drippings while separating out the fat.

How to Reheat Gravy

Leftover turkey gravy can be reheated on the stove over medium-low heat. Pop a lid on the saucepan and add a splash of milk to loosen up the gravy, if needed. 

a photo of sliced instant pot turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes all on a black plate

How to Reheat Turkey Breast

To reheat this Instant Pot turkey breast, you’ll want to place it in a baking dish and cover it tightly with tin foil. Then, heat the turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. If your leftover turkey seems a bit dry, you may want to add a splash of broth or pan drippings into the baking dish before covering it with tin foil. 

Can You Freeze Turkey Breast?

Yes, absolutely! As long as the Instant Pot turkey breast was completely cooked through, you can freeze it and enjoy it on another day. Frozen turkey should last up to 4 months, if stored correctly. Make sure it’s securely wrapped and zipped tight in a Ziplock bag. Or better yet, use the Food Saver!

a photo of sliced turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes

Tips for Making Instant Pot Turkey Breast

When searing the turkey breast, we prefer using a skillet to get the job done since we’ve noticed that out Instant Pot doesn’t get as hot as the skillet does. But if you want to keep this a one-pot recipe, you’re welcome to sear the turkey breast in your Instant Pot. 

I know it’s tempting to slice and serve this Instant Pot Thanksgiving turkey right away, but you must let the turkey breast rest on your counter for 10 minutes before slicing it. Letting meat rest allows all the juices to redistribute and keeps the meat from coming out dry. If you cut meat right away, all the juices come pouring out and your meat isn’t going to be as moist as it could be. Patience — it’s worth it!

If you wind up with leftover turkey (the dream!), we highly recommend making the Ultimate Leftover Turkey Club! But if you want something quick and simple, we have a friend that swears by turkey jalapeño sandwiches. To make one, grab a leftover roll (and we pray there are many leftover rolls!), cut it in half, slather a little mayo on each side, add a few pickled jalapenos, and finish it off with a big helping of turkey.  

A photo of a sandwich sliced in half with one half in the background and the other half showing the profile of the sandwich. The sandwich has toased bread, turkey, cranberry sauce, melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, and bacon. The sandwich is sitting on a piece of parchment papger on a table.

More Thanksgiving Recipes: 

Looking for a few different Thanksgiving recipes to go with this Award Winning Instant Pot Turkey? Here are just a few to get you started:

To see all of our family dinner recipes, head here! These are a few of our favorites…

More Decadent MAIN DISHES You Must Try:

a photo of sliced turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes all on a black plate

Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe

3.75 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 -8
You can make a juicy, perfect Thanksgiving turkey in no time with this Award Winning Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe. Use the drippings to make gravy!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Turkey Breast boneless, skin on, tied with butcher twine
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter softened
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Sage chopped
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice

For the Gravy

  • Drippings from the turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 Tablespoon Water

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine the butter and seasonings until smooth.
  • Gently, without removing the twine, slide your fingers under the skin and lift the skin up a little.
  • Spread half of the butter mixture under the skin and on the underside of the meat.
  • Spread remaining butter over the skin.
  • Heat a skillet to medium high heat or push saute on the instant pot. See note*
  • Add the turkey, skin side down and cook until golden.
  • Repeat on all sides.
  • Place a trivet in the instant pot and pour the remaining butter and juices from the saute pan into the instant pot.
  • Add the orange juice.
  • Add the turkey onto the trivet.
  • Place the lid on, making sure the valve is set to seal and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
  • Allow a natural release for 10-15 minutes and then place the breast under the broiler to brown and crisp again.
  • Remove from the oven and tent with foil for up to 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy.

For the Gravy

  • Pour the drippings into this gravy separator.
  • Heat a skillet to medium heat and pour in the drippings, stopping at the fat.
  • Whisk together the water and cornstarch.
  • Once the drippings are simmering, add a drizzle of the slurry in (cornstarch mixture) until desired consistency, whisking continuously.
  • Remove from heat and serve with turkey and these mashed potatoes.

Notes

We've found that the instant pot doesn't get as hot as a pan, so it goes faster to just use a skillet for the browning.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe
Amount Per Serving (2 slices)
Calories 174 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 786mg34%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 10g20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a photo of sliced turkey breast drizzled with gravy and garnished with fresh herbs on a bed of mashed potatoes all on a black plate

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

38 comments

  • This turkey looks amazing! So juicy and full of flavor. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
    • It is so good! You’ll love it!

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  • This certainly is a much easier way to make a turkey! Thanks for the recipe!

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    • We are obsessed with it! Thanks Kristen!

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  • I love how easy this delicious recipe looks… I can’t wait to try it!

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    • I know you will love it!!

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  • I use my Instant Pot at least once a wekk. So happy to find a recipe for turkey breast!

    • You’re going to love this Christin!!

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  • A few comments here:

    1. In my area I bought a fresh turkey breast at Publix (bone in) and asked the meat department to debone it and tie it up. After the bone was taken out my turkey breast was shaped much like the one pictured.

    2. Regarding the “Award Winning” title and all the grief the authors are taking I chose this recipe because I cooked their “Award Winnig Chili” recipe and it was great. In fact I entered it in a contest at my church and tied for first place. It is possible they used “Award Winning” in a more generic sense so I am not going to get hung up on the verbiage.

    3. The breast I bought was about 3.5 lbs. and had a pop-up timer in it. I found 30 minutes at high pressure only brought this to 140 ° so I had to re-pressure the pot twice for 5 minutes at a time to get it done. I will adjust the time to be somewhere between 35-40 minutes the next time I cook it. Even with all the stop and starts at the end the turkey came out pretty darn good. I look forward for it to be even better the next time.

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    • Thank you Lee! I appreciate all you feedback and you support! I’m glad you enjoyed it even it took a little longer to get there!

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  • Do you use orange juice from concentrate? Or fresh squeezed? 

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    • You can use whichever one you want. Whatever taste you prefer!

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      • Made it tonight for dinner and it was awesome!
        We were traveling over Thanksgiving, so no big turkey meal for us, but I still wanted turkey. 🙂
        Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Help! I don’t have a gravy separator and I wanted to make this today. Any suggestions? Also does turkey have to be frozen or thawed when going in the instapot? Just got mine and I can’t wait to use it 🙂 happy thanksgiving!!

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  • The breast looks so much like the “Jenny-O” brand of turkey tenderloin we have here in Georgia Krogers! I wonder if I could just use a couple of turkey tenderloins and tie it so it would stay pretty? Have you tried putting stuffing in the breast and then having it tied? One of your pics inspired me since it looked like it was stuffed in the middle with something yum! 

    • Reply
    • We haven’t tried just doing a tenderloin or stuffing it. If you try it, we would love to hear how it goes!!

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  • Hi! If you want to double the recipe and cook two breasts, does that change the cook time?

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    • Hi Tanya! Two breasts won’t fit height wise in our Instant Pot, so we’ve never been able to test that.

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  • I think you have convinced me that I need an Instant Pot! This turkey looks over the top amazing and you are right about the importance of the gravy!!

    • Reply
    • We are all in on the Instant Pot! Everyone should have one!! You’ll have to let me know if you get one and the first recipe you cook in it!

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  • Might consider this recipe, but others have asked questions that the author hasn’t bothered to answer so I’ll keep looking. Nothing in the blog states that this recipe won any awards and the author isn’t owning up. Think I’ll look for something else. 

    • Reply
    • I agree. It’s sketchy to name it “award winning”.

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  • I just got an Instant Pot and have only used it once so far.  I’m so excited to try this recipe! 
    Thank you!! 

    • Reply
    • Enjoy!! We would love to hear what you think!

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  • Jumping on the “What brand of bone in turkey breast is wrapped in twine?” bandwagon. I’ve made my turkey breast in my large slow cooker the last several years and it turns out nearly perfect, but I have recipes to make in the crockpot this year and would love to use my Instant Pot.

    • Reply
    • Okay, on rereading this, I’m a dope. It says boneless, not bone in. Might have to give this a try. Deboning my turkey breast is a chore I don’t want to have to do this year since I work on Thanksgiving.

      • Reply
      • I’m so sorry I missed this somehow! Yes, boneless! I bought it at a local grocery store here called Meiers. The butcher wrapped it up for me.

  • What award did it win?!

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  • Such a hearty plate for Thanksgiving 😍 Btw, I’m curious about why you call this recipes award winning 😉
    – Natalie

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  • This looks SO good. I don’t even like turkey that much and this looks good. The only problem is that I don’t have an insta pot. Is there a way I can make it without one?

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  • Hi – I have the same question as the other commenters. Also I have never seen a turkey breast with butcher twine. Is that necessary? I have cooked a turkey breast for years and have never seen it look as your pictures (looks delicious) but mine were never boneless. I have to admit as well, I’ve been on the fence about buying an instant pot. This post might push me to do it! LOL

    • Reply
    • We LOVE our Instant Pot! I bought this one a local grocery store here and that’s how the butcher wrapped it. We find it contains everything better when it’s wrapped like that. If you can’t find one pre-wrapped, you can always tie a few strands of cooking twine around it.

      • Reply
  • Turkey breast looks awesome! I have 1 question did you use a boneless breast or bone in 1 more question how much did it weigh? Thanks .

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    • It is a boneless turkey breast, and ours was about 3 lbs.

      • Reply
  • Is that a bone-in or boneless breast? I’ve never seen one that cylindrical shape. Thanks.

    • Reply
    • Boneless! I bought it at a local grocery store here. They butchered it for me.

      • Reply

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