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Instant Pot Turkey Breast | sweetpeasandsaffron.com


Quick and simple, this Instant Pot turkey breast is great to cook a smaller batch of turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas! With a dry brine, the turkey breast is juicy and flavored through with crispy skin. 

The Instant Pot is such a useful appliance during the holidays. Whether you use it to free up space on your stove top to cook mashed potatoes, or your oven to make honey glazed carrots, it cooks your food quickly and in a hands off way.

close up shot of sliced instant pot turkey breast on platter

This Instant Pot turkey breast recipe is juicy, flavorful and much easier to prep than a full bird. I think you’re going to love it!

Reasons you’ll ♡ Instant Pot turkey breast

  • it makes a small batch, great for small celebrations
  • it frees up space in your oven (though you will need to broil it at the very end)
  • it’s flavorful, juicy and has crispy skin

Recipe video

Watch the video below to see how simple it is to cook Instant Pot turkey breast. It’s so simple! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

step by step instructions showing how to dry brine turkey breast

Start with a dry brine

This recipe took me 5 tries (!) to great, and the key to juicy and flavorful turkey is to conclude a 3 hour dry brining step. If you are modern to dry brining, it’s really super simple.

  1. Gather ingredients- for this recipe, you’ll need a 2-3 lb boneless turkey roast, 1/4 cup of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
  2. Open the turkey roast up- for the brine to effectively penetrate the turkey, it’s necessary to unroll the roast. Cut the twine off the roast and open it up to flatten out the two breasts. Place it in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
  3. Apply the dry brine- stir together the salt, brown sugar and pepper, then rub it generously all over both sides of the turkey.
  4. Refrigerate- place the baking dish into the fridge and allow to sit for 3-4 hours. This timing is the sweet spot; 2 hours is not quite long enough, but overnight was too salty.

Dry brining tips

  • salt- it’s exactly crucial that you use kosher salt and not table salt; otherwise the turkey will be too salty
  • gravy- due to the brine, the juices from the turkey will be too salty to make gravy. If gravy is a non negotiable, seek a recipe that does not conclude a brine (but then you’ll have to suffer with blander turkey meat 😉 )
  • turkey- make sure that you are not using a turkey which has already been brined; check the ingredients on the package and it should simply say ‘turkey breast’

step by step images showing how to cook turkey breast in the instant pot

Cooking it in the Instant Pot

After brining the turkey, you are alert to cook it!

  1. Rinse the turkey off + gather ingredients- after a 3-4 hour dry brine, rinse the turkey off under cold water in the sink. No need to dry. Gather 1 cup chicken stock, 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and 4 cloves of garlic.
  2. Set up the Instant Pot- in the base of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, place the chicken stock, rosemary and garlic. Place the trivet over these ingredients.
  3. Add the turkey breast + cook- add the turkey breast on top of the trivet, place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to the ‘sealing’ position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  4. Natural pressure release + check temperature- after the cooking cycle has completed in the Instant Pot, allow it to naturally depressurize for 10 minutes. Release the reamining pressure, and check the internal temperature of the turkey breast using an instant read thermometer. It should read 145-150°F *.
  5. Broil the turkey breast- the last step is important to obtain that golden, crispy skin. Transfer the turkey breast to a baking sheet and blot dry with a paper towel. Brush melted butter over the turkey breasts and roast under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, until skin is kind and crispy. Check the internal temperature again, it should be 165°F at this point.
  6. Rest the turkey breast- it’s exactly crucial that you rest the turkey breast for 15 minutes before carving it. This allows the juices to settle evenly through the turkey breast meat. If you cut it too early, the juices will run out onto the cutting board. Leave uncovered for crispy skin, or cover with a dish.

*we are going to continue cooking the turkey breast under the broiler to obtain it to 165°F.

Instant Pot tips

Models that work

This recipe was tested in both a 6 quart Instant Pot and an 8 quart Instant Pot and it works great in both, even with just 1 cup of cooking liquid. I have not tested in a mini, and don’t believe the turkey breast would fit. If you try, abandon us a comment below so we cognize how it goes!

10 minute natural pressure release

We do a 10 minute natural pressure release in this recipe. What this means is that we will let the Instant Pot sit for 10 minutes after the timer beeps. At this point, you can release any remaining pressure (though the pin may have already dropped).

For more information on fast versus natural pressure release, check out Instant Pot 101.

Broiling step

Broiling the turkey gets kind and crispy skin, and makes for a great presentation, however it is not necessary for flavor. If you’d like to skip this step, increase the cook time to 5 minutes/pound (10 minutes for 2 lbs, 15 minutes for 3 lbs). Check with an instant read thermometer and remove from the Instant Pot when it reaches 165°F.

Gravy

As mentioned above, because we use a dry brine in the recipe, the turkey juices will be too salty to make a gravy.

sliced turkey breast on cutting board

Slice the turkey across the grain

After resting the Instant Pot turkey breast for 15 minutes, you can slice and serve. Look for the grain in the turkey, and slice directly across it. This is a key step to juicy turkey meat; if you don’t slice it across the grain, the meat can be ragged and tough.

Bone in turkey breast

I have not been able to obtain my hands on a bone in turkey breast, which are larger and will likely require a longer cook time. I would proceed with the dry brine, but increase the cook time to 5 minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature, and if it is 145-150°F, proceed with the broiling step.

If you give it a try, we’d love to hear how it goes for you! Leave us a comment below.

Serve it with

platter with sliced instant pot turkey breast, rosemary and cranberries

More holiday recipes

Instant Pot Turkey Breast (Juicy with Crispy Skin!)

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Christmas, Thanksgiving, turkey

Calories: 143kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 8

Quick and simple, this Instant Pot turkey breast is great to cook a smaller batch of turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas! With a dry brine, the turkey breast is juicy and flavored through with crispy skin. 

Prep Time4 hrs 15 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Time to pressurize/depressurize20 mins

Total Time4 hrs 50 mins

Dry brine (4-5 hours before serving)

  • In a small bowl, stir together the salt, brown sugar and black pepper.

  • Cut the twine off the turkey breast roast and unroll the roast, laying the turkey breasts flat. Place in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.

  • Rub the dry brine generously over the roast, making sure you thoroughly coat both sides.

  • Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours.

Instant Pot (1 hour before serving)

  • In the stainless steel insert of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, place the chicken stock, rosemary and garlic. Place the trivet on top.

  • Rinse the dry brine off the turkey (no need to dry), and arrange skin side up on the trivet.

  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to ‘sealing’, and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.

  • Allow for a 10 minute natural pressure release: let the Instant Pot sit for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure by moving the steam release cope with carefully to the ‘venting’ position.

  • Check the internal temperature of the turkey by sticking an instant read thermometer into the thickest portion; it should read 145°F-155°F.

Broil

  • Position the top oven rack 4-6 inches from the top element. Pre-heat oven broiler for at least 5 minutes.

  • Carefully transfer the turkey breast roast to a baking sheet.

  • Blot with a paper towel to remove as much moisture from the turkey breast skin as possible. Brush with melted butter.

  • Set the baking sheet in the oven, and keep an eye on the turkey. If you find certain spots are cooking quicker than others, you can cover them with small bits of foil.

  • Broil for 5-10 minutes, until skin is crispy and brown, and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion reads 165°F.

  • Allow the turkey breast to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

1- I have not tested with a bone-in turkey breast roast; commence with 5 minutes per pound in the Instant Pot and set under the broiler when it reaches 145-155°F.
Dry brining tips

  • salt- it’s exactly crucial that you use kosher salt and not table salt; otherwise the turkey will be too salty
  • gravy- due to the brine, the juices from the turkey will be too salty to make gravy. If gravy is a non negotiable, seek a recipe that does not conclude a brine (but then you’ll have to suffer with blander turkey meat 😉 )
  • turkey- make sure that you are not using a turkey which has already been brined; check the ingredients on the package and it should simply say ‘turkey breast’

Instant Pot models
This recipe has been tested in both 6 and 8 quart Instant Pots; I do not believe a turkey breast roast will fit in the mini.
Broiling
If you’d like to skip the broiling step and cook the turkey all the way through in the Instant Pot, increase the cook time to 5 minutes/pound (10 minutes for 2 lbs, 15 minutes for 3 lbs). Check with an instant read thermometer and remove from the Instant Pot when it reaches 165°F.
Storage
After cooking, cool the turkey completely before storing in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Turkey breast is prone to drying out and is top eaten within 48 hours.
Reheating
Heat in the microwave or a frying pan until steaming hot, or heat a whole turkey breast in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.
*nutritional information was calculated with 1 tablespoon of salt since the majority of the salt is rinsed off; this is strictly an estimate.

Serving: 4oz * | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1005mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg


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