Quick and easy, 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.
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
Watch the video below to see how simple it is to cook Instant Pot turkey breast. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
Start with a dry brine
This recipe took me 5 tries (!) to perfect, and the key to juicy and flavorful turkey is to include a 3 hour dry brining step. If you are new to dry brining, it's really super simple.
- Gather ingredients- for this recipe, you'll need a 2-3 lb boneless turkey roast, ¼ cup of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
- 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.
- Apply the dry brine- stir together the salt, brown sugar and pepper, then rub it generously all over both sides of the turkey.
- 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 absolutely 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 include 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'
Cooking it in the Instant Pot
After brining the turkey, you are ready to cook it!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 *.
- Broil the turkey breast- the last step is important to get 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 nice and crispy. Check the internal temperature again, it should be 165°F at this point.
- Rest the turkey breast- it's absolutely 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 get 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, leave us a comment below so we know 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 quick versus natural pressure release, check out Instant Pot 101.
Broiling the turkey gets nice 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.
As mentioned above, because we use a dry brine in the recipe, the turkey juices will be too salty to make a gravy.
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 get 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
- Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli
- Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower
- Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf
More holiday recipes
- Dry Brined Turkey
- Crock Pot Ham
- Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Sauteed Green Beans
- Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin
- 2-3 lb boneless turkey breast roast see note 1
- ¼ cup kosher salt do not use table salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instant Pot ingredients
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic whole or minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
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 handle 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.
- 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.
- salt- it’s absolutely 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 include 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’
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