Instant Pot Turkey Breast (from frozen!)
With lots of flavorful herbs, a quick-cooking Instant Pot turkey breast is always juicy, tender, and perfectly done. And the bonus? There’s no need to thaw it first!
Turkey time! Dreading the ordeal of making a turkey? I bet most of us secretly hope that someone else will volunteer to do the turkey this year. It’s just kind of a hassle, isn’t it? Thawing that frozen bird, digging out those little packets of innards, rinsing, brining, rinsing again, getting up at dawn to get the bird in the oven, etc., etc., etc.
Or maybe you are enjoying a smaller Thanksgiving celebration this year and don’t really need a big ol’ turkey with all the fixings.
Some of us just don’t care for dark meat and wish that a turkey didn’t come with legs, thighs, and wings. (Sorry, Mr. Gobbler, we’re not trying to be critical about your body parts!)
Your Instant Pot pressure cooker comes to the rescue! Cook a perfectly done boneless turkey breast in less than two hours. And it’s so delicious: juicy, succulent white meat, flavored with sage, rosemary, and thyme. Here’s a really big bonus: you don’t even have to thaw it first!
Think about this: using your Instant Pot for the turkey frees up valuable oven space. Now you’ll have plenty of room in the oven to bake all the yummy trimmings that go along with turkey.
I almost think the trimmings are the best part. You can bake healthy sweet potato casserole (I love this dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free recipe), and green bean casserole (with no canned soup!). And don’t forget baked mac and cheese or cheesy Brussels sprouts au gratin.
Like turkey with stuffing? Kind of a dumb question, isn’t it? I always make this slow cooker stuffing recipe. It’s the best! And don’t forget the warm rolls and potatoes with gravy.
About this Instant Pot turkey breast:
You’ll find directions here for cooking either a frozen turkey breast or a fresh/thawed one.
A boneless turkey breast is usually held together with mesh. For best results, leave the mesh on while you cook the turkey breast. The mesh is actually holding the meat together. If you’re uncomfortable with using the mesh, cut it off and truss the turkey breast yourself.
Note that there may also be plastic netting that’s on the outside of the wrapping that should definitely be removed before roasting!
Mix together herb butter with garlic and fresh herbs and slather it all over the turkey breast. Using the rack, add a little water to the bottom of the pot, place the breast in, and seal it up. That’s it! Isn’t that so easy? Ten minutes and the turkey’s ready to cook.
The cooking time will vary, depending on whether the turkey breast is frozen or thawed. You’ll need approximately 65 minutes to pressure cook a frozen breast, and 35 minutes for a thawed breast. Remember to allow an extra 15-20 minutes for the pressure cooker to reach full pressure.
After cooking, allow the turkey to rest five or ten minutes. Now’s a perfect time to get the rest of your dinner on the table. Remove the cooking net from the turkey, slice, and serve!
What’s in this recipe?
- A boneless, skin-on turkey breast — either frozen or thawed, about 2-3 pounds
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs: Sage, rosemary, and thyme
How to make this turkey breast your own:
This is a pretty simple recipe. You can vary the seasonings as you prefer. Maybe you don’t care for garlic? No problem, just leave it out. Only have dried herbs? You can substitute dried herbs for fresh. You’ll need less dried herbs because they’re a little more potent. The rule of thumb is 1:3, dried to fresh.
Go less traditional and try a spice blend, from Cajun to southwest to Asian. A turkey breast is a pretty blank palette so you can enliven it whichever way you choose.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Leftover turkey can be wrapped well and refrigerated for three to four days, or frozen for up to three months. Reheat gently in the microwave or wrap in foil and heat in the oven.
Are you a meal prepper? It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy turkey! Turkey is usually on sale around Thanksgiving so stock up and fill your freezer with this economical and healthy source of protein. Only 45 calories for a four-ounce serving! That’s hard to beat.
Cook a frozen turkey breast for meals all week. Use it for sandwiches or a pan of yummy turkey sliders if you’re having a crowd. Turkey breast can be substituted for chicken breasts in any recipe. You can put cooked, sliced meat in freezer bags to enjoy later.
More Instant Pot shortcuts
If you don’t already have an Instant Pot, take advantage of Black Friday deals, or watch for other sales. I use mine all the time and I’m sure you will too. Here’s a few of my favorites or check all my Instant Pot recipes.
- 1 boneless, skin-on turkey breast (about 2 pounds), frozen (see note)
- 1 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- Water, enough to fill the instant pot about 1/4” inch
- Pat the turkey breast dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine butter, olive oil, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the garlic and herb mixture on all sides of the turkey breast.
- Place trivet in the Instant Pot and add water until just below the trivet line. In a 6-Qt Instant Pot, 3/4 cup of water works well. Place the turkey breast on top of the trivet.
- Heat the Instant Pot using the Pressure Cook (or Manual) High Pressure setting and set the timer for 65 minutes. Make sure the valve is in the “sealing” position. When the timer has finished, release the pressure manually (quick release) by switching the valve to the “venting” position.
- Test the temperature of the turkey in 2-3 places using an Instant Read Thermometer. If it doesn’t reach at least 160°F, place the lid back on the Instant Pot and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes under high pressure, with another quick release of the pressure.
- When the turkey has finished, remove it from the Instant Pot. Cut away the mesh if there is one around the outside of the breast.
- (Optional) Place the turkey breast on a sheet pan skin side up. Broil the turkey breast on High for 5-6 minutes, or until the skin starts to crisp. Make sure to watch it carefully— you don’t want it to burn!
- Let turkey rest 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve with desired sides.
- Store any uneaten turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- If you have a thawed or fresh turkey breast, cook it for 35 minutes and then test the temperature.
- If your turkey breast is closer to 3 pounds, add 5 minutes to the cooking time.
- If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, you can tell the turkey is cooked when the meat is opaque and white, no pink remains, and the juices run clear. If there is any pink/red/purple coloration, the turkey is not ready!
- For extra flavor, use chicken stock instead of water. If you prefer, use a spice rub instead of herbs.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 4 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 45Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.