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Juicy turkey breast cooked in just 24 minutes! I love the simplicity, and time-saving options, this super easy pressure cooker Turkey Breast is made in a fraction of the time, and you’ll end up with the juiciest turkey breast ever, plus make your gravy right in the pressure cooker.
It is one of the fastest ways to cook a turkey roast and delivers flavourful, juicy, and tender turkey meat under crispy skin.
Turkey, especially white meat, is generally drier. The pressure cooker retains moisture, resulting in juicy and tender meat.
When you make roast turkey in the oven, you need to watch it and baste it. But in the pressure cooker, there is no basting required — the appliance does all the work for you. You will save time and energy and still get a delicious, tender, juicy turkey. Maybe even the best.
You can also sear the breast right in the pressure cooker to get that nice golden-brown colour that we all love and if the crispy skin is your favourite part, place the turkey breast under the broiler for a few minutes in the end.
The homemade gravy is easy to make directly in the pressure cooker with the turkey drippings.
Preparing turkey dinner has never been so easy and stress-free.
This turkey breast has a bit of a smokey flavour because I added some liquid smoke. It bursts with a smoky flavour, incredibly moist and tender. Smoking turkey aroma does make it stand apart.
Does it taste like it has been cooked for hours in a smoker? No, but it does give a nice mild smoky flavour to it and is less work. If you want a more intense smoke flavour, marinate overnight in red wine vinegar, olive oil and liquid smoke.
I used a mirepoix aromatic base for the turkey. They begin recipes and lend them flavour. Mirepoix has a hearty and sweet flavour. And you can use the rest of the liquid and vegetables from cooking the turkey for later. I simply place it in sealed containers once it completely cools. It’s a very flavourful broth and perfect for making soups. I really enjoy it, it is so good, but you can skip this step if you prefer. Check my article: All About Mirepoix, Soffritto, Refogado, and other aromatic bases. The list of aromatics is long and varies depending on the dish being cooked.
Don’t have an electric pressure cooker? Make it in a stovetop pressure cooker, use a slow cooker, or traditionally in the oven. All of them can be used to make this. The key to those methods is to brown the breast before cooking, or it ends up pale and pasty looking. It adds about 5-10 minutes to the work time, but it is worth it.
It makes a comforting one-pot turkey dinner for your Thanksgiving, Christmas feast or a Sunday with the family!
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Smoked turkey breast in the pressure cooker Fast2eat
Sear the Turkey
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Turkey breast - boneless - thawed - about 1.8Kg/4 pounds
Mirepoix aromatic base
- 1 tbsp Wine - or lime/lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning,
For the Gravy
- 1 1/2 cup Turkey cooking broth
- 2 1/2 tbsp All-purpose flour - or cornstarch combined with 3 tbsp of cold water
- 1 cup cream - fat-free evaporated, half-and-half or whipping cream
- Salt - optional to taste
- Black pepper - optional to taste
- When you are ready to cook the turkey breast, make sure you bring it close to room temperature first.
- Note: Be sure to leave the mesh in place, which holds the turkey together.
Pat dry the turkey
- Use a paper towel to pat the thawed turkey breast until completely dry. This will help the seasoning mixture stick better.
Season the turkey
- Drizzle the tbsp of olive oil all over the turkey breast and rub it in. I usually do this so that the spices stick to the turkey breast.
- Rub the turkey generously with salt, pepper and paprika evenly to season.
- Set aside on a plate for at least 15 minutes. It’s ideal bringing the seasoned turkey to room temperature to achieve more tender and juicier meat.
Prepare your vegetables
- Rinse and scrub the celery.
- Rinse and peel your carrots and onions.
- Then dry well with a paper towel.
- Chop the carrot, onion, and celery. In general, the finer you chop the veggies, the quicker the aroma and flavours will be released.
Sear the turkey
- Note: Searing the turkey breast before actually cooking it in the pressure cooker is an optional step, however, it does give the turkey an incredible depth of flavour, plus it gives it that nice golden-brown colour. Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat, giving it incredible, complex layers of flavours.
- Note: Searing the turkey first, and then using that fat for cooking the onion, carrots, and celery is especially important as it creates extra flavour.
- Turn the pressure cooker to sauté (or medium-high heat) and heat olive oil.
- Brown the turkey breast for approximately 5-7 minutes. You want it to have a nice deep brown colour.
- Flip the turkey over and brown it for another 5-7 minutes.
- Pour the liquid smoke and herbs mixture over the turkey breast.
- Remove the turkey from the pot and set it aside.
Sauté Onion and Garlic
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then, add diced onion to the pressure cooker. Sauté for roughly 2 minutes until softened.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper if you want.
Sauté Celery and Carrot
- Add in chopped celery and carrot. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly browned (roughly 5 – 7 minutes).
- Add a dash of wine to the pressure cooker and deglaze by scrubbing the flavourful brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden or silicone spoon.
- Combine your favourite herbs in a small bowl.
Cook the turkey
- Add broth and the bay leaves into the inner pot of the pressure cooker (the broth prevents the turkey drippings from smoking and will be used to make the gravy).
- Insert a heatproof wire roasting rack that can be fitted into the pressure cooker and carefully place the turkey roast on top.
- Tip: If you don’t have a roasting rack, crunch aluminum foil into a coil or use the vegetables like the carrots to keep your turkey off the bottom of the pan.
- Pour liquid smoke over the turkey breast. I used a silicone brush. And then sprinkle with the herbs mixture.
- Press Pressure Cook on High, close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Cook at high pressure for 24 minutes.
- Note: Be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly (add more cooking time for bigger turkey breasts) and measure the meat’s temperature before consuming.
- Cook time: For a fresh turkey breast, you’ll cook it for 6 minutes per pound (454g) with a minimum 10-minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release).
- Note: Do NOT use the poultry setting on the pressure cooker, you must use high pressure.
- Once the time is up, allow the pressure to come down on its own until the pin drops. This is called a natural release. Or after about 15 minutes, quick release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release valve to the venting position.
- Note: If you can wait, let the pressure release naturally. It will keep the turkey juicy. If you do a quick pressure release, all the juices will escape the meat.
Check doneness using a digital meat thermometer inserted deep into the meat
- Open the lid carefully and check that the internal temperature of the turkey has reached 74°C/165°F. If it has not, return to pressure and cook another 5 minutes.
- If crispier skin is desired, broil for about 5-10 minutes until the skin is brown and crispy.
- My Ninja foodie has this function, if your pressure cooker doesn’t have, you can transfer the turkey into the oven onto a foil-lined baking sheet and broil at high or 230°C/450°F.
- Broil until skin is golden and crispy, watching the turkey the whole time. You may have to rotate the pan during broiling.
- Using a large fork, remove the turkey from the pressure cooker.
- Set the turkey onto a cutting board, or serving platter, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- While it is resting, make the homemade gravy.
Make the Gravy
- The gravy is optional and is really easy to make directly in the pressure cooker with the turkey drippings.
- Drain the pan drippings through a sieve to catch the vegetables. You can also press them through it to get all the flavour into the gravy.
- Use 1 1/2 cup of liquid.
- Note: You can use the rest of the liquid and vegetables from cooking the turkey for later. I simply place it in sealed containers once it completely cools. It’s a very flavourful broth and perfect for making soups.
- Heat the pressure cooker over medium-high heat (Press the Sauté button).
- Add the liquid back to the pan along with the cream and cook over medium heat.
- Note: You can omit the cream and just use broth. I used it for a creamier gravy.
- Combine 3 tbsp of cold water with 2.5 tbsp all-purpose flour (or cornstarch) in a bowl. Stir to dissolve and add the mixture to the pan, whisking well to form into a smooth mixture. Keep stirring until desired thickness.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and ground black pepper if necessary.
- Press Cancel and transfer the gravy to a bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Serve and garnish
- Remove netting and slice the turkey breast.
- Drizzle the gravy over the breast.
- Serve with vegetables and or mashed potatoes on the side.
- May you & your family have a blessed Thanksgiving & Christmas Holidays!
MirepoixIn a truly traditional mirepoix, the ratio of ingredients is determined by weight. Home cooks do not need to be so precise. Obviously, there are different variants of “mirepoix,” and all of them have different ingredients and ratios. Use whatever amounts you like. The vegetables and herbs are lightly fried in oil (or butter, or different fats) for a longer time period to make the flavourful base. It is cooked at low heat without browning or colouring the vegetable. The whole point of mirepoix is sweetening the ingredients rather than caramelizing them. Mirepoix has a hearty and sweet flavour. Check my article: All About Mirepoix, Soffritto, Refogado, and other aromatic bases. They begin recipes and lend them flavour. The list of aromatics is long and varies depending on the dish being cooked.
You can omit the Mirepoix aromatic baseMirepoix has a hearty and sweet flavour. They begin recipes and lend them flavour. The whole point of mirepoix is sweetening the ingredients rather than caramelizing them. I really enjoy it, it is so good, but you can skip this step if you prefer.
How many servings in a pound (454g) of uncooked of turkey?A quick rule of thumb to get you started:
- If you're buying a whole turkey, plan on 1 pound (454g) per person.
- For a boneless turkey breast, get 1 pound (454g) per 2 people.
- If you eat just enough turkey to leave room for other delicious foods. Then you can easily stretch 1 pound of boneless turkey breast to about 3 servings.
- For the people with larger appetites, I recommend adding an extra 100-230g (1/4-1/2 pound) of uncooked turkey breast for just them.
- Therefore, for one child, I’d add just 100-120g (1/4 pound) of turkey breast for them.
Bone-In or Boneless?Either one can be used in this recipe. I used a boneless piece of turkey breast roast, sometimes it comes in a box, and it usually has butcher twine all around it. You can, of course, use a large turkey breast with bone-in. It is just as easy to cook as any boneless turkey breast.
Bone-InAny bones in your meat will increase its weight. This probably goes without saying, but bones are not edible, and therefore should not contribute to how much turkey each person will eat. If you’re working with bone-in turkey breast, double the weight.
BonelessThe amounts in this post are for boneless turkey breast. The reason for this is that I highly recommend cooking boneless breast, over bone-in. Turkey bones don’t do much in terms of flavour, and in my opinion, just get in the way when it comes to eating. It is simply boneless meat rolled into a turkey tenderloin that is held together by a mesh. It can be sold in a plastic tray covered with plastic or in a box. Do not remove the mesh or twine when you cook the boneless turkey breast.
Can I cook a frozen turkey?Definitely. It’s possible to cook a frozen turkey in the pressure cooker. Although, if there’s a choice between using frozen or thawed from frozen, I would recommend thawing it first, if you have the time. The seasoning will adhere better and the cooking time will be faster.
How to thaw frozen turkey breasts?The easiest way to thaw a turkey breast is to keep in its original wrapper and place it in the refrigerator on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan. It is suggested 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
How do I defrost a turkey breast quickly?If pressed for time, the frozen turkey breast can be submerged in water.
Submerge it in cold water. Seems counterintuitive right? It works! Use this method to defrost any meat. Not necessarily because it’s faster than using warm water, but it is safer. Keep meat in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes or as needed to keep it cold. This method reduces thawing time by up to 5 hours. No matter your process, just be sure to follow health guidelines and do it safely.
Pat dryThere’s no need to rinse your turkey breast before cooking, although I know some people (like me) will anyway. If you do, be sure to pat it dry before doing anything else.
Turkey Roast and Pressure cooker sizeA 6-quart pressure cooker could fit up to 7lbs (3Kg). An 8-quart size can hold up to a 9 lb (4Kg) turkey breast or a whole mini turkey.
Why do you need to add liquid to the pressure cooker?No additional liquid is needed, however, I have been having issues with my pressure cooker reaching high pressure without it, so I prefer to add a cup of liquid. You may add either water or chicken/turkey broth.
How do I keep turkey breast moist?The pressure cooker captures the moisture by using steam to cook the breast under pressure. You want to make sure to do everything you can to maintain those results before serving! The first thing is to allow it to rest before slicing. Let the juices settle, so they don’t run out, leaving the turkey breast dry. For added assurance, you could use brine (see variations), although not necessary. Serving it with a luscious thick gravy is another sure-fire way to keep it nice and moist.
Digital thermometerAlthough we’re not cooking an entire turkey, and my instructions are pretty much foolproof, it’s never a bad idea to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature, just in case!
LeftoversUse in sandwiches, salads, frittatas, casseroles and soups. If you are planning to use leftovers in soups or other recipes that call for shredded turkey, it’s easier to shred it before storing. Then, you can easily use it in all your favourite leftover turkey recipes.
How to storeKeep the leftover turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to freezeFreeze in portions for up to 3 months. Let cool slightly, then slice or shred the meat. Let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it inside a freezer bag, pressing out all the air before sealing and freeze.
How to thawTo use, thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting or allow it to thaw overnight and then reheat, or reheat directly from frozen (for example, if you are adding it into a soup).
How to reheat
In the ovenWrap the turkey roast loosely in aluminum foil and add a little gravy or water. Seal the foil and reheat in a 190°C/375°F preheated oven for 10-25 minutes (depending on how much turkey you are reheating), until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 74°C/165°F as read on a meat thermometer. Do not bake uncovered as it will dry out the meat.
In a pot with a lidAdd a splash of broth and drippings and simmer on low. It will create a bit of steam for moisture.
In MicrowaveYou can also reheat it in the microwave.
Could I cook this turkey breast in the slow cooker?Absolutely! You can definitely cook this in a slow cooker, and you’ll still end up with a super juicy turkey breast. Keep in mind that the pressure cooker also has a slow cooker method. Season it the same way. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the turkey breast for approximately 5-7 minutes. You want it to have a nice deep brown colour. Flip the turkey over and place it in the slow cooker. Add broth and pour the liquid smoke over the turkey breast and sprinkle the herbs.
Insert a temperature probe (if your cooker has one) and cook to 74°C/165°F. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours (time will vary based on the size of the turkey breast and the cooker. Check the internal temperature and make sure it’s at 74°C/165°F, otherwise cook it longer. If crispier skin is desired, broil it in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes to get a crispy golden finish. Note: Slow cookers all heat differently. There is no standard among manufacturers. Cooking times are suggested guidelines based on our testing. Please adjust cooking times and temps to work with your brand and model of slow cooker.
Can I make this turkey breast in the oven?Definitely. Season it the same way. Place the turkey on a roasting pan with a rack. Add 4 cups (or enough to reach the wired rack) of liquid (broth or water) to the pan. Bake in preheated 176°C/350°F oven. Bake for 1:30 to 2:30 hours until the turkey is tender and the internal temperature is 74°C/165°F. Basting with broth mixture every 30 minutes. Note: Cook time is approximate as oven temperatures vary and roasting time will vary if the turkey is covered or placed in an oven cooking bag. Let the turkey stand for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
What is the proper temperature for cooking a turkey breast in the oven?The ideal temperature for roasting a turkey breast is 176°C/350°F. 163°C/325°F can be used; however, it will take a little longer, the skin will not be as crispy, and the meat may get a little drier. The temperature of 190°C/375°F is too high, and the skin will get overcooked very quickly.
Should I brine turkey breast?You absolutely can if you want to, but it’s not a must. It’s up to you! Turkey breast is lean and has the potential to dry out as it cooks. This is preventable by cooking it to the proper internal temperature of 74°C/165°F and by brining it. The brine is meant to add flavour and moisture to the meat, but the pressure cooker does that all on its own. However, brined pressure cooker Turkey Breast is even more juicy, tender, and flavourful.
Dry brineA dry brine, also called curing, is the application of salt to turkey. Over time, the salt draws out moisture, in turn allowing the turkey to take on even more moisture while cooking. Once your turkey breast, or a whole turkey, is thawed, season it with a teaspoon of sea salt on both the outside and the inside. Put it back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24 hours.
Wet brineDepending on the size of your turkey breast, mix 1/3-1/2 cup (90-120g/3.17-4.23oz) salt with 1500-2000ml (6-8 cups) of cold running water in a large mixing bowl. Ensure the salt has fully dissolved. Fully submerge the turkey breast in the salted water and place it in the fridge for at least 4 to 8 hours (minimum of 1 hour per pound/454g). Pro Tip: Brining turkey breast for 24 hours may result in a ham-like meat texture.
After 24 hours in the brine, leave the turkey breast uncovered on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight. This helps the salt in the breast meat reach equilibrium. In other words, the salt is equally dispersed throughout the meat, resulting in uniform seasoning.
Wet or dry?While overnight salting does wonders, a wet brine introduces more flavour. A dry brine only affects moisture, while a wet brine carries its aromatics and flavours into the meat.
Switch up the seasoningA great way to add some extra herb flavour to your bird is to use a small bundle of your favourite herbs. Use fresh or dried. Depending on your cooking method, you can select your favourite herbs from the following list and use them to season your turkey in a few different ways.
- Lemon thyme
- Bay leaves
- Garlic - Whether you use freshly crushed garlic cloves, garlic powder, garlic salt, or throw a whole bulb in to roast with the turkey, find a way to add some garlic to your turkey seasoning and your taste buds will thank you!
- Lemon or lime
- Poultry seasoning
Make a seasoning rubTo make a herb turkey seasoning rub, either use dried herbs or finely chopped fresh herbs. Add some salt and pepper and other seasonings (try onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, or chilli pepper flakes). Drizzle the turkey with olive oil to use a seasoning rub, then sprinkle the herb seasoning mix over the top and rub it into the skin. You can also rub some inside the cavity (if using the whole turkey) and under the skin to ensure the herbs are well infused into your turkey. Ideally, if you have enough room in your refrigerator, refrigerate the bird for around 24 hours to infuse the flavours into the meat.
Optional if you're making mashed potatoesCook the potatoes with the turkey in the pressure cooker. Place a stainless steel bowl on top of the turkey breast and add halved Yukon gold potatoes. Note: this will only work if your turkey breast is small enough to fit in the pressure cooker laying flat, so you have room to layer the stainless steel bowl on top without problems closing the Instant Pot Lid.
Make Mashed PotatoesRemove the stainless-steel bowl and place all the potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a fork or masher. Add 1 – 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, and 100ml milk or cream. Continue mashing and mixing until desired consistency. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. For creamier mashed potatoes, use more milk/cream.
To properly prepare your recipe, you may need to use the conversion tables to accurately convert the weight, volume, length, and temperature of all the necessary ingredients. These Fast2eat conversion tables will allow you to ensure that your recipe turns out perfectly and that all measurements are precise and accurate.
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Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.
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