I am usually a ham person at Thanksgiving, but this Instant Pot turkey breast is so perfectly tender and delicious that it may convert me! Amazingly easy! The dry brine seasons it perfectly and the Instant Pot makes it fall-off-the-bone tender.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, are you Team Turkey or Team Ham? I am decidedly Team Ham (though I do have to save a little turkey for the obligatory turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce). The traditional whole turkey poses a little bit of a logistical nightmare.
First of all, turkeys are huge. Second, they have an irregular shape. Third, they are comprised of different types of meat that cook at different rates. There’s a pretty good chance that by the time the dark meat is done, the white meat is going to be dry. And turkey tends to be a little “meh”, in my opinion.
Pressure Cooker Turkey
I do, however, like to buy a turkey breast or a couple of turkey thighs from time to time. A few years back I posted a recipe for slow cooker turkey thighs that are still one of my favorite turkey recipes ever. Slow cookers and pressure cookers are perfect for cooking meat that can tend to be dry, because they help to keep the moisture in the meat much more than dry cooking methods. Like the slow cooker, the pressure cooker breaks down the fibers that tend to make meats touch and make them super tender. Plus, cooking the turkey in the Instant Pot keeps the oven free for other uses, because we all know that oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving!
Brining Turkey Breast?
I know that a lot of people like to brine their turkey to get flavor and seasoning into it, but I don’t love wet brining for a couple of reasons. (A) Wet-brining requires you to immerse the turkey into liquid, which requires you to have the space in your fridge for a container to hold the brine. My fridge is tiny, so you see my dilemma; and (B) Wet-brining can be a little messy, and if you are using a dry cooking method, it results in the skin being soggy which can be difficult to recover from.
Dry-Brined Turkey Breast
Instead, I like to dry brine my turkey. Dry brining is simple:
- Pat the turkey dry with paper towels
- Sprinkle the turkey with salt, being sure to put some under the skin and some on the skin
- Store the turkey uncovered in the fridge for up to three days (this allows the air in the fridge to dry the surface of the turkey out while allowing the seasoning to penetrate the meat
- Cook using your preferred method
This Instant Pot turkey breast was legit the best turkey I have ever eaten. After letting it stand until it was cool enough to handle without burning off my fingerprints, I was able to pull the bones right out of the meat with my fingers and then slice the turkey up. I made a quick and simple gravy right in the Instant Pot and served this with baked sweet potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce (because I start hoarding cranberries the minute I see them in stores, so my freezer is full of them).
Whether you are Team Turkey or Team Ham, you need to find a spot in your Thanksgiving spread for this Instant Pot turkey breast!
Yield: 10 servings
15 minPrep Time:
50 minCook Time:
1 hr, 5 Total Time:
- 1 bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- seasoning of your choice (I used Mrs. Dash onion & herb seasoning)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the turkey breast on a plate. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt on both sides, being sure to lift up the skin of the turkey and sprinkle some of the salt under the skin. Sprinkle with any additional seasoning you would like to use. Place, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least one day and up to three days.
- When ready to cook, remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator. Pour the broth into the Instant Pot and place the steamer rack into the Instant Pot. Place the turkey breast on the steamer rack and cover with the lid.
- Move the steam release valve to sealing and select manual pressure. Make sure that the Instant Pot is set to high pressure. Use the +/- buttons to set the time to 25 minutes. When the cook time is complete. allow the steam to release naturally.
- When the steam has released, carefully remove the turkey breast. Place the turkey breast on a baking sheet. Turn the oven to broil. Brush the turkey breast gently with the melted butter and place under the broiler until the skin is golden. Remove to a cutting board and allow to stand until cool enough to handle. Carefully remove the bones from the turkey breast then slice.
- If you would like to make gravy, remove the steamer rack from the Instant Pot and pour the broth into a measuring cup. Wipe the Instant Pot out with a paper towel. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter then whisk in the all purpose flour. Cook for a minute or two to lightly brown the flour. Slowly pour in the reserved broth, whisking constantly, until your achieve the thickness that you prefer. Salt and pepper to taste and pour into a gravy boat for serving.
Prep time does not include 1-3 days to allow the turkey breast to stand in the refrigerator.
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