Instant Pot Thanksgiving Turkey 8.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Instant Pot Nov 13, 2018

If cooking a turkey to proper doneness is unnerving and/or you are short on time or oven space, this recipe could be your saving grace. You can cook up to a 13-pound bird in the Instant Pot -- with moist meat and the option of broiling afterward so the turkey has some lovely browning. Under pressure, the dark meat takes 25 minutes, and the bone-in breast halves take 12 minutes.

Of course, the turkey needs to broken down a bit; so you have the option of buying leg/thigh quarters and bone-in breasts; asking your butcher to carve up a raw bird for you; or doing it yourself, following a technique similar to how you would cut up a raw chicken.

We used a 6-quart multicooker/electric pressure cooker, on saute and then pressure cooker functions.

Make Ahead: The turkey needs to be dry-brined for at least 8 hours, and up to 2 days. The turkey legs, thighs and wings can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated in their braising liquid up to 3 days in advance. Reheat, covered, until thoroughly warmed, before broiling.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • One 10-to-12 pound turkey, cut into legs, thighs, wings and breast halves, patted dry (wing tips removed; see headnote)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups turkey stock or chicken broth, preferably no-salt-added
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Combine the salt and brown sugar in a small bowl. Rub the turkey parts all over with the salt mixture and transfer them to a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to 2 days.

Remove the turkey parts from the bag and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the multicooker using the saute function. Working in batches as needed, cook the legs, thighs and wings for 7 to 9 minutes, using tongs to turn them for even browning. Transfer to a plate.

Add a 1/2 cup of the wine to the pot, then use a wooden spatula to dislodge any browned bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine has almost fully evaporated, then add 1 1/2 cups of the stock or broth and 1 rosemary stem. Return the turkey legs, wings and thighs to the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.

Once the turkey has finished cooking, manually release the steam. Place the turkey legs, thighs and wings skin sides up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Strain the braising liquid and reserve it for gravy or just for serving, if desired. Cover loosely with foil.

Rinse and dry the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pot, using the saute function. Place the turkey breast halves skin sides down in the pot; Cook for 7 to 9 minutes, lightly browning them on all sides. Use tongs to carefully transfer them to a large plate.

Add the onion to the pot; cook for about 3 minutes (saute function), until softened, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and repeat that dislodging/deglazing process of scraping browned bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine has almost fully evaporated.

Add the remaining cup of stock or broth to the pot and the remaining rosemary stem, stirring to combine. Return the turkey breast halves to the pot skin sides up, along with any juices from the plate. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.

Once the breast halves have finished cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release the steam. Meanwhile, position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.

Carefully transfer the breast halves to the baking sheet with the thighs, legs and wings, all skin sides up. Brush the turkey pieces generously with melted butter and broil for about 5 minutes, until the skin is golden brown.

Serve warm, drizzled with the strained pan juices, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Ann Mah, author of "Instantly French! Classic Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker" (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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