Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we have been getting quite a few emails requesting instructions on how to make a frozen turkey breast in the Instant Pot.
Last year we shared how to cook a frozen turkey breast roast in the Instant Pot. However, this recipe is a little different.
The roast is a combination of both white and dark turkey meat held together by a plastic netting. On the contrary, a frozen turkey breast contains only the breast meat, bones, and trimmed ribs on the underside of the meat.
This recipe is for a frozen, bone in turkey breast. And to be more specific, an approximately 7 pound frozen turkey breast.
Not everyone who makes Thanksgiving dinner needs to roast a large turkey. In fact, many people have turned to cooking a turkey breast for the sheer size factor.
Unless you are having a large family gathering, sometimes a full size turkey is just too much.
So instead, cooking a turkey breast is a great alternative. Especially when you prefer white meat over dark meat.
How to Make a Frozen Turkey Breast in an Instant Pot
The first step is to pick our your turkey breast at the grocery store. This time year you can typically find them in the center freezer aisle in the meat section of the grocery store.
They can range anywhere from 4-8 pounds. However, most of the ones at our grocery store were between 6-8 pounds.
*Please note: our 7 pound turkey breast was cooked in our 8 quart Instant Pot. If you have a 6 quart Instant Pot, you will need a smaller turkey breast.
Next comes the tricky part. If you want to cook a turkey breast from the frozen state there is possibly one little obstacle.
Frozen Gravy Packet
Depending on the variety of turkey breast that you purchase, you may have a gravy packet that is frozen inside the cavity of the breast bone.
Of course, that must be removed prior to placing the turkey in the Instant Pot.
In order to remove the packet you will need to thaw it slightly. However, this does not mean that you have to thaw the meat completely.
For example, after removing the plastic covering, I turned the turkey breast upside down to expose the gravy packet. Then I ran hot water directly on the gravy packet.
This allowed the frozen gravy packet to thaw enough so that it became pliable enough for me to remove it.
Set it aside and proceed with cooking your frozen turkey breast.
First place about a cup of turkey or chicken broth in the liner of your Instant Pot.
Then sprinkle the outside and inside of the turkey breast with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
Place the seasoned meat directly in the broth. That is correct, no trivet is needed.
Then lock the lid in place and pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 45 minutes.
*If you have turkey breast that is between 4-5 pounds, decrease the cooking time to 35 minutes.
The Temperature Test
Once the cooking time has expired allow for 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
This allows the pot to start coming down from it’s pressurized state before you open the lid.
It is important to allow the 10 minutes to go past the cooking time to ensure that the turkey meat will reabsorb moisture and remain moist.
However, before you take the first bite, it is crucial that you test the thickest part of the breast to make sure that it has reached at least 165 degrees F.
If it is below that temperature, place it back in the pot and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. And yes, you must allow for the natural pressure release again (if you want moist turkey).
Browning the Turkey Skin
Once the frozen turkey breast is cooked, you can brown the skin if you prefer.
Although this step is not necessary, it does provide a beautifully presented turkey breast on your Thanksgiving table.
However, if you don’t eat the skin or if you carve the turkey breast before presenting it, then I would skip this process.
But if you prefer browned skin, simply rub olive oil on top and place under your broiler.
Or if you have a Ninja Foodi multi-cooker you can turn on the Air Crisp mode right in the same pot that you cooked your frozen turkey breast.
However, be sure to drain the liquid, saving it for your gravy and place the turkey breast in the air crisper basket.
Then air crisp at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
Check out the printable recipe below and let me know what you think!
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Instant Pot Frozen Turkey Breast
- 1 frozen turkey breast 7 pounds
- 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- If your frozen turkey breast comes with a gravy packet, thaw it just enough to remove the gravy packet.
- Pour the broth in the liner of the Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle both sides of the breast with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the turkey in the Instant Pot, breast side up.
- Lock the lid and place the valve in the Sealing position. Pressure Cook/Manual on HIGH pressure for 45 minutes.
- Once the cooking time expires, allow the pot to natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes.
- Using a digital thermometer, test the internal temperature. The turkey is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- If it is not done, place back in the Instant Pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Again, allowing the pot to natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- Remove the turkey breast and brush skin with olive oil. Place under the broiler to crisp until desired color is reached. *If you have a Ninja Foodi Multi-cooker, remove the turkey breast and place in the crisper basket. Place the liquid in a small stockpot and set aside. Air Crisp on 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
- Use the liquid to make the gravy or place the gravy packet inside the liner of the Instant Pot and place on Saute function. Stir until thickened desired is reached.