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Instant pot whole turkey is a tender, juicy, and delicious holiday main. Ready in under 2 hours, it's the fastest and easiest way to cook a whole turkey! |

Instant Pot Whole Turkey

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Instant pot whole turkey is a tender, juicy, and delicious holiday main. Ready in under 2 hours, it's the fastest and easiest way to cook a whole turkey!


  • 1 (8 pound) whole turkey, fresh or thawed from frozen
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water or poultry stock
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional, if broiling)

For the gravy (optional):

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour)
  • 1/4 cup poultry broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. Remove the turkey neck and giblets from inside the cavity and set it aside if making homemade gravy, otherwise discard. Wash the turkey and use a paper towel to pay it completely dry, inside and out.
  2. Place the turkey on a clean cutting board and generously season it salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Rub the seasoning all over the turkey, including inside the cavity. Wearing disposable gloves helps to make clean up easier. 
  3. Slice one of the onions in half and insert it inside the turkey's cavity. 
  4. Roughly chop up the remaining onion and add it to the inner pot of the pressure cooker along with the chopped carrots, poultry stock (or water), turkey neck, and giblets. Place a wire rack that can be fitted into the instant pot on top.
  5. Place the turkey (breast side up) onto the rack, tucking in the wings. Truss the turkey by tying the legs together with kitchen string so that they stay close to the body.
  6. Turn the pressure cooking mode on manual pressure and seal the lid (the steam release knob must be turned to the sealed position). Pressure cook the turkey for 50 minutes (or 6 minutes per pound of turkey).
  7. Once the time is up, turn the pressure cooker off and leave the turkey sealed inside for 15 minutes (it will continue to cook). After 15 minutes, quick release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release valve to the venting position. Check doneness using a digital meat thermometer inserted deep into the meat. The turkey is done with an end-point internal temperature of 170°F (74°C).
  8. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a roasting tray. Baste the turkey with melted butter and broil for 5 minutes until the skin turns golden brown and crispy. Make sure to monitor closely during broiling because it can burn quickly.
  9. Transfer the turkey onto a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Homemade Gravy:

  1. Use a mesh sieve to filter out the drippings at the bottom of the instant pot, and discard all the clumps. Transfer the filtered liquid back into the instant pot.  
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine cornstarch and poultry broth. Stir until dissolved.
  3. On the Instant Pot, switch to Sauté function on to high. Add the cornstarch mixture to the drippings in the pot and stir until smooth. Add butter and Worcestershire sauce and mix until combined.
  4. Bring the gravy to a simmer, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened to a desired consistency, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


How to store: Keep leftover turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 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 favorite leftover turkey recipes.

How to freeze: Slice or shred the meat and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place inside a freezer bag, pressing out all the air before sealing. To use, 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: Wrap the turkey loosely in aluminum foil and add a little gravy or water. Seal the foil and reheat in a 375°F preheated oven for 10-25 minutes (depending on how much turkey you are reheating), until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F as read on a meat thermometer. You can also reheat it in the microwave. 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Turkey
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American