The Instant Pot is a brilliant piece of kit that has completely changed the way I cook. It is so exciting to me when I discover something else that it does superbly well, such as my well-documented love of Instant Pot cheesecakes. I certainly haven’t roasted a chicken in the oven since getting my pot, and now I can safely say, I doubt I will ever cook a turkey in there again. Let me show you how to make the most succulent Instant Pot Turkey Crown your Christmas (or Thanksgiving) table has ever been graced with.
The sealed, moist environment of a pressure cooker is the perfect place to cook turkey in, as it is such a lean meat and so prone to drying out if you don’t attentively (obsessively?) baste it in the oven. After experimenting with cooking times and aromatics added to the pot, I also discovered just how much flavour you get from pressure cooking the turkey to the extent you don’t want to go mad adding overly fragrant herbs and spices or they will overpower the delicate poultry flavour.
A turkey is a much thicker breasted bird than a chicken so even a small crown will take more cooking than a whole chicken and the way I ensure it is cooked is by using a digital thermometer. In the UK, you need to ensure when the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the crown, away from the bone, that it reaches a temperature of at least 75˚C to be fully cooked. As you can see, my crown reached 83.4˚C and in fact went as high as 85˚C but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera. This is the safest way to proceed with cooking large, thick joints of meat and I really do recommend Thermapen thermometers for the job.
Fresh out of the Instant Pot, the turkey crown is a little pallid, to say the least, but it is so juicy and infused with flavour from the trivet of herbs and vegetables is cooks on that you will quickly forgive it. A quick blast in a very hot oven will serve to crispen up with skin to your likely, without risk of overcooking and drying out the turkey. Plus you have a pot full of delicious stock there ready to turn into perfect turkey gravy.
Look at that glistening, tempting crown of turkey. And it’s so easy! As I mentioned above, you need to be a bit judicious with the seasonings or the IP will infuse too much flavour into the bird so I simply make a little garlic and sage butter which I push under the skin before seasoning with salt and pepper. The trivet is a combination of onion, carrot, bay, rosemary, thyme and more sage so you are infusing the bird from beneath as well as under the skin. The stock it produces is pale in colour but packed full of festive flavours.
Come Christmas, I’ll be making two of these turkeys as there are so many of us for Christmas dinner this year but the good news is, it will be entirely stress-free cooking. I will be able to get both cooked in just about an hour in the pot and a cumulative twenty minutes in the oven, freeing up that lesser-used kitchen appliance to make perfect roast potatoes, maple and thyme parsnips and carrots plus plenty of sage and onion stuffing to serve with!
The most succulent, juicy turkey you will ever make plus a bonus of lashings super flavourful turkey gravy too.
Cooking times, as always, are estimates and I can't recommend getting a digital thermometer enough to be certain your turkey is cooked. Refer to local guidelines on the safe temps to heat your meat to but in the UK, you are looking for an internal reading of at least 75˚C.
- 1.5 kg turkey crown (see notes for cooking times for different size joints)
- 2 tbsp soft butter
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 large onion, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 large carrot, sliced in half lengthways
- 1 sprig fresh sage (about 6 inches in length)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (about 6 inches in length)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (about 6 inches in length)
- 2 bay leaves, dried or fresh
- 3 tbsp plain flour (you can use cornflour or gluten free flour if you need to)
- 3 tbsp soft butter
- Sea salt and black pepper to season
Start by mixing the butter, garlic and sage together until well blended, adding a little salt if using unsalted butter. Loosen the skin of the turkey at the neck and push the butter down over each breast, replacing the skin as best you can. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Lay the slices of onion on the base of the Inner Pot close together to support the weight of the turkey and then layer up the fresh herbs and carrots before sitting the turkey on top. Add 250ml water to the pot.
Place the lid on, close the vent, set to 30 mins Manual High and QPR when done (normally you NPR meat but it is going into the oven first then it will be left to rest before serving). Check that the thickest part of the breast reads at least 75˚C - if not, return the lid and cook for longer, rechecking the temp when done. See notes for advice on cooking times for differently sized crowns.
Meanwhile, have the oven preheated to 220˚C fan or as hot as it will go for conventional ovens. Remove the crown with meat lifters or large forks and place in an oven-proof dish. Place in the very hot oven for 10-12 minutes to brown but watch it carefully and turn it if needed. It's better to preserve the juicy texture than to overly brown and dry out the turkey by too much cooking here.
Remove to a serving plate and cover with foil to rest whilst you prep the rest of the meal. Try to give it a minimum of 30 minutes before serving but it will be beautifully moist, tender and hot under the foil for up to a couple of hours.
If using a frozen and thawed turkey crown, you will find it gives off a lot of juices on cooking in the Instant Pot so you will have plenty of stock for gravy. Strain this stock through a fine sieve and discard the herbs but keep the veg.
In a large saucepan, cook the butter and flour for the gravy until well mixed then slowly but steadily whisk in all of the strained turkey stock. It will have the texture of single cream at this point. Continue to cook until reduced by a quarter then add back the reserved, soft onion and carrots and use a stick/immersion blender to purée the veg and thicken the gravy further.
Taste and adjust the seasoning of the gravy as you see fit - a little redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce can be a lovely addition but salt and pepper will almost certainly need to be added. Pour into your favourite gravy boat and serve!
Cooking Time Guide for Turkey Crowns
Bear in mind that you will need to check your crown fits your pot and occupies no more than 3/4 of the space to ensure proper cooking. And if bought frozen, be sure to thaw the turkey in the fridge completely before use, as per guidance from your butcher or on the packaging from the supermarket.
- 1.5kg crown - 30 mins Manual High
- 2kg crown - 35 mins Manual High
- 2.5kg crown - 45 mins Manual High
Be sure to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the bird is at least 75˚C before removing from the pot and browning in the oven. If it hasn't reached temperature, I suggest giving it 10 minutes extra on Manual High before checking again.
If you have the 8-litre version of the Instant Pot, you will be able to cook a larger crown and cooking times will need scaling up accordingly. I don't have a second pot (yet!) but I will update the cooking times guide when I do (are you listening Santa, JoJo wants a second IP under her tree this year, pretty please!).
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