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Fully cooked whole turkey in Instant Pot .

Instant Pot Whole Turkey with Crispy Skin

Cook the most tender, moist, and incredibly flavorful Instant Pot whole turkey with perfectly crisp skin in under 2 hours using the Instant Pot Duo Crisp or Ninja Foodi.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 243kcal
Author Gary White


  • 1 yellow onion sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb sliced in half horizontally
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • ½ tsp. liquid smoke
  • 9 lb. young turkey
  • salt and pepper


  • Place aromatics in pot (onion, garlic, lemon, thyme), along with liquid smoke and 1 cup of water. Then place trivet on top of them.
  • Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper, making sure to season inside the cavity of the bird. Add turkey to pot, breast side up. Then lock lid and cook for 60 minutes at high pressure.
  • Once cook time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally (will take about 40 minutes).
  • Remove pressure lid and switch to fry lid. Broil for 10 minutes, or until skin reaches desired crispiness.


Expert Tips

  1. You do not need to brine your turkey for this method. The purpose of brining is to keep the meat moist while cooking in dry heat. When cooking in wet heat there's no need to brine. There are many conflicting opinions on brining a turkey in the first place.  According to this article, brining "results in the meat contracting less while it's in the oven and losing less moisture as it cooks." However: "'It's juicy, but the juice is watery' because you forced the bird to absorb water." And, according to this article by Organic Authority, when you brine a turkey, you add more moisture, in the form of water, to the bird which results in a turkey that tastes more like salted water than turkey. Trust me, try cooking your turkey in the Instant Pot Duo Crisp without brining. You won't be disappointed.
  2. The best part about this recipe is the flexibility it allows. You can use pretty much any combination of your favorite aromatics to get the flavor you prefer.
  3. You'll find that the easiest way to carve this bird is while it's still in the pot, as each piece will be easy to remove. Not to mention the visual appeal this turkey in the pot is much more stunning than on a platter.
  4. After you're done eating the turkey, do yourself a favor and use the broth in the bottom of the pot to make some soup. I promise it will be one the most flavorful soups you'll ever make.


What size turkey should I use? I would aim for one no bigger than 9 lbs. (10 lbs. max). If you go bigger, you may need to cut off the wing tips and/or the drums. If you need to do this, I recommend reserving the wing tips and drums to make turkey stock so they're not wasted.
What size Instant Pot did you use? The Instant Pot Duo Crisp  is 8 quarts. If you're looking for a recipe for a 6qt Instant Pot, I recommend our Instant Pot turkey breast recipe
Can I make this in a regular 8qt pressure cooker? Yes. After pressure cooking, transfer the turkey to the oven and broil until crisp. You will need to do this carefully, as the turkey will be very tender. 
Can I cook this from frozen? No. Almost all store-bought turkeys have the giblets inside the cavity, usually in a bag. You definitely need to remove them before cooking, which means defrosting is a must.


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 191mg | Potassium: 395mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg