Instant Pot Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Instant Pot Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Apple Cider Turkey Breast let me count the ways! 😉 If you’ve never brined a turkey before, just let me tell you that you are truly missing out. This is an easy technique that will up your turkey game, and using the Instant Pot makes it easy to enjoy this year round. Be sure to pair this up with Instant Pot Green Beans with Onions and my Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes!

sliced turkey breast on white plate with cobalt blue gravy boat in background

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Why brine a turkey?

A brine is simply a solution of salt and water that combine to help turkey, which is a lean meat, to become moist once you cook it instead of drying out. The meat absorbs the liquid while brining, and retains more once cooked.

Add some aromatics, garlic, oranges, or other goodies to infuse a host of flavors into the meat as well. The result is a tender juicy turkey breast that is full of flavor. If you would like to read more about the science of bringing head over to Fine Cooking.

Brine the apple cider turkey breast

I used about a three – four pound turkey breast for this recipe. You can however do a larger turkey breast so long as it fits in your pressure cooker. There is plenty of brine solution for a larger one.

Thaw the turkey breast in the refrigerator according to the directions on your package. If you’re unsure how to thaw the turkey head over to the USDA to find out different and safe methods for doing this.

Take a large pot big enough to hold your turkey breast in, and pour in the apple cider then add the kosher salt with the dark brown sugar. Heat the mixture until the salt dissolves on medium heat then remove from the heat source. If you don’t have apple cider available you can substitute with apple juice. Once dissolved remove from heat.

Add to the brine the two oranges cut in half. When putting the oranges in be sure to give them a squeeze so some of the juice is released into the brine immediately. Add a small handful of sliced fresh ginger, the smashed garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, hot red pepper flakes, and half of the herb bouquet.

Put the other half of the herb bouquet into the cavity of the turkey breast. Place the turkey into the brine, and add water to mostly cover if necessary.

overhead view of turkey breast in brining solution with fresh herbs, spices, and oranges

Cover the pot with a lid, and let brine overnight or for 24 hours in the refrigerator. You may add ice instead of the water if you feel that the water is to warm.

Cooking the apple cider turkey breast

I added 1 cup of chicken broth to my 6-quart instant pot with half a sliced onion, celery, and carrots to give my stock a little more flavor for when I made gravy later. I added the rack to the pot to set my turkey breast on for cooking as well.

overhead shot of sliced onions, celery, and carrots in the instant pot with cooking rack

Add to this the apple cider brined turkey breast, then close and seal the lid. Cook on high (normal) pressure for 30 minutes then follow with a 10 minute natural pressure release. If you turkey breast is dramatically bigger you may want to increase the pressure time slightly. For example, a five pound breast may be 40 minutes for high pressure time.

close overhead view of turkey breast in the instant pot

If you would like to brown your turkey breast remove from the pressure cooker once it has finished cooking to a cookie sheet with the rack. I covered my cookie sheet to help with the clean up.

close side view of cooked turkey breast on cookie sheet

Cook on broil for 5-10 minutes until the turkey is browned to your liking. I actually ended up turning the turkey on each side during the process in order to brown but to avoid drying out the meat. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to slicing. What to do while you wait? Make some gravy of course!

close side view of browned turkey breast

Making turkey gravy with drippings

Remove the vegetables from the remaining broth and drippings in the Instant Pot. Set the pressure cooker to saute. Once bubbling add the cornstarch slurry to the pot. Salt and pepper the gravy to taste. Stir until thickened then remove to gravy boat or container.

Slice the turkey breast then remove to a platter. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Finish up this turkey dinner with a Perfect Pumpkin Pie, Instant Pot Golden Oreo Cheesecake, or Easy Instant Pot Cherry Cheesecake!

sliced turkey on plate
sliced turkey breast on white plate with cobalt blue gravy boat in background

Instant Pot Apple Cider Turkey Breast

Apple Cider Brined Instant Pot Turkey Breast is a special treat! The brine has an apple cider base then it's infused with orange, garlic, ginger, herbs, and hot red pepper flakes. A perfect Thanksgiving dinner for two, or a great meal prep for the week any time of the year.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brined turkey, brined turkey recipe, brining recipe, easy turkey recipe, instant pot turkey, pressure cooker turkey
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Brining Time: 1 day
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 156kcal
Author: Tina


  • 1 turkey breast thawed, about 3 pounds

Brining Solution

  • 1 herb bouquet thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, chives, and basil
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider can substitute with apple juice
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 handful ginger peeled and sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 naval oranges quartered
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes

Cooking Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 celery stalk sliced
  • 1 carrot peeled and sliced

Gravy Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine apple cider, kosher salt, and dark brown sugar in a large pot on the stove. Heat until the salt and sugar dissolve then remove from heat.
  • Add brining ingredients to brining solution reserving half the herb bouquet.
  • Take the other half of the her bouqet and place inside the turkey cavity. Set the turkey breast into the brining solutions, cover, and leave in the refrigerator overnight or 24 hours. A full 24 hours is best.
  • Add the sliced onion, celery, and carrot along with the chicken broth to the Instant Pot. Add rack on top. Place turkey in Instant Pot and seal lid.
  • Cook on high (normal) pressure for 30 minutes then follow with a 10 minute natural pressure release. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing and deboning.
  • If desired, brown in oven on broil for 5-10 minutes.
  • To make a gravy combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Turn the pressure cooker on to saute. Add the cornstarch slurry, and stir until thickened. You can add additional cornstarch slurry if you like. Salt and pepper the gravy to taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.


Note: Nutritional values exclude brining solution as this is not consumed, only the turkey and gravy is eaten in this recipe. Also, you can use as large of a turkey breast that will fit in your pressure cooker as there is plenty of brining solution. If dramatically larger you may want to increase the cook times slightly.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 420mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1724IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @MondayisMeatloaf or tag #mondayismeatloaf! I would love to see your amazing creations!

8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Apple Cider Turkey Breast”

    • We are also a low sodium household, and while brining does introduce more salt you don’t taste it in the meat. We’ve not had a problem with any swelling as a result of eating a brined turkey. But, yes brining will definitely increase the sodium content of the meat. I hope that helps! 🙂

    • A few sprigs each of thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, chives, and basil. Sometimes you can find like a variety pack of herbs at the store over the holidays, or they will have them individually at the store.

    • I’ve not personally done it with a brine but generally you can do a 3 to 1 substitution of fresh to dry. So, for every tablespoon of fresh you would sub one teaspoon of dried. Since I call for a few sprigs at least I would try 1 teaspoon of each. Using the dried may impact the flavor complexity especially depending on how old the dried herbs are. You never know until you try though, so I hope this helps! 😊

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