How to Pressure Cook a Turkey

by Contributing Writer

Pressure cooking drastically reduces food preparation time. Food that would normally take a large amount of time to cook can usually be ready in half the time when pressure cooked.

Practically any food, including turkey, can be pressure cooked. Most smaller cuts of turkey, such as the breast and drumsticks, will fit comfortably into a standard-size pressure cooker; however, if one has a big enough cooker, the entire turkey can be pressure-cooked.


Rinse turkey, but do not pat dry.

Place turkey in pressure cooker, add spices and onion. If possible, leave onion whole; do not halve or chop it.

Add the ½ cup butter.

Add the water or chicken broth. Be sure the liquid completely covers the meat, but leave 1 to 2 inches between the liquid and the top of the pressure cooker.

Fit the top on the pressure cooker, making sure it is secure. Fit the pressure cooker regulator on the pressure cooker, if it is a separate piece.

Turn heat on under pressure cooker. Start on high, until the regulator has assumed a rhythmic rocking motion, then adjust heat as needed to maintain a steady rhythm.

Once the regulator has started rocking, start timing the cooking process. Allow 30 to 45 minutes for turkey breasts or drumsticks. A whole turkey may take one hour or longer.

Allow the pressure to release gradually by removing the pressure cooker from the heat source and placing it on a heatproof or heat-resistant surface.

Carefully remove pressure cooker lid; transfer meat to serving platter or dish, or continue with the recipe.


  • Prepare food in advance, in the morning or even the night before, place into the pressure cooker, and place the pressure cooker in the refrigerator. It will take a little longer for the pressure cooker to heat up, but extra time was gained by the advance preparation.

    If a little more cooking time is desired after the pressure has been released, it is not necessary to replace the lid. Simply place the container portion of the pressure cooker back on the heat source, allow the food to boil, then cook until desired doneness is reached.

    If other ingredients are to be added to the recipe, allow the turkey to cook first, release the pressure, then add the other ingredients. Replace the lid, allow the pressure to re-build, then cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until other ingredients are tender.

    It is possible to speed up the pressure release by running cold water over the pressure cooker; however, extreme care must be taken when doing so. See the warning concerning this.

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