Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin

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This tender and juicy Instant Pot Turkey Breast Tenderloin with gravy is the perfect foolproof way to make delicious turkey without all the fuss. Tender and juicy turkey breast in just 20 minutes.

233 CAL 7g CARBS 5g FAT 39g PROTEIN 2
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If you want an easy, quick, and delicious way to make a smaller turkey dinner, this Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin is the answer! It’s simple to make, never dry, and full of flavor. Pair it with your favorite holiday sides.

Turkey breast tenderloin is one of my favorite proteins to cook this time of year. It’s a great alternative to chicken and it can be baked in the oven, air-fried, or slow cooked. It’s perfect for a small holiday meal (like Thanksgiving) instead of a whole turkey.

Today I wanted to show you another way to prepare it - in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

The thing I love about making a turkey in the Instant Pot is that it seals in moisture, basically guaranteeing the juiciest turkey breast.

Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Turkey Breast Tenderloin

  • Guaranteed moist and tender: Cooking lean protein in the instant pot seals in the moisture and ensures a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey breast every time.
  • Quick and easy: While a traditional turkey takes hours (plus lots of prep time), this tenderloin is ready in just 20 minutes.
  • Great for a small crowd: If you want a turkey dinner for a small gathering, this is a great way to prepare a small turkey with gravy for a special occasion.

Looking for more ways to cook turkey? Try this Crockpot Turkey Breast, Air Fryer Turkey Tenderloin, or Baked Turkey Tenderloin.

Ingredients for Instant Pot turkey tenderloins including raw turkey tenderloins, butter, olive oil, spices, carrots, onion, and celery stalks.


Here is everything you need to make this juicy turkey breast tenderloin recipe.

  • Turkey breast tenderloin: Turkey breast tenderloin is the most tender part of the turkey breast. It normally comes packaged with 2 tenderloins (similar to pork tenderloin) and can be brined or plain.
  • Butter and olive oil: Using a combination of butter and olive oil adds richness and flavor to the lean turkey. Use all butter or olive oil if you prefer. If you plan on making gravy, it is best to use at least some butter.
  • Spices: You can use almost any combination of spices, herbs, and seasonings on the turkey. For a traditional flavor, use a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, sage, kosher salt, and black pepper. You can also add rosemary, poultry seasoning, or marjoram.
  • Chicken stock: To help ensure a super moist turkey, add some chicken or turkey stock to the Instant Pot. You could also use water or a combination of stock and white wine if you prefer.
  • Aromatics: Adding carrots, celery, and onion to the Instant Pot helps infuse the turkey breast with flavor. Throw in some garlic as well if you like.
  • Gravy: If you want to make gravy, you will also need cornstarch to thicken the cooking liquid. Since this is a lean turkey breast, there won’t be a lot of drippings or fat, but you can still make a really tasty gravy.

How to Cook Turkey Breast in the Instant Pot

This turkey couldn’t be easier to make! In just a few simple steps, dinner is done.

1. Prep the turkey breast tenderloins

Make sure to always dry the turkey with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then make the spice rub in a small bowl. Cover the turkey on all sides.

Note: If you buy brined turkey tenderloin, reduce the amount of salt in the rub since the brine contains salt.

2. Sear until golden brown

Warm the butter and olive oil in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the turkey and sear on both sides until golden brown. It should take a couple of minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

3. Add aromatics and cook

Place the carrots, celery, and onion in the bottom of the Instant Pot and place the turkey breast on top. This helps prevent burning and sticking.

Add the broth to the Instant Pot. Seal the lid and cook the turkey for 8 minutes. Then let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes. The turkey will continue to cook during this time, so don’t open it sooner.

Remove the turkey and tent it with foil. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Turkey should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

4. Make gravy

If you want to make them gracy, start by removing the aromatics from the pot. Then turn to Saute mode. Mix together the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. Slowly whisk it into the broth and drippings.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t burn, until the gravy is thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to Cook Frozen Turkey Tenderloin

If you are making this recipe with frozen tenderloins, add 10 minutes of cooking time to ensure it is fully cooked.

Note: If possible, it is always better to cook turkey and other proteins thawed. When cooked from frozen, it is more likely to cook unevenly resulting in some areas that are dry or overcooked.

To thaw the turkey breast tenderloin, simply place it in the fridge the night before.

Pressure cooked turkey breast tenderloin sliced and served with gravy and fresh thyme.

Side Dish Ideas

There are so many side dish options for turkey from traditional Thanksgiving sides to quick roasted veggies and salads. Here are some of our favorites.

Flavor Variations

Change up the flavor of this turkey by switching out the spice rub!

  • Blackened: Make a smoky and spicy turkey with this blackening seasoning.
  • Cajun: Pack in tons of flavor with a sweet and spicy Cajun rub.
  • Lemon pepper: Add citrus and spice with zesty lemon pepper.
  • White wine: Use white wine in place of some of the chicken broth. Then make a white wine sauce with butter instead of traditional gravy.

Make Ahead, Storage, and Leftovers

This turkey can be made ahead of time, but it will lose some moisture. For best results, make sure to let it cool completely and store it with the cooking liquid.

Then reheat individual slices in a saute pan with some of the cooking liquid. If reheating the whole turkey tenderloin, reheat slowly in a pan with the cooking liquid.

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in the fridge for 4-5 days. Then use the leftovers to make:

  • Turkey sandwiches or wraps
  • Turkey soup
  • Salads or grain bowls
  • Turkey casserole

Sliced instant pot turkey tenderloin on a plate with roasted potatoes and herbs.

Trouble Shooting: 4 Common Problems and Solutions

1. Problem: Dry Meat

Solution: To prevent dryness, be cautious with cooking time. For turkey breast tenderloins, shorter cooking times (about 8 minutes) are often better. Consider using a natural pressure release, which allows the meat to retain more moisture. Additionally, adding liquid helps the turkey stay moist.

2. Problem: Lack of Flavor

Solution: Ensure you season the turkey breast tenderloins well before cooking. You can marinate them in your favorite spices and herbs for added flavor. Consider using a flavorful liquid like broth, white wine, or a marinade before adding it to the Instant Pot. Searing the meat before pressure cooking also enhances the flavor by creating a delicious crust.

3. Problem: Uneven Cooking

Solution: Make sure the tenderloins are of similar size to ensure even cooking. If using frozen tenderloins, thaw them before cooking. Arrange the pieces evenly in the Instant Pot to promote uniform cooking. This helps prevent some pieces from being undercooked while others are overcooked.

4. Problem: Sticking to the Bottom

Solution: Create a bed of aromatics on the bottom of the Instant Pot so that the turkey doesn’t stick. If you prefer not to use the aromatics, then use the Instant Pot insert so that the turkey isn’t sitting on the bottom of the pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about this recipe.

You can also cook a boneless turkey breast or bone-in turkey breast in the Instant Pot, just adjust the cooking time.

  • Turkey tenderloin: 8 minutes, natural release
  • Boneless turkey breast: 25-30 minutes, natural release (3-4 lbs)
  • Bone-in turkey breast: 35 minutes, natural release (6-7 lbs)

Remember to always let the turkey rest. For skin-on turkey, consider placing it under the broiler before serving to crisp up the skin.

While it is possible to cook frozen turkey breast tenderloin in the Instant Pot, it's generally recommended to thaw the meat first for more even cooking. If you choose to cook it from frozen, increase the cooking time by 8-10 minutes, and be aware that the Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure.

Ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Thawing the tenderloin before cooking will yield more predictable and consistent results.

Turkey tenderloin with gravy and potatoes on a white plate with two forks.
The Recipe
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Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin

233 CAL 7g CARBS 5g FAT 39g PROTEIN 2
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  • 2 lbs turkey breast tenderloins (1.5-2lbs total)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cold water

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Mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.


Use a paper towel to pat dry the turkey tenderloins. Then coat the turkey on all sides with the spice mixture.


Turn the Instant Pot on “Saute” mode. Add the butter and olive oil. Once melted and hot, add the turkey tenderloins and sear for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove and set aside.


Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in the chicken broth. Place the turkey tenderloins on top. Close the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let naturally release for 10 minutes.


Remove the turkey tenderloin from the Instant Pot and let rest. Cover it loosely with foil to keep warm. Discard the carrot, celery, and onion.


To make gravy: Turn the Instant Pot back to Saute mode. In a cup, combine the cornstarch and cold water. Use a whisk to stir the cornstarch mixture into the chicken broth. Whisk until smooth and continue to cook until the gravy is thick and bubbling., Season with salt and pepper as needed. Slice the tenderloin and drizzle with gravy to serve.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 233
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 101mg
Sodium 101mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 39g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


This recipe can be made with frozen turkey tenderloin. Make sure to increase the cooking time by 10 minutes. Do not sear the frozen turkey, skip that step.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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