In the spirit of Thanksgiving, guess what I am going to “semi” cook in the pressure cooker this week? Come on!  GUESS!  Oh come on, you’re not even trying!  Ok, give up?

I’m going to make TURKEY!!!  (Oops, I gave it away somehow, didn’t I?)

Now you’re probably wondering how the heck am I going to do that?  Especially when turkeys are so gynormous, how is it going to fit into the 8Qt. Pressure Cooker pot?  Well….actually, I had the same thought.  In fact, I dreamt about it last night. I tossed and turned dreaming about turkey.  I think I need help.

And then it came to me….in my dream….cause sometimes I’m just a little psychic that way.


We’re going to make it in stages.

Roasting a turkey in a regular conventional oven usually takes hours anyway, so doing it in the pressure cooker in stages will include a little bit of extra work, but the cook time will be cut in half almost.

Let me just start by saying, cooking turkey, no matter how you’re cooking it….smells OH SO GOOD! Nothing compares to the smell of turkey during Thanksgiving.

I went to the market and found myself the smallest turkey I could get my hands on.  It weighed at about 12lbs.  I took it home and with the packaging still on it, I dumped it into my pressure cooker pot to see how it fit and the turkey butt stuck out by about 2-inches.  Darn!!!  So it wasn’t going to fit.  Well then….I’ll make it fit gosh darn it!  I’ll hack it into pieces!

But then I realized turkey just wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have that nice golden brown color to it.  So this is where the “semi” and the “stages” come into play.  We are going to semi-roast it first in the oven to get it nice and golden brown on the outside.  And then we’re going to finish it off by hacking it into smaller portions after the roasting, and pressure cook it so it stays nice and juicy and moist and tender.

So prep your turkey the usual way you would if you were going to roast it in the oven.  For me, I always give it a nice herb butter bath.  The butter will help the turkey brown quicker in the oven.  Make sure the turkey is placed inside a roasting pan.  Preheat your oven to 450F


  • 1 Whole 12lb. Turkey
  • 1 Cup Butter (slightly melted)
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

Mix all the herbs and seasonings with the butter so it becomes a nice gooey paste.  Melt it in the microwave for about 15-seconds if the butter is too firm.  Then use a brush and start smearing it all over the turkey.  Cover as much of it as possible.  Get it under the skin.   Get it onto the bottom and inside the cavity.


  • 1/2 Half Large Yellow Onion
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Sage
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 4 Whole Garlic Cloves (Not pictured)

Chop up the onion into quarters and stuff it into the cavity of the turkey.  Leave the herbs whole and also stuff it into the cavity.

Put the turkey into the oven and roast for only 30-minutes or until the skin is nice and golden brown.

Once that’s done, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool down slightly.

Now starts the hard work of hacking it into pieces.  If you have an electric knife, this is the time you’ll need it.  It’ll be a life saver!

If you don’t know how to carve a turkey properly, you can watch a neat little Pampered Chef video on it here.

Keep the legs/drumsticks, wings and even the breast whole when you carve them off.  Remove as much of the turkey meat as you can.  The center of the turkey will still be pretty raw.  So this carving work is not going to be a pretty one.


  • 1/2 to 1 Can Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Large Yellow Onion
  • Plus
  • The onions and fresh herbs from the turkey cavity
  • Turkey Juices from the roasting pan
  • Any leftover herb butter

Place all the pieces into the pressure cooker pot.  It should all fit nicely now.  Use the other half of the remaining onion you chopped earlier and put it into the pot as well.  And dig out the onions and the herbs from the cavity too.  Put it all into the pot.  In fact, pour any of the juices from the roasting pan in as well.  And any remaining herb butter from earlier. Dump them all into the pot.

Then pour in one can of Chicken Stock.  I thought I had needed two cans, but one can reached about half way up in the pot so it should be fine.  Perhaps even half a can will do.  The turkey itself releases a lot of liquid, so don’t overfill.  You don’t need to immerse the entire turkey into liquid.

Shut the lid and turn to lock it into place.  Adjust the pressure valve on top to Airtight.  Press the “Pressure Cook Time” button and program the pressure cooker for 45-minutes.  Press “Start”.

At this time you can prepare some items that you can use to “beautify” the turkey platter for your Thanksgiving dinner. For instance, fresh herbs or sliced oranges or lemons.
Turkey that is cooked in the pressure cooker does not necessarily come out of it looking very “pretty”.  In fact, it takes some gentle-loving skill to remove it later without it all falling apart!

When the pressure cooker has finished the cooking cycle, release all the pressure by setting the valve to Exhaust on the top of the lid.  Once all the pressure has released, the lid can be turned and unlocked.

Hello my heavenly gobble gobble king!!!

Using a pair of tongs, carefully and gently remove all the turkey sections.  Use two pairs of tongues if you must.  The liquid that’s in the pot is also rich in flavor (and probably 1000 calories per tablespoon! JK).  Perfect for making gravy if you like.
Plate the turkey sections onto your serving platter.  Hide all the mini loose pieces underneath the larger sections. Decorate the platter with fresh herbs and citrus slices.  Ladle some extra liquid from the pot over the turkey.

Your friends and family will be amazed that you cooked a turkey so fast!  This also avoids tying up the oven from baking other things in it like some sugary yams or sausage cornbread dressing.  The meat is fall off the bone and moist and tender.  The drumstick is not tough and dry and only slightly edible.  The wings are not crispy and hard and completely inedible.  Everything is super juicy and super yummy.  This is a good one to amaze the in-laws!!!  *wink wink*


*If you haven’t already yet, enter into my contest to win a Festive Holiday Red Pressure Cooker!  Check out my contest post here.  You still have until this Sunday 11/27/11 at midnight to enter. 


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  1. Susana on the 20. Nov, 2011 remarked #

    Looks so goodddddddddddd congratulations !!!

  2. Amina on the 20. Nov, 2011 remarked #

    Looks GREAT. Never considered cooking a turkey in my pressure cooker. What a fabulous idea. Definitley gonna give this a try. I am going to change one of the steps though. Instead of rotating the turkey in the oven to get color, I will mix in a little bit of “kitchen bouquet browning and seasoning sauce”. Will let you know how it turns out 🙂

    • Patty on the 21. Nov, 2011 remarked #

      Oh yay! Definitely let me know how it works out. I’ve never used something like that before.

  3. Stéphanie on the 02. Feb, 2013 remarked #

    I just made this recipe, with the turkey my mom bought for christmas and never cooked,it was awesome 🙂 i cooked it a bit longer (15 minutes extra), but my pressure cooker is 12 psi, instead of 15, like most cookers.

    it was so good, i can call my first turkey ever a success, thank you 😀

  4. becky taylor on the 30. Aug, 2014 remarked #

    How do you cook a turkey breast that fits in the pressure cooker we only like the white meat so don’t buy whole turkey

    • patee333 on the 31. Aug, 2014 remarked #

      Follow the same instructions for cooking a whole turkey. Brown it in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes.

  5. Cindy on the 03. Sep, 2014 remarked #

    Just love this site ! !

    I am new to pressure cooking , learning alot …

  6. John Pannacciulli on the 02. Oct, 2014 remarked #

    Just purchased myself an electric pressure cooker. Really having fun with it, really fast. I especially appreciate the convenience of one pot meals for easy cleanup. I am mow looking to adapt regular oven and stovetop recipes to pressure cooker.

  7. John on the 13. Nov, 2015 remarked #

    Instead of using a 8 quart pressure
    cooker, how about using a 10 quart
    pressure cooker? I may want to ask,
    are there 10 quart pressure cookers
    being sold today?

    • Pam on the 28. Dec, 2016 remarked #

      I used a 10qt for my turkey, and I’m glad that I did. I don’t think that an 8qt would have held it. Also, I separated the back from the legs and breast and discarded it. I think the one thing I would do differently is to cook it longer in the oven to brown it. I cooked it for 30 minutes, like the directions said, but it didn’t get browned enough. Otherwise, the herbs were great, and the turkey was fantastic!

  8. Tim Shea on the 14. Mar, 2016 remarked #

    I was researching how to cook turkey in electric pressure cooker and came upon your recipe. Thanks it got me doing the McGyver thing too. What if you saved the netting that the turkey came in and did not hack it up too bad,. Do you think this would hold the meat and bone together enough to get to platter. I am not suggesting the use in the oven of course, but after cooling and hide with garnishes down enough to handle I’m thinking maybe breast and anything else that will fit would be easier to remove from cooker without damages to meat or prevent separation from the bone. once on the platter just cut away netting and drape over side of dish hide with garnish, serve. Discard netting when able.

    • patee333 on the 14. Mar, 2016 remarked #

      If you can find one small enough to fit into the cooker, then sure….go for it.

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