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A turkey thigh on a bed of cranberries and onions and sauce, with a sprig of thyme and sage on top, and a cup of cranberries in the background

Instant Pot Turkey Thighs with Thanksgiving Flavors

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 thighs 1x


Instant Pot Turkey Thighs with Thanksgiving Flavors. Dark meat turkey with a traditional Thanksgiving flavor profile, done in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 turkey thighs, bone in and skin on (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 sprig fresh sage (or ½ teaspoon dried sage)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup turkey broth (or chicken broth)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (If using homemade broth)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Cornstarch Slurry (optional)

  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Brown the skin side of the turkey thighs: Sprinkle the turkey thighs with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Melt the butter in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker on Sauté mode. (Medium heat in a stovetop PC). As soon as the butter is melted, add 2 of the turkey thighs to the pot, skin side down, and sear until the skin is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Move the browned thighs to a bowl, then sear the skin side of the remaining 2 thighs, about 3 more minutes. Add them to the bowl of browned thighs.
  2. Sauté the aromatics: Add the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions soften, about 5 more minutes, stirring and scraping the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any browned turkey bits stuck to the bottom.
  3. Simmer the herbs and the wine, then put everything in the pot: Add the sprigs of sage, rosemary, and thyme, then pour in the wine. Bring the wine to a simmer and simmer for 1 minute to boil off some of the alcohol. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon one last time, to make sure nothing is sticking. Pour in the turkey broth and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the turkey thighs - I put them in sideways, so they are all slightly submerged in the liquid - and add any turkey juices in the bowl. Scatter the dried cranberries over the top.
  4. Pressure cook for 30 minutes with a natural release: Lock the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker (or for 25 minutes in a stovetop PC). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes more. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes).
  5. Thicken the sauce and serve: Unlock the lid, opening it away from you to avoid any hot steam. Move the turkey thighs to a platter with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Be gentle - they will be fall-apart tender). Scoop out the cranberries and onions with a slotted spoon and add to the platter with the turkey thighs, discarding the herb stems when you find them. Whisk the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, making a slurry, and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the pot. Ladle some of the pot liquid over the thighs and pass the rest at the table as a gravy. Enjoy!


  • Dry white wine: I like Gewürztraminer or a dry Riesling wine with turkey. That said, we're adding wine for the acid and a hint of fruit - if you have a different white wine, throw it in there, it will be fine.
  • Don’t want to use wine? Use apple cider, or more turkey broth.


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Turkey Thighs, Pressure Cooker Turkey Thighs