• Gabby

Better than Thanksgiving: Perfect, Tender, Juicy Turkey Thighs

Bold statement but I stand by it. Grocery stores were completely sold out of chicken (and basically every other meat) except for 2 packs of bone in turkey thighs. So when raided grocery stores give you turkey... you make Thanksgiving happen in March. I made these out of necessity, and it was one of the best damn dinners in a while. Definitely beat Thanksgiving. I brined the thighs for 30 hours, then pressure cooked for 30 minutes on high. Relatively easy aside from waiting on the brining part, and the result is seriously AMAZING. So if you're limited on protein options and see that turkey sitting on the shelf.. give it a try!

Step 1/Day 1- Brine.


  • 2 cups of water

  • 1/4 cup salt

  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used a Riesling that was left in the back of the fridge since Valentine's day)

  • Handful of herbs- I used a poultry blend- 3 sage leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves. You can use dry herbs too!

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat up the water, salt, wine and herbs. Stir until the salt dissolves completely. Set aside and let cool.

  2. Once your brine has cooled (warm to room temp is fine) find a container that will hold the liquid + turkey. You want the turkey to be submerged completely. I used a large glass pyrex with a snap on lid. You'll be storing the turkey in here for at least 24 hours. Place the turkey thighs in, pour the brine over, cover, and place in the fridge. Now we wait....

Step 2/ Day 2- Cook.

24 (or up to 36) hours later…

Kitchen tools you'll need:

  • Cutting board

  • Sharp knife to chop veggies

  • Pressure cooker (I have the instant pot)

  • Large 6 quart sau pan


  • 2 bone in turkey thighs (2 pounds)

  • 1 cup roughly chopped celery (leaves too)

  • 1 cup roughly chopped onion

  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrots

(these are just for flavor so don’t worry about chopping perfectly)

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • Salt

  • Dried Rubbed Sage

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in your large sauté pan. Add in celery, onion, carrots, and garlic cooking for 5- 7 minutes until softened.

  2. While the veggies cook, remove the turkey from the brine. Dry with paper towels and lightly dust with sage on the skin side, and salt on both sides to taste.

  3. Add veggies to your pressure cooker once they are softened.

  4. In the same sauté pan, turn heat up to medium high, and add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Sear turkey thighs, skin down, for about 4 minutes or until they skin is golden brown and slightly crisp. Flip and cook other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove and place on top of veggies in the pressure cooker- skin side up.

  5. Set pressure cooker for 30 minutes on high- now we wait!

  6. Once the 30 minutes are up, let the thighs sit for 5 minutes, then release the pressure. Careful taking the turkey out- it's hot- but ready to eat!


If you want to make a gravy out of the broth (which I HIGHLY recommend), let the pressure cooker cool down so you can pour out the broth, straining out the veggies. I simply simmered in a saucepan on medium high with a sprig of rosemary and reduced it down for about 5-7 minutes, whisked in 1 tablespoon of butter at the end. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Another note... While the turkey is pressure cooking, use the time to make your sides. I made a cauliflower & sweet potato mash and sautéed swiss chard with garlic and a splash of broth. Feel free to comment below!

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