Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce – This pressure cooker cranberry sauce recipe couldn’t be easier! Save stove space & enjoy gorgeous cranberry sauce this holiday season. (Naturally paleo, vegan, gluten-free)
My goal this season is to make things as EASY as possible for anyone using the recipes on my site for Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday celebration. I want this big meal and family celebration to feel as effortless and low-stress as possible, so we’re back again today with another easy Thanksgiving recipe. This one uses the Instant Pot!
I love using my Instant Pot and slow cooker to free up oven and stove space at the holidays and love how hands-off it makes most recipes. This Instant Pot Cranberry sauce is a perfect example.
- No need to spend a lot of time stirring at the stove (which frees your hands up to do other jobs!)
- You can make it in advance (one less thing to do on the actual day!)
- It tastes amazing. (No skimping on flavor here!)
Here’s what you need to make our easy Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce recipe …
Here’s What You need To Make Pressure Cooker Cranberry Sauce:
- An Instant Pot! We use a 6-quart Instant Pot. It’s usually under $100 and big enough for us to make everything we need to!
- Fresh Cranberries (Or Frozen Cranberries!). First, you’ll start this homemade cranberry sauce with plenty of cranberries. I usually use fresh cranberries since they’re so inexpensive this time of year, but frozen cranberries will absolutely work. No need to thaw them first!
- Orange Zest. The fresh orange zest adds vibrant citrus flavor, which offsets the natural bitterness of cranberries. Try to ONLY get the orange zest, NOT the white pith, as the pith is bitter. A microplane zester makes this easy!
- Orange Juice. Then, you’ll need some orange juice. This adds sweetness, acidity, and brightness that’s perfect with the zest and cranberries.
- Pure Maple Syrup. For a little more sweetness, you’ll use pure maple syrup. It will NOT make your sauce taste maple-y, it’ll just add subtle sweetness. Feel free to use agave or honey, if you prefer, just know they may impact the flavor somewhat.
- A Little Water. Just a bit of water helps turn this nice and saucy. You don’t need as much liquid for Instant Pot cranberry sauce as you do for stovetop sauce, since it won’t evaporate as much during pressure cooking.
- Cinnamon & Salt. Lastly, you’ll use a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt to balance the flavor. They both do WONDERS!
Variations To Try:
- Use Honey! Swap out the pure maple syrup for some honey. The flavor shines through and can be lovely with the orange and cranberries. We do this in our stovetop cranberry sauce recipe and love it!
- Add Ginger. Or, add some extra warmth by adding 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon dried ginger to the cranberry sauce along with the orange zest. (You can add more or less, to taste!)
- Try Rosemary. Another way to change up your cranberry sauce is by adding a little fresh rosemary. It’s pretty aromatic and strong, so a little goes a LONG way. Even just a teaspoon of fresh rosemary will add lots of flavor!
- A Little Vanilla. Add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the cranberry sauce right at the end. A little makes a big impact! (You can always add more, but you can’t take it out!)
- Use A Cinnamon Stick. If you want a more pronounced cinnamon flavor, you can add a cinnamon stick to the sauce right before cooking. It’ll infuse the cranberry sauce with even more flavor!
How To Make Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce, Step By Step:
- Wash & Sort The Cranberries. Start by washing and sorting the cranberries, discarding any cranberries that are bruised, browned, soft, or shriveled.
- Add Ingredients To The Instant Pot. Next, add your washed, sorted cranberries to the Instant Pot, along with the orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, water, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Seal & Cook. Then, secure the lid, making sure the pressure valve is set to the SEALING position (not VENTING). Pressure cook on MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK mode and set the timer for 4 minutes. It will take 8-10 minutes to come to high pressure in a 6-quart Instant Pot, then will cook for 4 minutes.
- Naturally Release The Pressure 15 Minutes. After the cranberry sauce has cooked for 4 minutes, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15-20 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure by switching the pressure valve to VENTING to let any remaining steam escape.
- Stir & Smash. Press CANCEL or unplug your Instant Pot to turn off the heat. Carefully remove the lid and use a silicone or wooden spoon or a potato masher to gently smash the berries to your desired texture. (Less is more for me!) The sauce may seem slightly thin at this point, but it will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Serve Or Store. Taste the cranberry sauce and add more cinnamon, orange juice, or syrup as desired. Let the cranberry sauce cool a bit, then transfer to a serving dish or an airtight container or jar to store in the fridge up to 1 week. (You can also store it in the freezer up to 1 month!)
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce:
What Size Instant Pot Do You Use For Cranberry Sauce? I’m using a 6-quart Instant Pot, which is large enough to make big batches of stews, soups, pasta dinners, and more! If you use a different size, your results or cook times may vary slightly.
Use Up Those Leftovers! Other than making epic leftover turkey sandwiches, there are lots of ways to use leftover pressure cooker cranberry sauce! Try adding a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce to toast, oatmeal, overnight oats, waffles, pancakes, corn muffins, chia pudding, yogurt, a smoothie, and more. You can even add it to desserts, like cheesecake or ice cream!
Can I Make Cranberry Sauce In Advance? Yes! Cranberry sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, so it’s perfectly fine to make it a day or two ahead of time. You can even freeze cranberry sauce in advance up to 1 month, so feel free to make it weeks ahead and freeze it. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving. (Give it a stir as it may separate slightly)
Can You Use Frozen Cranberries For Cranberry Sauce? Absolutely. Frozen cranberries can be a great option–easy to keep on hand & no need to thaw first!