Five-ingredient Instant pot cranberry sauce that’s sweet & tangy and definitely deserves a spot on the Thanksgiving dinner table for all to enjoy. Fresh cranberries, honey, orange juice, and whole cinnamon sticks cook under pressure in just two minutes! It’s a fruity flavor enhancer for any turkey or chicken dish.
All year long I eagerly wait for fresh cranberries to hit the grocery stores, especially once my frozen stash runs out. The mouth-puckering cranberry is a superfood packed with nutritional health benefits. Of course, it’s practically a tradition to have cranberry sauce on the table during the holidays. With a little bit of experimenting, I created a recipe for Instant Pot cranberry sauce in my electric pressure cooker, and I must say, I was thrilled with the results!
I typically make a stovetop classic cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving or a sauce with orange that my family raves about. However, after making this recipe in an Instant Pot, the process seriously couldn’t be any simpler! All you have to do is add whole fresh cranberries and liquids into the pressurized device. It takes just two minutes of cooking to make the berries burst and transform into a fruit thickened sauce.
Offset the tartness with sweetness
If you’ve ever tasted cranberries by themselves, you know just how tart and astringent they are. The key is to balance those strong notes with a sweetener. This recipe uses honey for its rich caramel flavors. You can also substitute maple syrup or granulated sugar. Adding a few cinnamon sticks infuses the taste of warm spices into the sauce for a nice holiday flavor.
In order for the Instant Pot to properly pressurize, the system needs at least 1 cup of liquid to create steam heat. For this recipe, orange juice is used instead of water to add a citrus flavor to the sauce. I also add freshly grated orange peel to infuse the essential oils into the cranberries, for a pleasant taste and aroma that lingers.
How to make cranberry sauce in the Instant Pot
I use two settings on the Instant Pot to make the sauce; high pressure cooking and saute. It’s the best way to quickly break down the cranberries while reducing the ingredients to thicken the sauce. The first step is to add all of the ingredients into the pot, stir, cover with the lid and allow it to come up to pressure. Once the internal pressure reaches about 13 psi, the cranberries will explode, like mini berry bombs.
The final step is to “quick release” to depressurize the system. You’ll notice that the sauce is still runny in consistency. Hit the saute function on the Instant Pot and allow the sauce to simmer. This will concentrate the flavors and drive off some of the excess moisture from the berries and the juice. Once the sauce cools completely, it will thicken as it cools down.
Homemade cranberry sauce truly doesn’t get more simple than making it in a pressure cooker! I like to serve it with roast turkey breast or slather some on freshly baked buttermilk biscuits. This is a great recipe to make in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. You can also place in jars and enjoy all year long.
More Thanksgiving Instant Pot recipes
How the thickening process works
Cranberries naturally contain pectin in their cell walls and skin. Pectin is a water-soluble fiber in the fruit that when released into the water and is heated, will thicken the mixture and help it set. By cooking cranberries with sugar, acid from the orange juice, and water, the pectin molecules are able to bind together, trapping moisture and adding thickness to the sauce. The result, a spoonable sauce that sticks onto turkey, making it even more delicious.
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Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- 24 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- orange zest, from one orange
- 1 cup honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Add cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and honey to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine and then add in the cinnamon sticks.
- Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position. Place the lid on, turn and lock.
- Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 2 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons.
- It will take about 10 to 15 minutes for the pot to heat and build up pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Carefully quick-release the pressure from the pot, sliding the steam release handle to the "Venting" position, releasing all of the steam until the float valve drops down.
- Carefully open the lid. Press the "Keep Warm/ Cancel" button.
- Reduce and stir the sauce until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
- Taste and add more sweetener as desired.
- Carefully transfer cranberry sauce to a serving dish, it will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Store for up to 7 days in an airtight container and stored into the refrigerator.
- Granulated sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup can be substituted for honey.
- MAKE IT VEGAN AND PALEO: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
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