Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

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Last Updated on December 17, 2023

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and you know what that means—it’s time to whip up some delicious cranberry sauce! While I believe that you can enjoy this delicacy any time of the year, cranberry sauce is widely recognized as a popular side dish cuisine, not only for Thanksgiving but also for Christmas dinner.

Close up of cranberry sauce in an Instant Pot

I’ve heard about the wonders of Instant Pot cranberry sauce, so I decided to try it out myself, and I was amazed at the result! I know that most people have been using a stovetop for their cranberry sauce—I used to—but it doesn’t come close to the speed and efficiency of an Instant Pot. With few ingredients and little prep time, I was able to make the perfect homemade cranberry sauce.

There and then, I thought to share this excellent technique with you. And the best part? You don’t have to be a kitchen pro to prepare Instant Pot cranberry sauce (or my other favorite holiday dish Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole). All you need to do is follow the simple steps that I’ll be sharing below.

Ingredients to make Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce


Before I reveal the recipe, here are the ingredients you’ll need to make cranberry sauce. You’d be happy to know that the list is simple and basic, and you probably have some of these ingredients in your kitchen pantry.

As a side note, cranberries can be tart, so if you want less of that, you should add more sugar. Also, you can add or reduce the sugar depending on how sweet you like your cranberry sauce.

Now, to the main recipe!

bowl of cranberry sauce

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce: The Simple Recipe

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 15 mins

Yield: 2 1/4 cups

Serving size: 8 servings

Nutrition information of 1 serving: 122 calories, 31g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 28g total sugars

Finding the right recipe can be a hassle—trust me, I’ve been there. This is why I believe this simple recipe is an absolute lifesaver. With it, you can create magic in no time!

1. Prep the Ingredients

Hygiene first, right? So before making cranberry sauce, you should rinse the fresh cranberries and pick out the bad ones. If you’re using frozen cranberries, you can thaw them out, although that’s not compulsory. You can toss them in the pot alongside other ingredients.

Instant pot filled with cranberries and spices

2. Place Ingredients in the Instant Pot

Next, combine all the ingredients (cranberries, cinnamon powder, brown sugar, orange zest and orange juice) in an Instant Pot and close the lid. Then, set it to medium heat and pressure cook for 10 minutes.

When the time is up, leave the Instant Pot for some minutes to naturally release the pressure. After that, you can manually release the rest.

3. Cool the Sauce

Pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl and leave it to cool completely. You can use it immediately if you wish, but if you won’t, I’d advise that you place it in a fridge or freezer.

Note: After pressure cooking the cranberry sauce, you might notice that it looks a bit soupy. Don’t worry about that; the sauce thickens as it gets cooler.

4. Serve!

Now that you have your homemade cranberry sauce, you can do with it whatever you please. Of course, it’s a no-brainer that this delicious sauce goes well with Thanksgiving turkey, but you can also get creative and eat it with other kinds of food.

Tips and Alternative Ingredients for Your Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

The truth is, you might not always have the ingredients I’ve mentioned, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the best cranberry sauce. And sometimes, it could just be that you prefer other options, which is fine.

For instance, you can opt for coconut sugar or maple syrup instead of brown sugar. Both are healthier than white sugar, so you’re well on track with either. That’s not to say that white sugar is a no-no—you can also use it if you desire.

While I love fresh cranberries, frozen ones also work perfectly. So whether you choose fresh or frozen cranberries to make your fresh cranberry sauce, you’ll end up with a delicious sauce and won’t be able to tell the difference.

Interestingly, in place of orange juice, you can use water to make the sauce. Orange juice is great because it adds flavor to the cranberry sauce. Sometimes, I add cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, apple cider, or orange zest for a flavor boost.

If you’d like to add sweetener to your Instant Pot cranberry sauce, you should do that after pressure cooking (while the sauce is still warm). This will make it easier for the sweeteners to dissolve, and you can stir with a wooden spoon to achieve the desired consistency.

How Can I Preserve My Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

The best way to preserve cranberry sauce is to place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for about five to 10 days.

However, I love to preserve my sauce for longer than that, so I usually opt for the freezer. To do this, I ensure that the sauce is totally cool before putting it in a meal prep container or jar and storing it in the freezer.

What Can I Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

Just because it’s leftover cranberry sauce doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to create some fantastic recipes.

So, if you’re at a loss for what to do with it, I’ve put together these few ideas to help you get started:

With Toast

You can keep cranberry sauce in a jam jar and store it in the refrigerator as jam. Then, on days you feel like it, take it out and spread it on your toast. For an explosive taste, I advise adding cream cheese or peanut butter, although it doesn’t matter—cranberry sauce and toast are a perfect combo on their own.

Still, remember that refrigerated cranberries can only last for a few days, so you should use them up as quickly as possible.

For Meat and Poultry

Turkey aside, cranberry sauce goes great with other types of meat (pork, beef, and chicken). While baking the meat, you should brush some cranberries on it for about five minutes before it’s done. This will give it a more caramelized look.

With Plain Yogurt

You can add flavor and color to your plain yogurt with cranberry sauce. Pour a tablespoon of the sauce into the yogurt at a time until you get your desired taste and flavor intensity. Similarly, you can mix it with whipped cream to make better holiday desserts.

For Waffles and Pancakes

You can never go wrong with cranberry sauce and waffles or pancakes. Once I tried it, I became addicted; this combo is usually my go-to food the day after Thanksgiving.

For Drinks and Punch

Nothing beats adding leftover cranberries to your drinks. But, before that, freeze the sauce in ice cube molds and add it to your drink.

What’s the Best Time to Make Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce?

While I love making cranberry sauce a day before I use it to keep it fresh, I know I might not always have it my way. So I usually prepare my cranberry sauce a month ahead and store it in the freezer. Then I can take it out to defrost some days before Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Since Instant Pot cranberry sauce can last up to six months when well frozen, you can make it anytime within that time frame.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Vs. Store-Bought Cranberry Sauce

I prefer homemade cranberry sauce to store-bought or canned cranberry sauce for several reasons. For one, it contains fewer calories, sugar, and carbohydrates, and more fiber and potassium than store-bought cranberry sauce, making it a healthier choice.

Also, the homemade sauce has a better flavor than its canned cousin; canned cranberries don’t taste as sweet and tart as homemade ones. In fact, making your cranberry sauce means you get to control how sweet it tastes, whether you need to add more sugar or maple syrup or add more sweeteners like orange zest or not.

It’s That Easy!

You only need to try out this Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce recipe to see what I’m talking about. Not only does it produce the best homemade cranberry sauce, but you can also prepare this delicacy in no time while you focus on the more essential dishes for Thanksgiving.

Besides saving time and energy, Instant Pots also preserve your food’s taste and appearance, and at the same time, retain nutrients and vitamins. This means that you can rest assured that your cranberry sauce is nothing short of healthy and delicious.

At this point, I doubt you need more convincing. So give it a try, and share your testimony!

close up of cranberry sauce in an instant pot
Yield: 12

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Whether you're making cranberry sauce for the holidays or just for your favorite turkey sandwich, the Instant Pot can help make it in no time. You'll get perfectly seasoned, delicious cranberry sauce every time.


  • zest from 1 orange


  1. Place cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and cinnamon into a 6-qt Instant Pot. Stir until well combined.
  2. Select manual setting; adjust the pressure to high, and set the time for 4 minutes. When finished cooking, naturally release pressure according to the manufacturer’s directions, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, mash the cranberry mixture until desired consistency is reached
  4. Let cool completely.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

12 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 0g

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