Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

instant pot cranberry sauce featured image

Best dish in the Thanksgiving dinner spread? In my opinion, it’s not the turkey. It’s the homemade cranberry sauce (or the stuffing or mac and cheese). And even better if it’s homemade, but hands-off and almost zero effort. This homemade Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce is quick, effortless and so, so tasty!

instant pot cranberry sauce pinterest

Read on for all the tips and tricks or:

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Fresh vs. Frozen Cranberries

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My recommendation is to use fresh cranberries or berries that you froze from fresh. You could use cranberries from the frozen section of the grocery store; I just don’t think they have the same flavor level as fresh or flash-frozen fresh.

If you buy cranberries on sale right now, you can freeze them to last all year. Just open the bag, spread them on a baking sheet and flash freeze them for a few hours (to prevent them from sticking together). Then throw the cranberries into zip-top bags, label and freeze. I always double-bag mine to help keep away freezer burn!

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My Pressure Cooker Isn’t IP Brand – Are the Times Different?

In this recipe, my guess is no, simply because you’re only cooking the cranberries for 3 minutes. But yes, that can for sure be the case in many recipes. You can either just play with the time, or google a comparison.

Best Orange Juice to Use

Make sure you use an orange juice that’s cold-bottled (in the refrigerator section of the grocery store) and that is 100% juice. I used the organic 100% orange juice from Costco, but there’s no reason it has to be organic.

IF it’s not 100% juice, though, it may have additives that affect the taste of your sauce.

More Sugar, More Better?

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That’s how my 3 year old would say it – and he’s right! Cranberries are suuuuuper tart on their own, so the sweetness from the juice and the sugar are important to balance it out. I recommend starting with 1/2 cup of juice and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, but you can always add more sugar if you want a bit more sweetness. (Don’t add more juice, because that will affect the thickness of the Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce).

Making Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

instant pot cranberry sauce ingredients 1

Rinse your cranberries and pick through them, tossing out any bad ones. Pour them in the bottom of the Instant Pot, and add maple syrup, cinnamon and ginger. Stir to coat cranberries. Pour in juice. Measure sugar and add on top of cranberries. Do not stir. Do not stir.

maple syrup over instant pot 1

Twist on pot lid and seal. Turn on to pressure cook for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the Instant Pot release naturally for 4-5 minutes, then turn the knob to finish releasing the pressure.

Open the pot. Use a potato masher to mash any whole cranberries, then stir. Skim off the foam if that bothers you. It’s really just an aesthetic preference; I’m not bothered by it, so I leave it!

mash cranberries with potato masher 1

My Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce Isn’t Thick Enough!

When you open the pot, if your sauce isn’t thick enough, you can easily fix that. Turn the pot to saute, and saute your sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until it thickens a bit. Then let it set; it will thicken as it sets as well.

vertical view sauce 1

What to Do With All the Leftovers?

Cranberry sauce is delicious, but the leftovers are probably the best part! A few of my favorite ideas:

  • Heat a wheel of baked brie. Before serving, top with a spoonful of warm cranberry sauce.
  • Use cranberry sauce instead of syrup on your pancakes or waffles.
  • Make a loaf of cinnamon bread and swirl cranberry sauce through the batter before baking.

And if you’re looking for more cranberry flavor, check out these Cranberry Bliss Bar Copycats! Perfect little slices of holiday heaven!

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
8 mins
Servings: 12 servings
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger (optional)
  1. Rinse cranberries. Pick through and discard any bad berries.

  2. Add berries, maple syrup, cinnamon and ginger to bottom of Instant Pot liner. Stir.

  3. Pour juice over top. Pour in sugar. Do not stir.

  4. Twist on lid and pressure cook for 3 minutes, Let pressure release naturally for 4-5 minutes before venting to release remaining pressure.

  5. Use a potato masher to mash any remaining whole berries. Stir and let set to thicken.

  6. If not quite thick enough, turn pot to 'saute' and cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes to finish thickening.

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