I grew up on homemade cranberry sauce, and it is a highlight of my holiday meal. My mom would add cinnamon sticks, orange peel, and even star anise to her cranberry sauce.
Making cranberry sauce in an Instant Pot makes homemade sauce a breeze, without the worry of burning, boiling, or losing precious space on the stovetop. This no-fuss recipe is the perfect way to cross off your to-do list before a big holiday like Thanksgiving. You can make this recipe up to 5 days ahead of time, so you can focus on the rest of your holiday meal instead.
Natural or Quick Release?
This recipe requires a natural release of pressure. A quick release stops the cooking process quickly, so it’s best to use it when cooking dishes that you want to avoid overcooking. A natural release is perfect for dishes that have more liquid, like this cranberry sauce, where you want a well-cooked sauce. It’s a completely hands-off way of cooking cranberry sauce!
The Cranberries Thicken the Sauce
If you’ve ever wondered how cranberry sauce thickens without added thickeners a, it all comes down to pectin! Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many fruits and vegetables, and in high concentrations, it acts as a gelling agent. Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, and as your sauce cools, it will thicken to a perfect consistency.
Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries interchangeably in this recipe! If you can’t find fresh cranberries, substitute frozen and let sit at room temperature to thaw slightly before adding them to the instant pot. Alternatively, you can make this with frozen cranberries and add 1 minute to the cooking time.
Make It Your Own
- Prefer it sweeter? Increase the sugar to 1 cup.
- Add your own spices, like 1/8 teaspoon cloves or nutmeg, for a twist on this recipe!
- Try adding a peeled, chopped apple for a cranberry-apple concoction.
- Experiment with maple syrup instead of sugar in this recipe, reducing the orange juice by half.
More Recipes for Cranberry Lovers
Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
If you prefer a classic cranberry sauce, omit the cinnamon stick, ginger, and orange zest.
2 (12-ounce) bags cranberries (8 cups), fresh or frozen
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
Combine the ingredients:
Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon stick, orange zest, and ginger in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
Program the pressure cooker:
Select the manual or pressure cook setting and program to cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. Check that the pressure release valve is sealed.
You can make this with frozen, unthawed cranberries and add 1 minute to the cooking time.
The Instant Pot will take 5-7 minutes to come up to temperature.
Release the pressure and cool the sauce:
When the cooker beeps, turn it off and let the pressure release naturally (this will take about 18-25 minutes). Remove the lid and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Remove the cinnamon stick before enjoying. Mash it to break up the cranberries more, if you like.
Refrigerate the cranberry sauce in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 14g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 12mg||62%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|