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Easy Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce is so easy to make it is ridiculous. And the flavor is amazing. I make mine with orange zest, orange juice, a cinnamon stick and couple of star anise pods for a tart-sweet-spicy flavor.

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A lot of people love the jellied cranberry sauce that comes in a can, and I get that. It’s something people grew up with on their thanksgiving table. It’s delicious and easy on the cook responsible for the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner.

But I’m here to tell you that if you have an instant pot, making your own cranberry sauce is almost as easy.

What ingredients do you need to make Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce?

This homemade cranberry sauce is simple, with only 3 required ingredients and a couple of optional ones:

  • Fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries
  • Sugar
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)
  • Star anise pods (optional)
Overhead shot of ingredients to make cranberry sauce: cranberries, oranges, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, and sugar.

How do you make it?

You’re not going to believe how easy this is. It is literally 3 steps:

  1. Put the ingredients in the Instant Pot (you don’t even need to stir them together!)
  2. Seal the pot and pressure cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.

That’s it! Seriously!

Ingredients in the instant pot to make cranberry sauce, shot from overhead.

What do you serve cranberry sauce with?

This sweet-tart sauce is obviously the perfect condiment for roast turkey, but it’s also great with roasted chicken. Or even with ham.

This year we’re doing a quiet Thanksgiving at home—just 3 of us—so we’re not roasting a whole bird, even a small one.

Instead, I’m making Instant Pot duck confit. The rich, savory meat will be a perfect match for the sweet-tart sauce.

low angle shot of cranberry sauce ina white bowl on a wooden plate. The sauce is garnished with grated orange zest and three star anise pods

What to do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Here are a few ideas for how to use up leftover cranberry sauce:

  • Spread it on a turkey sandwich, obviously (or a chicken sandwich).
  • Thin it with a bit of water or juice and use it as a glaze for a baked ham.
  • Use it as a condiment on a turkey burger along with melted sharp cheddar or gruyere cheese.
  • Spread it over the top of a turkey meatloaf before baking.
  • Spread it on toast instead of jam. Or on buttermilk biscuits!
  • Combine it with a sharp, melty cheese like an aged white cheddar in a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Spoon it on top of a round of brie and bake it until the sauce is bubbling and the brie is melty.
  • Even better, wrap that cranberry sauce-topped round of brie in puff pastry and bake until crispy and golden brown.
  • Stir it into plain yogurt.
  • Stir it into oatmeal.
  • Dollop it on top of pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
  • Replace some or all of the oil in muffin batter the way you would with applesauce.
  • Use it to fill thumbprint cookies.
  • Use it as a gooey layer in the middle of oatmeal cookie bars.
  • Spread it on pastry crust and top with sliced pears for a cranberry-pear tart.
  • Top a cheesecake with it.
  • Warm it up and drizzle it over ice cream.
low angle shot of a bowl of cranberry sauce garnished with orange zest.

Tips for success

Here are my best tips for making an amazing Instant Pot cranberry sauce.

  • When you put the ingredients into the pot, put the cranberries in first and spread them out so they are covering the bottom. Pour the sugar on top and then the juice over that. You just want to avoid having a pile of dry sugar on the bottom of the pot, which may cause the pot to give a you a burn message.
  • The sauce is ready to serve the day you make it, but it’s best to let it cool at least to room temperature before serving as that will help it to thicken up.
  • You can make the cranberry sauce ahead of time. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Pressure cooker cranberry sauce can also be frozen. It will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • You can create all sorts of flavor variations by adding or substituting ingredients. Substitute water, apple juice, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, or blueberry juice for the orange juice.
  • Add a diced jalapeno for a spicy version.
  • Substitute honey or maple syrup for the sugar.

More Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love

Dipping a spoon into a bowl of the sauce
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Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

low angle shot of a bowl of cranberry sauce with grated orange zest and star anise pods on top

This easy and quick to make Instant Pot cranberry sauce has perfect sweet-tart flavor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes


  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Juice of 1 large orange (3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2 star anise pods (optional)
  • Pinch kosher salt


  1. Place all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Do not
    stir them together.
  2. Put the lid on the pot and set the valve to the sealing
    position. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes
    and then manually release any remaining pressure (or if you prefer, let the pressure fully release naturally).
  4. Stir the sauce and transfer to a serving dish or storage

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 80Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 24mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 17gProtein 0g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.


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By on November 23rd, 2020


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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