At this point, we here are Cool Mom HQ have become experts on telling the difference between what the Instant Pot cooks amazingly well and what’s better considered a weeknight time saver. These Thanksgiving Instant Pot recipes fall squarely in the former category and are worthy of a spot on your holiday table. And the more of them that you make, the more time you’ll have to spend with family.
A quick note before we jump to the recipes: If you search the internet for Thanksgiving Instant Pot recipes, you’ll, of course, find recipes for turkey that you can cook in a pressure cooker. If you ask me, though, Thanksgiving day is not the time to cook your bird in the Instant Pot unless you’ve done it before and absolutely love the results.
A traditional turkey with crispy skin (all around) is better cooked in the oven and simple business if using our foolproof guide to roasting a Thanksgiving turkey or our trick for cooking a turkey in about one hour.
Yes, I know that the saute function browns nicely — I use it all of the time — but this is not the moment to chance what the oven can do to perfection, especially since we’ve given you an oven option that will take barely more than an hour. Plus, I don’t envy you having to fit a whole turkey into your IP.
With that, on to the recipes that you can count on your Instant Pot to knock out of the park.
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– This post has been updated for 2021 –
Making cranberry sauce in your Instant Pot is an absolute no-brainer. It cooks just as it would on the stove top (or slow cooker), only faster. You can adapt nearly any recipe, or use my go-to for Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce at One Hungry Mama.
We’re fans of making mashed potatoes in the microwave — which frees up our IP for other stuff — but the Instant Pot is admittedly a great way to cook potatoes. Then mash them. (See how easy that is?) This recipe for Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes at Pinch of Yum won’t let you down.
Maybe you prefer mashed sweet potatoes? If so, these Creamy Pressure Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes at Pressure Cook Recipes are the way to go. Serve them plain or make a quick topping to turn them into sweet potato casserole.
If you are in the market for a new Instant Pot (either as a first time purchase or as an upgrade), be sure to keep an eye on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales at both Amazon and Target. Prices are always marked way down, but usually for just a short time so keep an eye or set alerts!
One more mash, because the IP is so perfect for them! I love the sound of this Instant Pot Autumn Mash at Nom Nom Paleo and it’s a really nice departure from either straight up mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. If you want all the comfort of the classics, but with a twist, this is the way to go.
Glazed carrots are an easy win at Thanksgiving, and not just with the eaters if you use this recipe for Instant Pot Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots at Deliciously Sprinkled. You literally throw everything into the Instant Pot and let it do it’s thing. Jennifer uses baby carrots, which is great for convenience, but whole multi-colored carrots or even just neatly peeled ones will give you a more elegant look.
Another Thanksgiving classic made over for the Instant Pot? Pressure Cooker Creamed Corn at Kleinworth & Co. This is also a throw-everything-in-the-insert recipe, which makes life so very easy. I’d consider using frozen corn instead of canned for a fresher taste. Also, I’d opt for whole milk over evaporated, but these little tweaks are more a matter of taste than anything else.
You can definitely make a bread-based stuffing in the Instant Pot, but without the right recipe, you run the risk of soggy stuffing. Not to mention that the “right” recipes typically require a mold so that the stuffing doesn’t get wet and, well, I’m not one for a ring of stuffing pudding. A better bet is to use the Instant Pot for what it cooks best: grains. This Pressure Cooker Wild Rice and Farro Pilaf at Pressure Cooking Today can serve as a simple grain-based stuffing that you can serve on the side and slather with gravy. Perfect.
Cheesecake is one of those things that is actually better when cooked in the instant pot because that steamy little “oven” keeps the filling extra creamy and light. Another plus is that it frees up your oven for other things that don’t cook well in the instant pot (see the turkey note at the top). This recipe for Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake from A Mindful Mom is an excellent showstopper at the end of your feast. The gingersnap crust with pecans is the perfect flavor combination against the creamy pumpkin filling.
You will definitely need a non-stick spring foam pan that fits in your Instant Pot for this dessert, and although your Instant Pot probably came with a trivet, I highly recommend one of these silicone trivets with the sling so you can easily lift the finished dessert out of the pot. Because a spilled cheesecake is never fun