Instant Pot Thanksgiving: 10 Recipes to Elevate Your Feast

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Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and of course, food. While traditional cooking methods have their charm, modern kitchen gadgets like the Instant Pot are revolutionizing the way we prepare our holiday feasts. If you’re looking to add a contemporary twist to your Thanksgiving dinner, look no further. We’ve curated a list of 10 mouth-watering Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to impress your guests.

chicken roast on roasting pan Download Raw Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Why Choose Instant Pot for Thanksgiving?

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Instant Pot Pro Plus

The Instant Pot is not just another kitchen appliance; it’s a game-changer for holiday cooking. With its multiple functionalities, from pressure cooking to slow cooking, it offers a versatile approach to preparing a variety of dishes. This means you can cook your turkey, sides, and even dessert all in one appliance, freeing up valuable oven and stovetop space.

Advantages of Using Instant Pot

  • Speed: Cooks food up to 70% faster than traditional methods.
  • Versatility: Can replace multiple appliances like a slow cooker, rice cooker, and steamer.
  • Ease of Use: With pre-set programs and one-touch controls, it’s user-friendly even for cooking novices.

10 Instant Pot Thanksgiving Recipes

1. Instant Pot Thanksgiving Turkey

The Recipe

This Instant Pot Thanksgiving Turkey recipe is a game-changer. It’s juicy, tender, and infused with aromatic herbs. The best part? It cooks in just about an hour, leaving you more time to enjoy the festivities.


  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 lbs)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Steps

  1. Season the turkey with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place the turkey in the Instant Pot and add chicken broth.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes and allow natural release.

2. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

The Recipe

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple. This Instant Pot version is creamy, fluffy, and full of flavor. It pairs perfectly with turkey and other Instant Pot Thanksgiving sides.


  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Steps

  1. Place the potatoes in the Instant Pot and add enough water to cover them.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and quick release.
  3. Drain the potatoes, add milk, butter, salt, and pepper, and mash until smooth.

3. Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

The Recipe

Forget canned cranberry sauce; this homemade version is a revelation. It’s tangy, sweet, and takes less than 15 minutes to make in the Instant Pot.


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Cooking Steps

  1. Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and allow natural release.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash the cranberries to your desired consistency.

4. Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole

The Recipe

Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving classic. This Instant Pot version retains the creamy, crunchy goodness of the traditional dish but cooks in a fraction of the time.


  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fried onions

Cooking Steps

  1. Add green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and milk to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes and quick release.
  3. Stir in fried onions before serving.
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5. Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole

The Recipe

Sweet potato casserole is a must-have on any Thanksgiving table. This Instant Pot version is a time-saver that doesn’t skimp on flavor.


  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Cooking Steps

  1. Place sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot and add enough water to cover.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and quick release.
  3. Drain the potatoes, add brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, and mash until smooth. Top with mini marshmallows before serving.

6. Instant Pot Cornbread

The Recipe

Cornbread is a Southern staple that has found its way onto Thanksgiving tables nationwide. This Instant Pot version is moist, fluffy, and incredibly easy to make.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Cooking Steps

  1. In a bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add milk, vegetable oil, and eggs, and stir until combined.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and place it in the Instant Pot. Cook on the steam setting for 20 minutes.

7. Instant Pot Pumpkin Soup

The Recipe

Pumpkin soup is a comforting starter that sets the tone for a festive meal. This Instant Pot version is creamy, flavorful, and ready in less than 30 minutes.


  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Steps

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the Instant Pot until translucent.
  2. Add pumpkin, vegetable broth, and spices, and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, then stir in coconut milk before serving.

8. Instant Pot Apple Crisp

The Recipe

Apple crisp is a delightful end to any meal, especially a Thanksgiving feast. This Instant Pot version is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious.


  • 4 large apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cooking Steps

  1. Place apples in the Instant Pot and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix oats and melted butter, then sprinkle over the apples.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes and quick release.

9. Instant Pot Risotto

The Recipe

Risotto might not be a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but this Instant Pot version is so good it might just become one. It’s creamy, cheesy, and unbelievably easy to make.


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Steps

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in the Instant Pot until translucent.
  2. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add chicken broth and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release and stir in Parmesan cheese.

10. Instant Pot Mulled Wine

The Recipe

Mulled wine is a warm, spiced beverage that’s perfect for sipping as you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast. This Instant Pot version is quick and easy, allowing you to focus on your guests instead of the stove.


  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise

Cooking Steps

  1. Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on the slow cook setting for 1 hour.
  3. Strain out the spices and serve warm.

Relevant Links and Further Reading

Summary Table

Main Ingredients
Cooking Time
Pressure Release
Whole turkey, herbs
35 mins
Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes, milk, butter
10 mins
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries, sugar, orange
5 mins
Green Bean Casserole
Green beans, mushroom soup
5 mins
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes, brown sugar
15 mins
Cornmeal, flour, milk
20 mins (Steam)
Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin, onion, coconut milk
10 mins
Apple Crisp
Apples, oats, butter
8 mins
Arborio rice, Parmesan
7 mins
Mulled Wine
Red wine, spices
1 hr (Slow Cook)


Q: Can I make all these recipes in one Instant Pot?

A: Yes, but you’ll need to clean the pot between recipes.

Q: How do I adjust cooking times for larger quantities?

A: Increase the cooking time by 5-10%, but be cautious not to overcook.

Q: Can I use frozen ingredients?

A: Yes, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Q: What’s the maximum capacity of an Instant Pot?

A: It varies by model, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Q: Can I use these recipes in any pressure cooker?

A: Yes, but cooking times may vary.

Q: How do I do a natural pressure release?

A: Wait for the pressure pin to drop on its own.

Q: Can I make these recipes ahead of time?

A: Yes, most of these dishes reheat well.

Q: What’s the difference between quick release and natural release?

A: Quick release releases pressure immediately, while natural release allows it to drop gradually.

Q: Can I use the Instant Pot to keep food warm?

A: Yes, it has a ‘Keep Warm’ setting.

Q: What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

A: You can adapt these recipes for stovetop or oven, but cooking times will vary.

There you have it—10 Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to make your holiday feast a hit. From turkey to dessert, these dishes are not only delicious but also quick and easy to make. So why not give your oven a break this year and let the Instant Pot do the heavy lifting? Happy cooking!

Detailed Questions and Answers

Q1: How Does Cooking in an Instant Pot Affect the Flavor and Texture of Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes?

Cooking in an Instant Pot can significantly enhance the flavor and texture of traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The high-pressure environment allows for better infusion of spices and herbs into the food, resulting in more flavorful outcomes. For example, turkey cooked in an Instant Pot is often juicier and more tender than its oven-roasted counterpart. The same goes for sides like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, which turn out incredibly creamy and well-seasoned.

The Instant Pot also excels in retaining the natural colors and textures of vegetables. Unlike boiling or steaming, which can cause vegetables to become mushy and lose their vibrant colors, the Instant Pot keeps them crisp and colorful. This is particularly beneficial for dishes like green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole, where texture plays a crucial role in the overall experience.

However, it’s essential to follow the cooking times and settings carefully to achieve the desired texture. Overcooking can lead to mushy vegetables and dry meat, while undercooking poses safety risks. Therefore, always refer to trusted Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes and adjust the cooking times based on the quantity and type of food.

  • Flavor: Enhanced due to better infusion of spices and herbs.
  • Texture: Retains natural colors and textures of vegetables.
  • Caution: Follow cooking times and settings carefully to avoid overcooking or undercooking.

Q2: Can I Cook Multiple Dishes at Once in the Instant Pot?

Cooking multiple dishes at once in the Instant Pot is possible, but there are some caveats. The most straightforward way to do this is by using the pot-in-pot method, where you place a smaller dish inside the main pot. This technique works well for dishes that have similar cooking times and pressure settings, such as rice and vegetables. However, it’s not advisable for dishes with vastly different cooking requirements, like turkey and dessert.

Another option is to cook dishes in succession, taking advantage of the Instant Pot’s quick cooking times. For instance, you could cook the turkey first, followed by the mashed potatoes and then the green bean casserole. This method requires careful planning and timing but can be highly efficient, especially if you have a second sealing ring to avoid flavor transfer.

It’s also worth noting that cooking multiple dishes at once may require adjustments to the cooking time and liquid ratios. Always consult the Instant Pot manual and trusted recipes for guidance. And remember, the maximum fill line should never be exceeded, as this can affect the pressure and safety of the appliance.

  • Pot-in-Pot Method: Suitable for dishes with similar cooking times.
  • Successive Cooking: Requires careful planning and timing.
  • Adjustments: May need to adjust cooking time and liquid ratios.

Q3: How Do I Convert Traditional Oven Recipes for the Instant Pot?

Converting traditional oven recipes for the Instant Pot involves a few key considerations. First, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. Generally, the Instant Pot cooks food much faster due to its high-pressure environment. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the cooking time by about two-thirds when converting an oven recipe. For example, if a turkey takes three hours in the oven, it would typically take about one hour in the Instant Pot.

Next, consider the liquid content. The Instant Pot requires a certain amount of liquid to build pressure, usually at least one cup. If the original recipe doesn’t include liquid, you’ll need to add it. However, be cautious not to add too much, as the Instant Pot retains moisture and doesn’t allow for evaporation like traditional cooking methods.

Lastly, think about the order of ingredients. In an oven, you can easily layer ingredients, but in an Instant Pot, you’ll need to be more strategic. Place items that take longer to cook at the bottom and quicker-cooking ingredients on top. This ensures even cooking and prevents delicate items like vegetables from becoming mushy.

  • Cooking Time: Reduce by about two-thirds.
  • Liquid Content: At least one cup is usually required.
  • Order of Ingredients: Place longer-cooking items at the bottom.

Q4: What Are the Best Instant Pot Models for Thanksgiving Cooking?

When it comes to choosing the best Instant Pot model for Thanksgiving cooking, size and functionality are the two main factors to consider. The Instant Pot comes in various sizes, ranging from 3-quart to 8-quart models. For a large Thanksgiving feast, an 8-quart model is generally recommended as it can accommodate bigger portions like a whole turkey. If you’re hosting a smaller gathering, a 6-quart model should suffice.

In terms of functionality, the Instant Pot offers several models with different features. The Instant Pot Pro and Ultra are popular choices for serious home cooks, offering advanced customization and cooking modes. For a detailed comparison, you can read about Instant Pot Pro vs Ultra and Instant Pot Pro vs Pro Plus.

Ultimately, the best model for you will depend on your specific needs and cooking preferences. If you’re new to pressure cooking, a basic model with pre-set programs may be more user-friendly. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced cook looking for more control, a higher-end model with customizable settings would be a better fit.

  • Size: 8-quart for large gatherings, 6-quart for smaller ones.
  • Functionality: Pro and Ultra models offer advanced features.
  • Personal Needs: Choose based on your cooking experience and preferences.

Q5: How Do I Ensure Food Safety When Using the Instant Pot for Thanksgiving?

Ensuring food safety when using the Instant Pot for Thanksgiving is crucial. First and foremost, always make sure the sealing ring is properly installed and the vent is set to the sealing position before starting the cooking process. This ensures that the pot will come to pressure and cook the food adequately. Additionally, make sure to clean the sealing ring and lid thoroughly between cooking different dishes to prevent cross-contamination.

Another important aspect is to follow the recommended cooking times and pressure settings for each dish. Undercooking can result in foodborne illnesses, especially with poultry like turkey. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat and poultry to ensure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

Lastly, be cautious when doing a quick release of pressure, especially for foods that foam or froth, like potatoes and pasta. A sudden release can cause food particles to block the vent, posing a safety risk. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and trusted recipes to ensure a safe and delicious Thanksgiving feast.

  • Sealing and Venting: Ensure proper sealing and venting for adequate pressure.
  • Cooking Times: Follow recommended times and use a food thermometer.
  • Quick Release: Be cautious with foods that foam or froth.