How to Make Your Whole Thanksgiving Dinner in the Instant Pot

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Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes are here to take some of the pressure off.

As much as Thanksgiving is a celebration of family, friends, and general gratitude, its also notorious for being a source of stress, especially for the cook. It doesnt have to be that way. You can approach holiday cooking as meditation, make sure you have a detailed plan to tackle all the minutiae, gear up with kitchen gadgets that make the meal easier, and prepare as much food as possible ahead of time.

If you add a pressure cooker to that mix of methods, you can pull off a truly epic feast with practically zero stressat least when it comes to the food; your relatives are another matter.

Still on the Fence?Yes, an Instant Pot Is Worth GettingPretty much every single course can be prepared in the Instant Pot. Yes, you can only do one thing at a time (assuming you only have one such appliance), but not only is each course speedy to make, most everything can be prepared in advance and simply gently reheated on the big day. For many, that has to sound a lot more appealing than juggling a bunch of different cooking times and temperatures when companys coming (or is already there).

Unsurprisingly, some ingredients are better suited to pressure cookers and Instant Pots than others, and making every part of Thanksgiving dinner in a shortcut-friendly appliance is probably more of a stunt than a necessitybut that doesnt make it a bad thing! People enjoy spectacles; most people also enjoy convenience, so why not combine the two? Or at least consider incorporating one or two of the below recipes into your Thanksgiving repertoire, to help take the pressure off yourself.

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Related Reading: The Best Pressure Cookers of 2019

Instant Pot Turkey Breast

Admittedly, the star of the show might be a bit of a challenge; if you want a big, picture-perfect bird with crispy skin, your best bet is the tried-and-true method of roasting (a high heat turkey recipe helps cut time if thats a priority, and then you can make a great pressure cooker turkey soup from the carcass).

If youre determinedand you either have a really big pressure cooker, or only need a smaller sized turkeyyou can cook the entire thing in the pot in just one hour, sacrificing nothing but the skin (and you can broil it to help it crisp a bit afterward).

But wed recommend going with a turkey breast for the best results from the pressure cooker. Get the Instant Pot Turkey Breast recipe.

Then again, if you happen to have a very small group for the holiday, you can make turkey legs, mashed potatoes, and gravy all at once in your Instant Pot!

Related Reading: How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner for One (or Two)

Instant Pot Gravy

Easy Chicken Gravy recipe


If you stick with roasting your bird in the oven (or go with a deep-fried turkey, or smoked turkey on the grill for that matter), you can still use the pressure cooker to make gravy for smothering the meat, mashed potatoes, and all the other sides.

This recipe does make use of the giblets (aka, the turkey organs usually packaged in a bag inside the cavity), but if youre adamant about throwing that sachet away, make pressure cooker stock with a pack of turkey wings instead, and then use that to make your gravy. Get the Pressure Cooker Gravy recipe.

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Make creamy, fluffy, smooth mashed potatoes in 15 minutes, in a single pot, with no draining or boiling-pot-watching required? Yes! Make mashed potatoes every night now that you have this recipe? Maybe! Get the Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes recipe.

Instant Pot Stuffing

Okay, this might be one of those instances where the Instant Pot is not your best bet; to paraphrase Ian Malcolm, sometimes youre so preoccupied with whether or not you could, that you dont stop to think if you shouldbecause it doesnt save appreciable time or effort, and you still have to crisp it in the oven anyway.

However, if you want to try it out, and you actively desire or just dont mind your stuffing being in a ring loaf shape, go ahead and break out the pressure cooker for this one too. Get the Instant Pot Stuffing recipe.

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

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The quickest way to cranberry sauce, of course, is to open a can. However, homemade is extra easy in a pressure cooker, whether you like a chunky texture or smooth and gelled. This cran-apple version, made in the Instant Pot, includes a little apple brandy, because cranberries and booze are a perfect pair. Get the Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce recipe.

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole

Much as it makes miraculous mashed potatoes, the pressure cooker is great for sweet potatoes too. This casserole cooks in only eight minutes (plus a little chopping and mixing time), and is topped with candied pecans instead of mini marshmallows. Broiling is optional. Get the Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts

You need at least one green vegetable on the table, and Brussels sprouts have been in vogue for a while nowbecause when cooked properly, theyre really good. Bacon helps, too. For something a little spicier, try this variation, or for a vegan version, you can go with these maple-mustard sprouts also made in a pressure cooker. Super simple, perfectly cooked, and fuss-free, these bacon Brussels sprouts will be delicious with anything on your table. Get the Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts recipe.

Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casseroles are a must for lots of families on Thanksgiving. If you are not in that camp, the Instant Pot can make crisp-tender garlic green beans for you in five while you attend to other things, but it also makes green bean casserole a snapwithout even calling for canned soup. Get the Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole recipe.

Related Reading: How to Make Your Green Bean Casserole More Gourmet

Instant Pot Pumpkin Pie

Yes, you can even make dessert in your pressure cooker. If you must have a traditional flaky crust, youll probably be better off skipping the Instant Pot (although you can use it to make your own pumpkin puree for pie filling). If youre okay with a nicely crumbly press-in crust made from cookies and pecans, though, this pressure cooker pumpkin pie is perfect for you. Get the Instant Pot Pumpkin Pie recipe.

Instant Pot Pecan Pie Cheesecake

While there are several sources for Crock Pot pecan pies (and, of course, you can use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker), there arent too many pressure cooker pecan pie recipes out there yet. There are, however, lots of Instant Pot cheesecake recipes, including this low-carb version thats especially perfect for a keto Thanksgiving. Its ready in just 30 minutes too. Get the Instant Pot Pecan Pie Cheesecake recipe. (And heres a non-keto version.)

Related Reading: A Keto Thanksgiving Guide with Recipes

Instant Pot Apple Cider

Dont forget about drinks! Slow cooker apple cider is a perfect set-it-and-forget-it treat, but if you forget to set it far enough ahead of time, it wont be as flavorful as it can be. This pressure cooker version solves that problem by producing a big batch of warm, wonderfully spiced apple cider in no time.

Its nonalcoholic and keeps warm indefinitely, so the whole group can enjoy it at their leisure (though adults who are so inclined can certainly doctor their cups with a little extra holiday cheerand its equally good served chilled if you make it that far in advance). Get the Instant Pot Apple Cider recipe.

For more Thanksgiving tips, tricks, hacks, and recipes, check out ourUltimate Thanksgiving Guide.

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