Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (Stovetop Recipe Included)

November 19, 2019 By Aneesha |

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Sweet, tart and extremely delicious, this ruby red Cranberry sauce is a jam-like relish made by cooking down cranberries with sugar.  With just a handful of ingredients and a super easy Instant Pot or stovetop recipe, it is the perfect addition to any holiday meal!

Cranberry sauce served in a mason jar

Cranberries are small, round, seedless berries that grow in shrubs.  If you ask me, they are fairly deceiving in their appearance.

The first time I tasted fresh cranberries, I expected them to taste berry like, sweet, juicy, did I say sweet? But, they were super tart and chewy, nothing remotely close to a sweet berry. Needless to day, I wasn’t a fan.

Then, I had Cranberry Sauce at a friend’s Thanksgiving and absolutely loved it. Since then, I have been making it at home every holiday season 🙂

Ingredients for Homemade Cranberry Sauce

All the ingredients needed to make this tasty Cranberry Relish are easily available at your local grocery store. You will need:

  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Orange juice or water
  • Orange Zest
  • Agave Syrup, Maple Syrup or honey
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Top shot on cranberry sauce made in Instant Pot

Adding Agave Syrup to This Recipe

I have been making homemade cranberry sauce for over a decade now, using fresh cranberries and sugar.

Recently, I started adding Agave syrup during the cooking process. There is a subtle earthiness that Agave syrup adds to the sauce, which contrasts and balances the sharp taste of cranberries.

I also wanted to reduce the use of refined sugar in this recipe. Agave nectar is low in glucose and therefore doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as much as sugar. My next experiment would be to try this recipe entirely with agave. I’ll keep you posted here!

If you’re not a fan of agave, you can always add honey, maple syrup, or regular sugar instead.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce in an Instant Pot

I make Cranberry sauce in my 3qt or 6qt Instant Pot. This recipe can be made in any comparable electric pressure cooker, like Mealthy Multipot.

  • Turn On Instant Pot. Pour water (or orange juice) followed by agave syrup (or honey). Pouring water first prevents the syrup from sticking to the bottom and burning.
  • Add cranberries and salt. Stir and close lid. Press Manual or pressure cook for 1 minute on Sealing mode.
Cranberries, water, seasoning in the Instant Pot ready to be pressure cooked
Cranberries, water/orange juice, agave, salt and orange zest in the pot
  • Let the pressure release naturally (NPR) for 7 minutes. In Duo models, turn the valve halfway to Venting position and release the pressure slowly. In Ultra models, push down on the pressure release knob in bursts for a slow and controlled release of pressure. This prevents the cranberry sauce from spraying through the pressure valve. Open the lid after the pin drops.
  • Turn on Saute mode. Add sugar and stir.
Adding sugar t the pressure cooked cranberries in the Instant Pot
Adding sugar the the cooked cranberries
  • Saute for 2-4 minutes till the cranberry sauce reaches a jam like consistency. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Cool completely and pour in jars.
Thickened cranberry sauce in a spoon
Simmer till the sauce thickens like a jam

Stove Top Recipe for Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce can be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how:

  • Simply combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium high heat with 1/2 cup water.  Cover till everything comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, till the berries are cooked.
  • Remove lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes till the sauce reaches a jam like consistency. Check the taste and add more sugar if needed. Add 1 tbsp at a time and let it simmer.

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce in a jar

Easy, Tasty & Make-Ahead Recipe

This cranberry recipe is so easy and so delicious, I promise you, you won’t buy another can of cranberry sauce again!

It stays good in the refrigerator for a few weeks, so definitely a make-ahead recipe for thanksgiving, or big parties.

Cranberry sauce in Instant Pot

Also check out these 10 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes, including popular recipes like Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans Almondine, etc.

A list of ten best Instant Pot Thanksgiving side dishes that can be made in an Instant pot, oven or stovetop
10 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

What do you Eat With Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce is typically eaten as a relish, and is served alongside turkey on Thanksgiving. I like to pair it with other poultry dishes made with chicken, duck, or Cornish hen.

Besides that, it pairs beautifully with brie, or goat cheese, and is great to serve on cheese boards, or simply spread on a toast.

I make this crowd-pleasing appetizer, Baked Brie, with cranberry sauce and creamy brie, all wrapped up in a puff pastry sheet. It’s always a big hit at my parties.

Cranberry Sauce Instant Pot by Spice Cravings. Cranberry sauce is a jam like relish made by cooking cranberries with sugar. A popular accompaniment served with Turkey at Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty

Can Cranberry Sauce be Frozen

Homemade Cranberry Sauce freezes really well. I store it in any air-tight and freezer safe container, or mason jar, and pop it in the freezer. It stays good for up to 3 months.

When I’m read to use it again, I move it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.

Other Popular Homemade Jam and Relish Recipes on the Blog

More Thankgiving Recipes from my Kitchen

Tips for an Easy & Delicious Cranberry Sauce

  • I like to use agave syrup in this recipe.  You can also use honey, maple syrup or sugar alternatively.
  • I prefer to add water instead of orange juice.  But if you prefer a more prominent orange flavor, add orange juice.
  • While simmering after pressure cooking, reduce the sauce till it reaches a jam-like consistency, but is still runny.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add an additional few tablespoons of sugar after tasting.  Add 1 tbsp at a time to prevent it from becoming too sweet.
  • This sauce can be made 1 week ahead of serving.  
  • This recipe has been tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot. If making this in an 8qt cooker, add 1 cup water. You may have to simmer longer after pressure cooking to reduce the sauce.
  • Typically cranberry sauce is served at room temperature.  But you can serve it chilled or warm, based on your preference.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen in any air-tight, freezer safe container.  To re-use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

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Cranberry sauce served in a mason jar

Cranberry Sauce in Instant Pot

Sweet, tart and so delicious, Cranberry sauce is a jelly like relish made by cooking cranberries & sugar.  Its the perfect compliment to our holiday dinners
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
NPR: 7 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 14 oz
Calories: 50kcal
Author: Aneesha

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries (10-12 oz bags)
  • ¼ cup agave syrup or honey, or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup water or orange Juice
  • 1 tsp Zest of 1 orange optional
  • 1 pinch salt

Add After Pressure Cooking

  • ½ cup sugar Add 2-4 tbsp more for extra sweet sauce

Equipment

Instructions

  • Turn On Instant Pot. Pour water (or orange juice) followed by agave syrup (or honey). Pouring water will prevent the syrup from sticking to the bottom and burning.
  • Add cranberries and salt. Stir and close lid. Press Manual or pressure cook for 1 minute on Sealing mode.
  • Let the pressure release naturally (NPR) for 7 minutes. Turn the valve halfway to Venting position and release all pressure slowly. In Ultra models, push down on the pressure release knob in bursts for a slow and controlled release of pressure. This prevents the cranberry sauce from spraying through the pressure valve. Open lid after the pin drops.
  • Turn on Saute mode. Add sugar and stir. Saute for 2-4 minutes till the cranberry sauce reaches a jam like consistency. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Cool completely and pour in jars.

Stove-top Recipe

  • Simply combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium high heat with 1/2 cup water.  Cover till everything comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, till the berries are cooked.
  • Remove lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes till the sauce reaches a jam like consistency. Check the taste and add more sugar if needed. Add 1 tbsp at a time and let it simmer.

Video

Notes

Tips for an Easy & Delicious Cranberry Sauce:

  • I like to use agave syrup in this recipe.  You can also use honey or maple syrup alternatively.
  • I prefer to add water instead of orange juice.  But if you prefer a more prominent orange flavor, add orange juice.
  • While simmering after pressure cooking, reduce the sauce till it reaches a jam-like consistency, but is still runny.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add an additional few tablespoons of sugar after tasting.  Add 1 tbsp at a time to prevent it from becoming too sweet.
  • This sauce can be made 1 week ahead of serving.  
  • This recipe has been tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot. If making this in an 8qt cooker, add 1 cup water. You may have to simmer longer after pressure cooking to reduce the sauce.
  • Typically cranberry sauce is served at room temperature.  But you can serve it chilled or warm, based on your preference.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen in any air-tight, freezer safe container.  To re-use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • This recipe turns out great in the pressure cooker as well as stove-top.  However, the Instant Pot recipe is more hands-off. 
  • The total time for this recipe includes the pressure building time, and the time it takes to simmer down the sauce. 
  • If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cranberry Relish, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Instant pot Cranberry Sauce
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe was was updated in 2019 with new photos, helpful information, tips, and step-by-step photos.

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan DONALDSON
    December 9, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I love this recipe…cant wait to try it…just wondering if l can make it two weeks before Christmas and keep in the fridge until ready to eat…and l was wondering if you can use lemon juice and skin shavings from the lemon….thank you susan

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      December 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Susan, thank you so much! And yes, you can make it 2 weeks ahead of time and refrigerate it. I always make it a week before thanksgiving, and continue to enjoy it for a week or two after. You can definitely add lemon juice, but be careful with the quantity. Cranberries are already very tart, if you add too much lemon juice, you’ll have to add a lot of sugar to make it taste right. Hope this helps! Let me know how you like it!

  • Reply
    Connie
    August 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I have 6 quart IP – can I double this recipe so I can use the 6 quart IP instead of 3 quart? Would time change?

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      August 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Connie, You can cook the same quantity or double the recipe- both will work in the 6 qt. Pressure cooking time will remain the same. Your saute time will reduce in the end, since liquids evaporate faster in a 6qt vs a 3qt (larger surface area). The only change I would suggest is to increase the water quantity to 1/2 cup for a 6qt. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    aneeshasg
    December 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Absolutely! You can switch the agave with the orange juice. If you like to enhance the orange flavor, adding some orange zest will add a beautiful orange smell and flavor too. You may have to check the sugar, since orange juice may not be as sweet as the agave. You may have to adjust it to your preferred sweetness!

  • Reply
    Tracey
    December 9, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Could I use orange juice in place of the water as I always do it on stovetop just with orange juice as we enjoy the orange flavour. Just wondering if in IP, it may try to stick if strictly OJ

  • Leave a Reply