This 5-minute pressure cooker cranberry sauce (with alternate directions for slow cooker or stovetop) is so easy and delicious! Exactly how cranberry sauce was meant to be.

5-Minute Cranberry Sauce

The world is quite divided when it comes to cranberry sauce from what I hear. Some of you like it in any form. Some of you detest it in any form.

Others of you are adamant it must be the concoction from the can. And yet another portion of you dear, sweet people insist it has to be homemade (we could dive even further into the jelled or chunky camp).

I heart cranberries in a big way, so you’d think that I would look forward to it at Thanksgiving, but because there are so many other fantastic dishes to love and anticipate, cranberry sauce isn’t really a must-have for me at Thanksgiving.

If it’s there, I often take a spoonful to be polite, but that’s it (unless it’s this cranberry chutney, and then I’m definitely in it for two spoonfuls, but just to eat by itself, because, yum).

5-Minute Cranberry Sauce

So why am I posting a recipe for quick and easy cranberry sauce today? Because I know many of you do look forward to the sweet and tart nectar on Thanksgiving. But if I’m being honest, today’s recipe is mostly because I love cranberry sauce, the divine stuff, on just about everything else other than turkey.

Pancakes. Sandwiches. Spooned over cream cheese with crackers. On buttermilk biscuits. Swirled into oatmeal. Warmed lightly and served over vanilla ice cream.

The list is endless. Cranberry sauce, with it’s delightfully sweet, jammy consistency and notable tartness, is versatile and not meant just for Thanksgiving Day, trust me on this one. And this is my go-to recipe for “everything cranberry sauce.”

In fact, if you aren’t up to your elbows in pie dough tomorrow, check back to see my absolute favorite way to use up cranberry sauce and accompanying turkey day leftovers. It might be the Thanksgiving recipe I’m most excited about!

5-Minute Cranberry Sauce

If you are a must-serve-cranberry-sauce kind of person on Thanksgiving but haven’t yet thought through the details, this recipe is for you. It only takes a few minutes of cooking time if you use your handy dandy pressure cooker (Instant Pot for me). And I’ve also included alternate instructions for the slow cooker or stovetop.

Any way you make it, cranberry sauce should not be the dish that gives you trouble or causes you stress at Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal.

There’s nothing weird or fussy or complicated about this recipe. It’s just fresh, tart cranberries, sweetened with sugar + maple syrup (a beautiful combo) and a hint of orange. I am very hopeful this simple, delicious recipe will become the new go-to for many of you…all year long! (Seriously, friends, you must try cranberry sauce on something other than turkey this year – promise me you will, ok?)

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cream Pudding Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Two Years Ago: Buttermilk Potato Rolls {Fluffiest Most Delicious Rolls I’ve Ever Met}
Three Years Ago: Healthy Applesauce Carrot Muffins {a.k.a. Carrot Cake Muffins}

5-Minute Cranberry Sauce

Yield: Makes about 8 cups of cranberry sauce

5-Minute Cranberry Sauce

If you don't have a pressure cooker, never fear! You can combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. You can also combine all the ingredients in a pan on the stove and simmer over medium heat, stirring often so it doesn't stick, until the cranberries burst and soften, 15-20 minutes.

The pure maple syrup adds the perfect balance of flavor AND helps contribute to the liquid necessary to maintain pressure in a pressure cooker. I haven't subbed pancake syrup; I'd recommend using pure maple syrup, if possible.

I usually make the full batch - using 24 ounces cranberries - because we eat this on so many other things besides turkey. But you could definitely halve the recipe, keeping in mind that the rule of thumb with pressure cooking is you need at least 1 cup of liquid for safety reasons and to help the pressure cooker come up to pressure. Halving the recipe leaves you with 3/4 cup liquid (pressure cooking a half batch has always worked for me with no issues, but I want to give you fair warning).


  • 24 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups (9.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • Zest of one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice


  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  2. Let the pressure cooker naturally release pressure for 10-15 minutes. Release the rest of the pressure using quick release.
  3. Stir the cranberry sauce and continue to cook (using the sauté function in an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot) if you want to thicken the sauce further; keep in mind, it will thicken as it cools.
  4. Mash the cranberry sauce with a spoon or potato masher (or use an immersion blender for a smoother consistency), if desired.
  5. The sauce will thicken and gel as it cools; it can be made and refrigerated up to a week in advance.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

21 Responses to 5-Minute Cranberry Sauce {Pressure Cooker}

  1. Michaela U. says:

    We made this today and it was wonderful! Far better than the canned jellied cranberries. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I will be making it every year now!

  2. Erin Molina says:

    This is ridiculously good! I used frozen cranberries and did it for 6 minutes instead of 5. I also reduced the sugar a tad. So good, everything I am making for thanksgiving this year is from your site. 🙂

  3. Linda Turco says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Mel! I hope you and your family have a wonderful and fun day. I know the food will be yummy ! Thank you for all the work you did these last few weeks to get us all the YUMMY recipes by Thanksgivjng ! I know we ALL appreciate the late hours and the sacrifice it took,to get it all done. Bless you and your family ❤️

  4. Bethany says:


    I used to love experimenting and cooking for my four hungry boys, but then I went back to work full time as a teacher and meals are a real scramble. I recently found your website and realized every recipe was guaranteed to be a hit. I appreciate the precise directions, the tips, even videos sometimes. I can get right to it and know if will turn out fabulous. I appreciate your encouragement and real approach to life. My home smells and tastes wonderful again. Thank you for what you do! You are my go to recipe site. I’m pinning the whole blog practically! Last night I made the peanut butter brownies and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. So easy and tasty! For dinner we had chicken noodle soup. So thank you, from one busy mom to another, for being a part of making dinners great again in my home. My boys especially thank you.


    • Mel says:

      Bethany! Your comment was so sweet! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so, so happy the recipes are helping you out…you are amazing for working full-time and managing a household of boys!

  5. Paige says:

    I imagine you’ll just have 12 pressure cookers out on Thursday and get your entire meal cooked in 20 minutes right? 😉 This recipe looks delicious!


  6. Angela says:

    Gonna have to try this one! I assume you serve it chilled?
    I always make a cranberry salad: Dissolve a small box of orange jello in 1 cup hot water. Mix with 1 can whole cranberry sauce. Add 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1 diced apple. Refrigerate. So yummy!
    Happy Thanksgiving Mel!

  7. Deb says:

    Do you think I could use frozen cranberries for this?

  8. Amber says:

    We haven’t ever had cranberry sauce at our thanksgiving dinner…I think this a good year to give it a try! Thanks for the recipe and so many other suggestions for how to use it! You are amazing! Thanks for all that you do

  9. Liz says:

    Another cranberry lover here. I make a cranberry marmalade that I use on many things …a favorite is warmed with a bit of balsamic and drizzled over salmon.

    For TDay, I usually make a fresh relish … kind of like your cranberry salsa (which I LOVE!) but cranberry, orange, walnuts and sugar.

    BUT, I saw a recipe for roasting (oven) cranberry, apple, a bit of orange and was thinking of going that way until I saw this post and then thought maybe the cranberry-apple-orange in the instant pot.. BUT THEN your link for the chutney. I’m going chutney!

    Thanks, Mel – looking forward to tomorrow’s surprise.

    • Mel says:

      Oh, wow…balsamic, cranberry + salmon. I can’t wait to try that! And you cannot go wrong with that chutney. It’s amazing.

    • Janet says:

      Liz, will you share the recipe for cranberry marmalade?
      First time I’ve heard of it.
      Thank you.

      • Liz says:

        Janet, I would be happy to share but will let Mel contact me (after holiday!!) and decide best way. I adapted from several marmalade recipes – I’ll list the ingredients below. If you’ve made marmalade you are probably good to go:

        1 orange
        1 lemon
        3/4 cups water
        1/16 tsp baking soda
        1 pkg 12 oz cranberries
        3 1/4 cups sugar
        3 oz liquid pectin.

        Years ago, on a vacation to Maine I bought Cranberry marmalade – loved it and for years had it shipped to me. I started making small batch marmalades … above makes 2 half pints plus a little more.

  10. Janet says:

    Here’s my recipe, I use less sugar than what
    the original recipe called for. We have to double
    this, as everyone likes to have lots of it now that
    we don’t use canned anymore……

    In a saucepan, bring to boil on medium high,
    cook 5 minutes, until cranberries pop:

    1 bag cranberries, fresh or frozen
    1 c. sugar
    1/2 c. water

    Take pan off heat, crush mixture with a potato
    masher to consistency you like (we like it chunky)

    Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. grated orange rind
    3 T. fresh squeezed orange juice
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt

    Stir all, let cool 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

    • Janet says:

      I just made our double batch for tomorrow and realized that I
      forgot a step in the above instructions:
      after cranberries cook/pop for 5 minutes, then crush as wish, THEN COOK ON MEDIUM HEAT FOR 5 MORE MINUTES TO THICKEN IT. Now take pan off heat and follow rest of instructions.

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