Throughout 2019, we’re exploring how to use your Instant Pot to make Texas favorites.

This Thanksgiving, get fancy with your dry brines or your intricately latticed pies, if you like, but go easy where you can. And you know what’s incredibly easy? Instant Pot cranberry sauce. So easy, in fact, that I can’t think of a good reason not to make cranberry sauce in your Instant Pot. You literally just dump all the ingredients in the pot, set it to high pressure for two minutes, and . . . that’s it. Bonus: it won’t take up room in the oven or on the stovetop.

But it can be a little, well, messy. While pressurized, the cranberry sauce foams up, which means that if you release it immediately, some of the hot sugar syrup might get released along with the steam. This gunks up your valves and potentially sprays hot pink sugar syrup everywhere. That’s bad. So you have to let the pressure come down for fifteen minutes before manually releasing the rest, or let it come down naturally all the way. It’s a small price to pay for how truly, ridiculously easy this recipe is.

Here are three Texan variations on your traditional cranberry sauce: one inspired by margaritas, one spiced up with chipotle, and one a celebration of Texas citrus. (You could also make it plain, if you like.) Depending on the size of your Instant Pot, this recipe easily doubles, triples, quadruples—just make sure you don’t go over that “MAX FILL” line. You can also make this way in advance and freeze it—I’ve got a few quarts of test batches sitting in my freezer right now, waiting for the big meal.

Instant Pot cranberry sauce
Photograph by Jenn Hair
Instant Pot cranberry sauce

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce With Three Texas Twists

No matter which version you choose—margarita, chipotle, or grapefruit—it’s delightfully easy to make.
Servings 2 cups


  • 1 Instant Pot


Cranberry sauce base

  • 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pinch salt

For margarita cranberry sauce

  • ¼ cup 100 percent agave tequila
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest

For chipotle cranberry sauce

  • 1 3.7-ounce can chipotle in adobo, finely chopped (This makes for a pretty spicy sauce; adjust to taste.)

For grapefruit cranberry sauce

  • ¼ cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest


  • Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot, stir, and set to high pressure for 2 minutes.
  • Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes and then release the pressure fully, or else let the pressure come down naturally all the way.
  • Chill before serving; the sauce will thicken slightly when chilled.
  • This can be made ahead and frozen for a few weeks before serving, if you like.

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