Bust out your pressure cooker on holidays: it saves valuable stove and oven space! Here are the very best Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes everyone will love.
The best time to use a pressure cooker? Thanksgiving! Yes, the Instant Pot is a genius extension of your kitchen for holiday cooking. While your oven and stovetop are occupied cooking other things, the Instant Pot can be making up a monstrous batch of mashed potatoes. Or cooking an apple crisp. Or making green bean casserole.
Yes, the Instant Pot is perfect for holiday cooking. (Did we mention it’s portable?) This year, we’ll be making a few of these Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes for our various celebrations. Each and everyone of them is so, so delicious, they’re sure to become family favorites in no time. While most of these recipes are Thanksgiving sides, the stuffed squash would be a fabulous main dish. And don’t forget dessert!
We’re starting to get hungry over here… A few more quick resources before we start!
- Looking for main dishes? Here are our favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Main Dishes.
- Want more sides? We’ve got you covered. Here are our Top Thanksgiving Side Dishes.
- Eat vegan? Here are lots of delicious Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.
Best Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes!
One of the very best Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes? These perfectly creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes. Yes, mashed potatoes are so much easier in a pressure cooker! You don’t have to worry about them boiling over on the stovetop, or keep testing them to see when they’re done. Nope, just throw them in your pressure cooker and press Go! It also gets that massive pot off the stove top make way for all your other Thanksgiving prep.
Here's an Instant Pot Thanksgiving spin on the 1950's classic green bean casserole! And this ain’t your mama’s green bean casserole: it's a fresh spin made all from scratch! It’s got crisp tender green beans and real mushrooms. The creamy sauce coats each of the beans, but isn’t gloppy. And it’s got a new take on the traditional fried onion topping: using crushed potato chips! (Stovetop version)
Instead of sugary marshmallow sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, how about savory mashed instead? These Instant Pot mashed sweet potatoes have just the right fluffy texture. The secret? They're combined with Yukon gold potatoes to give them that classic texture. Add garlic and top with chives, and they'll be a hit with everyone around the table. (Stovetop version)
Can you make Instant Pot Brussels sprouts? Roasted Brussels sprouts is our very favorite to eat these powerhouse vegetables. The oven makes them tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Turns out, Instant Pot Brussels are delicious too! They come out crisp tender and mixed with butter, chives, and Parmesan cheese, they’re seriously flavorful. (Oven version)
May we present: Instant Pot butternut squash soup! It's spiced with sage, with a hint of cinnamon and a smoky undertone. The squash and carrot give it an electric orange hue, and it's rounded out with potato and apple for sweetness. Really, it's pure gold in a bowl! It's a star in our comforting butternut squash recipes.
The sweet, earthy flavor of beets pairs perfectly with the tang of a balsamic dressing. Here, we’ve used our favorite Best Balsamic Dressing: which takes just 5 minutes and 5 ingredients. The balance of tangy, sweet and savory in this dressing is mind-blowing. Make this with quick Instant Pot beets, which take only about 30 minutes to cook: half the time of roasting them in the oven!
Let us introduce the best easy Thanksgiving side dish: Instant Pot green beans! They’re super quick to put together and the zesty lemon flavor makes them a crowd pleaser. Because they’re steamed in the pressure cooker, they make space on the stovetop and oven for cooking the main dish! They take only 10 minutes to make: a speed record for the holidays! (Stovetop version)
These deviled eggs are totally classic and taste amazing. And you can boil them in the Instant Pot! This recipe has Greek yogurt in the filling along with the mayo. Along with both yellow and Dijon mustard, it adds the perfect flavoring to these eggs without being overly rich! Garnish with dried dill or smoked paprika, or a mix of the two to make it festive. After Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs, go to Easy Deviled Eggs.
Why not finish this list of Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes with something sweet? This apple crisp cooks up in minutes, leaving the oven clear for holiday baking (the turkey, perhaps?). It's topped with organic granola for the crumble, and comes out sweet and cozy. A little lemon zest adds some zing, and melty vanilla ice cream puts it over the top. (Baked version)
The pressure cooker is perfect for holidays: it saves valuable stove and oven space! These Instant Pot Thanksgiving mashed sweet potatoes are perfectly creamy and sweet-savory: everyone will love them!
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes*
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half (or sub non-dairy milk for vegan)
- 1 clove grated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Thinly sliced chives, for garnish (optional)
- Peel the potatoes, then cut them into large chunks.
- Add the potatoes to the Instant Pot. Add the kosher salt and the water. Lock the lid. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
- Cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 20 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
- Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher directly in the Instant Pot. Then stir in the cream, grated garlic, and black pepper to the hot potatoes. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Garnish with chopped chives and fresh ground pepper.
*This amount makes 12 servings and is intended for a crowd. If you’d like to make less, you can half the recipe without affecting the cook time.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Thanksgiving
Keywords: Instant Pot Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, recipes, thanksgiving, instant pot, pressure cooker
What Instant Pot do you use?
All of these Instant Pot Thanksgiving recipes have been tested using an Instant Pot 6 Qt Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. There is definitely variation between pressure cooker brands and sizes, so you may see some variation in cook time depending on the brand and size you’re using.
Understanding Instant Pot cook time
When you look at cook time with any pressure cooker, you’ll need to factor in a few more things than just the actual cook time. Keep the following in mind:
- “Preheat” time: Once you add the ingredients to the pot, the pressure cooker requires time to come up to pressure. This time can vary depending on the recipe. Alex and I make sure to state it clearly in each of our Instant Pot recipes, so you know how long they’ll take overall.
- Natural release: Some recipes call for a Quick Release: here you’ll immediately release the pressure and open the lid. But some recipes call for a Natural Release method, where you wait with the cover on after the cook time for the pressure to naturally release from the pot. Make sure to factor this time in when you’re planning your recipes, not just the cook time.
A note about the sealing ring
The plastic sealing rink inside the pressure cooker lid can pick up odors after cooking. Make sure to clean it fully after using it, and allow it to dry separately from the lid. A good practice is to store the Instant Pot with the lid upside down so the sealing ring is exposed to air, instead of with the lid closed onto the pot. This allows the sealing ring to air out between uses.
To remove the smell from an Instant Pot sealing ring, soak it in vinegar for a few hours. Another option is purchasing two sealing rings. We purchased 2 Instant Pot sealing rings and use one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes. This is especially helpful if you’re making something like the apple crisp above.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.