Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes

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Make your Thanksgiving dinner faster and easier this year by using your electric pressure cooker. These Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes taste like traditional classics, but come together in much less time. Plus, use one of my two Thanksgiving Planning Guides to take the stress out of getting your Thanksgiving dinner on the table. 

Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes Roundup

Thanksgiving dinner—it’s one of the biggest meals of the year! Did you know you can use your pressure cooker to make everything from Pressure Cooker Turkey to Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Pie (and everything in between). So whether you’re bringing a dish or hosting a crowd, your pressure cooker will help you make classic Thanksgiving recipes in a fraction of the time!

If you are one of the lucky ones in charge of hosting dinner this year, use one of my Thanksgiving planning guides to help you get your dinner on the table! It’ll tell you when to prepare and cook each of the items on your Thanksgiving menu. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post to download your guides.)

Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes

I’ve assembled a roundup of delicious pressure cooker Thanksgiving recipes that will not only help make dinner faster and easier, but better tasting.

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast

No need to worry about dry turkey when you make it in the pressure cooker—it comes out super moist and tender! I really like my simple Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast—seasoned with just salt, pepper, thyme, celery, and onions—because the turkey flavor shines through and it makes a great gravy. However if you want to try out a new flavor combination this year, there are some great Instant Pot Turkey Breast recipes, including a Garlic-Herb Butter Turkey and a turkey made with paprika, garlic, and orange juice.

My grown children rotate between Thanksgiving at my house one year and Thanksgiving with the in-laws the next. When it’s an off year at my house and I’m feeding a smaller crowd, a pressure cooker turkey breast is all I need. However, when I’m serving my full crowd, I like to pressure cook a turkey breast to serve alongside my oven-roasted turkey. Not only is there more white meat to go around and to save for leftovers, but we need all the extra gravy we can get. 

Thanksgiving turkey cooked in the electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot)

A few tips for making turkey in the electric pressure cooker / Instant Pot:

  • If you’ve never made turkey in your pressure cooker before, be sure to give yourself plenty of time so you’re not stressed about getting dinner on the table. 
  • Before preparing the turkey breast, check to make sure it fits inside your pressure cooking pot. 
  • Check your meat—are you cooking a bone-in turkey breast or a boneless breast? If boneless, the thickness of the breast will determine the cook time. If your breast is long and skinny, your cook time will be less. However, if your breast is more rounded, you’ll need a longer cook time. (For a general start time, I use a 30 minute cook time with a 10-minute natural pressure release to cook a 6-pound bone-in, skin-on turkey breast and a 3-pound boneless, skinless breast.)
  • Make sure your turkey is fully defrosted; if there’s even a chance the center of the turkey is frozen, you’ll need to add extra cook time. (See the USDA’s recommended defrosting schedule here. It always seems to take longer than expected to defrost the turkey, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time.) 
  • Take the guesswork out of cooking and use an instant-read thermometer to make sure your turkey is cooked to 165°F at the thickest part of the breast. 

(If anyone makes a turkey in the Ninja Foodi, I’d love to see a picture! As I talked about in my review post, I’d make a compound butter and put it under the skin, then brown it up with the air crisper.)

Chicken cooked in the Ninja Foodi, browned on top

Pressure Cooker Stuffing

Whether you call it “dressing” or “stuffing,” this Thanksgiving essential is so easy to make in the pressure cooker. I’ve converted my family’s favorite stuffing recipe to a pressure cooker version—it’s a classic white-bread stuffing recipe that I’ve been making for decades. 

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Stuffing

The half-size bundt pan holds a surprising amount of stuffing. As an added bonus, the bundt pan also increases the amount of crisped edges in each batch. 

Also, don’t skip the step of toasting your bread before mixing—it helps the bread absorb moisture without becoming mushy.

Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes

If you make just one pressure cooker Thanksgiving recipe this year, let it be mashed potatoes. Seriously, steaming the potatoes in the pressure cooker is the best way to cook potatoes for mashing. No boiling over, no watching pots, no steamy kitchen. My Pressure Cooker Creamy Mashed Potatoes are the only way I’ve made potatoes since I started pressure cooking.

Creamy Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Mashed Potatoes

If you are making multiple things in your pressure cooker, I like to transfer them to a crock pot set to Warm, covered, with a little milk on top. Stir occasionally to make sure the potatoes aren’t drying out. 

For extra flavor, try using chicken broth instead of cooking water. You can also substitute cream, sour cream, or cream cheese, all at room temperature, for all or part of the milk.

While you can use any kind of masher, for extra smooth potatoes and consistent results, try using a ricer. 

Pressure Cooker Sweet Potatoes

People seem to either love ’em or hate ’em, and everyone seems to have a different spin on them. My family’s favorite Sweet Potato Casserole features a sweet, crunchy brown sugar pecan topping. (If you’re a marshmallow-topping traditionalist, sub out the pecan topping for 2 to 3 cups of mini marshmallows and broil until the marshmallows are golden brown on top.)

For a healthier spin, try these no-sugar-added sweet potatoes.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Sweet Potato Casserole

If you prefer your sweet potatoes savory, try these simple Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes or sprinkle them with cheese in this Sweet Potatoes au Gratin

Pressure Cooker Cranberries

Leftover turkey sandwiches are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving—especially with a nice layer of cranberry sauce. This Cranberry Sauce is my favorite way to make cranberries; it’s a little nontraditional, but it’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet. 

However, my husband and kids prefer my Homemade Cranberry Jelly since it’s what they grew up with. With the pressure cooker, I don’t mind making it for them; it’s quick, easy, and tastes so much better than canned.

Pressure Cooker Cranberry Apple Sauce

Or, mix things up a little and serve your cranberries as an appetizer! This Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie is “baked” in an electric pressure cooker and is SO easy to make!

Pressure Cooker Pies and Desserts

Everyone looks forward to dessert following a Thanksgiving feast. Pressure cooker desserts are perfect for a small crowd, or if you want to have lots of different options.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Pumpkin Pie

Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Pie has a classic pumpkin pie filling but in a crumbly Pecan Sandies cookie crust, and it’s “baked” in the electric pressure cooker instead of the oven. Or rich, creamy Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is a great alternative to pumpkin pie.

Pressure Cooker Key Lime Pie

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s less traditional, but one of my favorites, try this Key Lime Pie. It’s a tart, creamy key lime pie with a graham cracker crust “baked” in the pressure cooker, then served topped with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

For more options, you can check out my Instantly Sweet pressure cooker dessert cook book.

Pressure Cooker Turkey Leftovers

After the big feast, don’t through away the turkey carcass! Use it to make great tasting turkey stock

Turkey Noodle Soup from Pressure Cooking Today

Use your turkey stock and leftover turkey to make turkey noodle soup. Or, instead of chicken, change it up and use turkey in this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.

Thanksgiving Planning Guides

To help you plan the big feast, I’ve updated my Thanksgiving planning guide. It now includes two options—one for making every Thanksgiving dish in your pressure cooker and another for using your pressure cooker to free up your oven.

The first is a guide for an All Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving for those of you without an oven or those who prefer not to use the oven. It gives you a detailed timeline of how to cook the entire meal in a single pressure cooker.

The second Thanksgiving Planning Guide is a Pressure Cooker Assisted Thanksgiving Guide. This is the guide I use to make my family’s large Thanksgiving dinner and even includes reminders about when to set the table.

The Thanksgiving planning guide is a printable pdf.

Here are the links to all the recipes mentioned in the guides, including the ones on my baking blog, Barbara Bakes:

All–Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes

Pressure Cooker–Assisted Thanksgiving Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it’s filled with great food and people that you love. 


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15 Awesome and Easy Instant Pot Thanksgiving Recipes (Round up—works in any brand of electric pressure cooker)


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