~ These Instant Pot Thanksgiving Recipes are your ticket to holiday sanity! Since oven (and even stovetop) space is always at a premium for the big feast, this year, get a little creative and use that electric pressure cooker to save room in your jam-crammed oven. Total lifesaver! ~
Stress-free Thanksgiving Tip: You just really can’t cook the entire meal in your oven. Not gonna happen.
So save yourself a whole heapin’ lotta stress, and plan your Thanksgiving menu with plenty of recipes that aren’t all vying for oven time right when your hungry guests are arriving.
Trust me on this. #LearnedTheHardWay
I’ve got a double oven in my kitchen, and planning for that precious oven real estate is still one of my toughest challenges in mapping out an entire Thanksgiving feast.
I mean, think of all the traditional Thanksgiving recipes that claim oven space: pies (of course!), and that mammoth turkey (did you really need one quite so big … and how will it ever fit?!?!), plus green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, the turkey dressing, oven-roasted autumn veggies, warm-from-the-oven rolls and breads … the list goes on …
And really, the stovetop usually isn’t all that much better, with various pots and pans burbling away as you try to perfectly coordinate the timing on everything to finish cooking at the very same moment.
Sure, some of it you can make ahead (like my beloved Easy Cranberry Sauce) or even make in the slow cooker or the microwave (like my Spaghetti Squash with Sage-Browned Butter). Yeah, that can all help a bit.
But wait …
Thanks to everybody’s new-favorite appliance (the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker!) now there’s another strategy for Thanksgiving success. Brilliant! (As in, maybe you need two Instant Pots … or hey … maybe three! At least to get you through the Thanksgiving feast. Methinks a Thanksgiving Instant Pot rental business could be the next Kickstarter venture. But I digress …)
Update: Buying an Instant Pot
(Update 11/20/17): After I posted this, I had some discussions with readers and friends about Instant Pots, and the fact that the recipes in this post are specifically tailored to Instant Pot cooking (we have whole separate lists of Thanksgiving side dish recipes and also Thanksgiving vegetarian main dishes that ARE NOT for the Instant Pot, if you’re interested). And, if you don’t yet own an Instant Pot but are looking to get in on the game, I wanted to help you a bit with some more info and options.
First, it’s important to note that “Instant Pot” is actually a brand name – there are other brands of electric pressure cookers, too. But, sort of like what happened with the brand name “Crock-Pot,” the name “Instant Pot” has already become a genericized way to refer to any electric pressure cooker.
So, which Instant Pot should you buy? Well, similar to slow cookers, electric pressure cookers come in a variety of sizes, so it really depends on the size of the group you’re planning to feed.
After doing a bunch of research, based on the size of my own family (4 people), I ended up purchasing this 6 quart Instant Pot DUO60. But, through all my research, I realized that different models are right for different people, so I also wrote a detailed buyer’s guide post on Which Instant Pot to Buy – I hope you’ll find it helpful in choosing the one that’s right for you!
Now let’s get cookin’ …
Can You Cook a Turkey in the Instant Pot?
Well yes … it turns out that yes, in fact, you can! Huh!
So if you really want to free up some oven space, just take that space-hoggin’ turkey right out of the oven real estate equation altogether!
This is also a great plan if you’re hosting such a big Thanksgiving dinner that you actually need to cook two turkeys (and my goodness, if this applies to you, then I sure do send you hugs of good luck in your epic endeavor!).
Plus, it gives you the option of cooking two smaller birds, so you can offer two different recipes for guests to try … or simply so you have lots of turkey for leftovers (hey hey – read on for some terrific Instant Pot Thanksgiving leftover ideas!).
If you don’t want to cook a whole turkey, you’ve still got great options! For smaller gatherings, try cooking just a turkey breast. If that’s more your speed, be sure to check out the Back Pocket Turkey Roast from Amy at Cooking 1 Handed and the Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast from Lisa at Low Carb Yum – both are terrific options for those times when you just don’t need to roast an entire bird.
Instant Pot Thanksgiving Sides Are a Snap!
So you know if you can manage to adapt an entire turkey for Instant Pot cooking, then all those side dishes should be a breeze to adapt, right?!? Game on!
I found lots of terrific, healthier Instant Pot ideas … from autumn-inspired soups to traditional Thanksgiving sides like sweet potatoes and green beans, plus some really fun, creative twists that’ll shake things up a little at your holiday feast.
First off, I had to share this soup – an absolute family-favorite recipe that almost always shows up for our Thanksgiving celebrations (and lots of other celebrations, too)!
This delicious soup is a treasured family heirloom with a long, beloved history. We often serve it as a starter to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. And now, with some creative updates, it’s even easier to make and full of great nutrition – yet Grandma Jo still proclaims this modern twist to be “PERFECT“!
These Basic sweet potatoes are a perfect blank canvas for whatever toppings you choose (mini marshmallows totally optional!). For a couple of other great how-to guides on cooking veggies in your Instant Pot, head over to How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot by Lisa at Low Carb Yum and Instant Pot Corn on the Cob by Rebekah at Consumer Queen.
For a lower-calorie, lower-fat option, be sure to note Jenn’s suggestion that you can use milk instead of cream or half-and-half.
Or … for those of you who don’t consider it to be Thanksgiving without that quintessential green bean casserole, try this updated, healthier spin: Pressure Cooker Fresh Green Bean Casserole from Jill at This Old Gal.
Although these are finished stovetop, they can begin in the Instant Pot (and hey – maybe you can even rotate a second recipe into the Instant Pot after the sweet potatoes are cooked)!
The Magic Continues … Instant Pot Thanksgiving Leftovers!
I have to admit, when I first started lining up recipes for this post, it hadn’t really occurred to me to include recipes for the leftover turkey. But aren’t leftovers one of the really very best parts of the whole Thanksgiving food extravaganza? So when I saw the two recipes below, I just had to toss them into the mix, too!
More Thanksgiving and Instant Pot Recipe Ideas
And while we’re talking Thanksgiving and Instant Pot recipes here, let me just float a few more ideas your way.
Since you obviously don’t have enough Instant Pots to cook every part of the big Thanksgiving meal in a pressure cooker, we’ve got plenty of other (more traditionally prepared) recipe ideas for you, too!
And don’t miss some of our family-favorite Thanksgiving recipes here on the blog, like:
- Thanksgiving Salad (With Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Pecans and Maple-Balsamic Dressing)
- 5-Minute Savory Pumpkin Hummus with Fresh Sage
- Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter
- Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini
- Microwave Spaghetti Squash with Sage-Browned Butter and Toasted Walnuts
- Easy Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Pecans and Pineapple (5 Minutes and No Cooking!)
- Blistered Green Beans
Oh – and for all the other days of the year that don’t happen to be Thanksgiving … don’t shove that Instant Pot on a dark and dusty back shelf. No way! Scroll through our Instant Pot Recipes board on Pinterest for inspiration all year long!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! This year, may your oven space be as abundant as the food on your table and the friends circled ’round it!