We have many opinions in our family about cranberry sauce. We have the familiar canned sauce versus homemade sauce debate every holiday. Some of us prefer the canned cranberry sauce and some of us (me) prefer homemade. As a result, I don’t want to labor over making this side. This year I wanted an easy way to make the cranberry sauce but it also had to be perfect. I decided making the cranberry sauce in the Instant Pot was the answer! The Instant Pot Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce is everything I wanted and unbelievably easy to make.
In the past, I stood at the oven cooking the cranberries, and while it never takes long, using the Instant Pot allowed me to walk away and focus on other things. It is a kitchen shortcut I will use again next year! And because cranberry sauce freezes well, this is a great recipe to make ahead for the holidays.
I love the flavor combination of cranberry and pomegranate, and I think it really adds something to the cranberry sauce, but I have also included notes on omitting it for a more traditional sauce too.
I used two pounds of cranberries and it didn’t even reach the two-thirds max line on the Instant Pot! This recipe uses two tablespoons of orange zest, but if you don’t feel like zesting the orange you can include a few strips of orange zest instead and then spoon them out at the end. I like the balance between the sweet and the tart, so there is only one cup of sugar in this sauce; however, if you like a sweet cranberry sauce you will want to increase the sugar by a half a cup or to your preference.
The pomegranate is best added as juice. I won’t mention any names (it’s me), but I did perform a test using pomegranate seeds, and I felt the texture was too crunchy for the sauce. The pomegranate juice gives the sauce a taste of pomegranate while maintaining the traditional texture of cranberry sauce.
Cinnamon was omitted in this recipe because I feel that the cinnamon overpowers the flavor of the fresh cranberries. Finally, when you open the lid to the Instant Pot (after it has naturally released), you may think it didn’t work because it will look like all of the cranberries are mostly the same. Give it a gentle stir (about five times), and you’ll see that it has turned out perfectly!
Instant Pot Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes about 4 cups
- Instant Pot
- Measuring cups
- 2 pounds of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup of granulated sugar (2 cups if you like your cranberry sauce sweet)
- 2 tablespoons of orange zest
- 1 cup of pomegranate juice
- Combine fresh cranberries, sugar, pomegranate juice, and orange zest in the Instant Pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Secure the Instant Pot lid, and set the vent to sealing. Choose the manual setting (pressure cook), high pressure, for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
- Remove the Instant Pot lid, and stir the cranberry sauce for a minute. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a container. Chill the cranberry sauce until you are ready to serve.
Traditional Cranberry Sauce Modification
If you would like to omit the pomegranate, substitute one cup of water (or a half a cup of orange juice and a half a cup of water) for the pomegranate juice. Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from The Spruce Eats Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce.)