If you haven't used a pressure cooker before, you have no clue what you are missing out on! I am not so much a bad cook as a guy who just hates cooking. I always feel guilty when I join family and friends for Thanksgiving and show up empty handed or with something very obviously store bought. Not that there is anything wrong with store bought, I just feel weird showing up with a dish inside a plastic container. That all changed when I was introduced to my first Instant Pot pressure cooker. Instant Pot is probably the most well-known brand of pressure cookers on the market. There are many out there and I am sure they do just as good of a job as my Instant Pot, I just prefer this brand. The main reason that I love using a pressure cooker, it is fast and easy. One pot, fraction of the time, and the results are usually really damn tasty!

This year for Thanksgiving, I am bringing mac & cheese and a dessert. However, I wanted to share some recipes I found online that are quick and easy to cook up if you wanted to make some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. There are a ton of websites and social media groups dedicated to pressure cooker recipes. I am only sharing a few that I feel are the easiest to prepare and quickest results. Feel free to search out something that you feel might be a better fit for your holiday table. Each dish can be made in one pressure cooker pot. Not all in the same pot at the same time, but if you purchase more than one pot for your cooker, you can do all the prep and just change out the pots as you cook through the meal. Look for non-stick pots, they make clean up easy and going between recipes very quick.


The Turkey

The highlight of any Thanksgiving meal is the turkey. This is probably the most stressed over item of the meal. But it doesn't have to be. I found this on JoCooks.com and it appears to be a very easy and delicious way to cook your bird this year.


  • 4 lbs turkey breast thawed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For Gravy:

  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half


  • Drizzle the tbsp of olive oil all over the turkey breast and rub it in. I usually do this so that the spices stick to the turkey breast. Rub the turkey well with the smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Finish with the minced garlic.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to the high saute setting. (See your manufacturer's guide for detailed instructions on how to use your instant pot). Add the 2 tbsp butter and oil and once your instant pot reaches the desired temperature (the timer will start to count down) add the turkey breast. Sear the turkey breast on all sides. Should take about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the breast to a plate or a cutting board.
  • Add the Instant Pot's wire rack, then place the turkey on top, as seen in the video.  Close the lid (follow the manufacturer's guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the Manual setting and set the timer to 25 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release, if in a rush. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot. Transfer the breast to a cutting board, cover completely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into it. Make sure to remove the butcher twine before slicing it. If crispier skin is desired, broil it in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.

For the gravy:

  • Turn the Instant Pot to the high saute setting (don't discard the turkey drippings). Add the 2 tbsp of butter and cook until the butter is melted. Whisk in the flour with the butter and cook for a couple minutes, stirring or whisking constantly, until the flour loses its raw smell.
  • Whisk in the chicken broth and cook and half and half and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until thickened. You can omit the half and half and just use 1 cup of chicken broth or turkey broth. I used half and half for a creamier gravy. Season with salt and pepper as preferred.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mashed Potatoes

Next up, you need a good side dish. Who doesn't love mashed potatoes! This is a side item that shines in pressure cooker cooking. Plus you can use that gravy you made above to top your dish. This one comes courtesy of The Salty Marshmallow.


  • 3 Pounds Potatoes 6 medium, Peeled and Sliced
  • Water to Cover Potatoes About 4-5 cups
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt Divided
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper


  • Place the peeled and sliced potatoes into the bottom of the instant pot.
  • Cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Place the lid on the instant pot and set the valve to seal.
  • Cook on manual pressure for 8 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, turn the instant pot off.
  • Quick release the pressure from the pot.
  • Drain the potatoes and return to the instant pot.
  • Add the remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter, milk and sour cream to the potatoes. Mash until smooth.
  • Serve topped with parsley if desired.


Cranberry Sauce

Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with the Cranberry Sauce in the can. There is something about the sound it makes when it plops out the can and all the ridges on the sides. That is most likely a tradition at homes all over the country. However, if you want to take a homemade approach, check out this cool recipe I found on The Spruce Eats website.


  • 24 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (2 to 3 oranges)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or golden cane syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Optional garnish: orange zest (shreds)


  • Rinse the cranberries and pick them over, discarding any mushy or damaged berries. Add the cranberries to the Instant Pot.
  • Zest the oranges and then juice them. You should have about 1/2 cup of juice.
  • Add the finely grated orange zest, orange juice, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and the cinnamon stick to the pot with the cranberries. Gently stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid in place and set the vent to sealing. Choose the manual setting, high pressure, for 2 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then move the vent to release the remaining pressure.
  • Set the pot on saute and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. The sauce will also thicken more as it cools.
  • Transfer the cranberry sauce to a storage container and cool completely. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve it chilled or at room temperature.
  • Spoon the cranberry sauce into a serving bowl and top with shreds of orange peel, if desired.
Credit: Youtube
Credit: Youtube

Peach Cobbler

Last but not least, I can't forget about the dessert. I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie, so I look for something a little less traditional but still with a down-home feel. Peach cobbler hits the market perfectly. This recipe comes from Life Family & Fun and does have one extra, tricky step that requires an extra bowl. Since you will be "baking" a cake topping, you can not sit the food in the water and juices at the bottom. So you add a bowl within your pressure cooker to put a barrier between the cake and the water needed to build pressure and steam. This is the cobbler I will be bringing to my Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 2 cans 21 ounces each Peach Pie Filling
  • 1 box 15.25 oz yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream optional


  • For this recipe, you will need to use pot in pot with a cup of water in the bottom and the pot on a trivet. This will allow steam to create the pressure for it to cook.
  • Spread evenly.
  • In a mixing bowl, add cake mix and cinnamon.
  • Mix well.
  • Pour in melted butter and stir to mix well.
  • The mixture will be stiff and hard to mix.
  • Continue to mix well. Sprinkle onto the peaches in the instant pot.
  • Set the instant pot to manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Slow release for 10 minutes and remove the cover.
  • Let set for 5 minutes to cool.
  • Spoon onto plates and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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