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How to Cook an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner in an Instant Pot

Oh, the humble Instant Pot. It’s a lifesaver on busy nights when it’s almost dinnertime and you have to prepare a quick meal at the last minute. It can also save a boatload of money on takeout.

One of the best things about the Instant Pot is its ability to cook almost anything in one pot. From large cuts of meat to side dishes to desserts, the magical device can prepare foods quickly and easily. You save time on cleanup because you’re not using four different pots and pans. You can slow cook, pressure cook, brown, sauté, and more all in the same pan. You can even use the pot to keep your meal warm.

With the holiday season approaching, you may be starting to make plans for Thanksgiving. If you’re hosting, your Instant Pot might end up being your best friend on Turkey Day. Did you know that you can cook your entire Thanksgiving Dinner in an Instant Pot? No more standing over a hot stove top and having the oven on all day. You can sit back, relax, and spend time with your loved ones while the Instant Pot does most of the work for you.

We collected some of our favorite Instant Pot recipes (online and some of our own recipe creations). Using these recipes, we created an Instant Pot Thanksgiving dinner guide. Here’s how to cook your Thanksgiving Dinner in an Instant Pot. And by the way, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, there are already several Black Friday deals on the device.

Cook the dessert first

Instant Pot Cheesecake (Gluten Free)

Cheesecake may not be the most traditional Thanksgiving dessert. But this recipe is so good, we had to include it. This version is gluten-free, but Dad Cooks Dinner has a non-gluten-free version that’s equally as delicious.


For the crust

For the filling


If cheesecake isn’t your thing, try this apple crisp recipe by The Typical Mom. It taste a lot like Dutch apple pie, and it’s easy to make. Love pumpkin pie? You can also try these pumpkin pie bites by Sparkles to Sprinkles.

Then cook the mac and cheese

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Macaroni and cheese is a favorite for many families on Thanksgiving. Most kids love it, and adults love being able to cheat and enjoy the carb-and calorie-rich side dish.

We’ve tried a number of Instant Pot macaroni and cheese recipes and found two that were far superior to the rest.

You’ll like this recipe by Food Network if you like regular homemade Mac and cheese that doesn’t add extra things like Parmesan or random spices. It doesn’t try to be anything but delicious homemade macaroni and cheese. However, if you want a more complex mac and cheese with a bit of a kick to it, you’ll like this recipe by the Salty Marshmallow.

Cook the sweet potatoes next

Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s candies. How do you like your sweet potatoes? Maybe you want whole sweet potatoes, so each person can add butter, brown sugar, and all their favorite toppings to their own potato. If so, this recipe by Amy + Jacky is a good option to go with. You can store the whole sweet potatoes in aluminum foil until serving time to keep them nice and hot too.

While whole sweet potatoes provide benefits, so do mashed sweet potatoes. They’re easy to serve and low-maintenance. If you want a mashed sweet potato, clean eating kitchen has this excellent recipe.

Cook the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing after that

For the main event, the Turkey, the Instant Pot really shines. Depending on the size of your pot, you may or may not be able to cook a whole turkey, but you can cook a tender and juicy turkey breast. This recipe by Simply Happy Foodie is one of our favorites. We also like this one, by Amy + Jacky.

If you have room in your pot, you can also put the potatoes right in with the turkey breast, which packs the potatoes with flavor. Just add red or yellow potatoes into the pot before you pressure cook your meat. You can keep the potatoes whole (especially is they’re smaller potatoes), or cut them into halves or quarters.

After you cook the turkey breast, make sure you set aside some reserved broth (at least a cup) from the Instant Pot so you can use it for the gravy.

Even though people don’t stuff turkeys as much as they used to, stuffing is still a Thanksgiving favorite. If you want to add stuffing to your Thanksgiving menu, this stuffing recipe by This Old Gal is super easy, and it’s our favorite out of all the ones we tried.

Then the veggies

No Thanksgiving is complete without a healthy dose of vegetables. Veggies cook very quickly in an Instant Pot, so the veggies should be one of the last menu items you prepare. Everyone likes different veggies, so we included several of our favorite Instant Pot veggie recipes:

Cook the gravy last

Now, you’re at the home stretch. After cooking a buffet including dessert, Mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, turkey, potatoes, and veggies, it’s finally time to cook the gravy. Instant Pot gravy is pretty easy, and should only take a few minutes. Here is our favorite recipe.



Obviously, you’ll need to give yourself several hours to complete these recipes, as well as reheating time at the end of it all. But the Instant Pot can definitely make your Thanksgiving a delicious fix-it-and-forget it affair.

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