Brown Rice, Sweet Potato & Cranberry Salad

Learn how to make flavorful brown rice, sweet potato, and cranberry salad with the help of the Instant Pot. It’s coated in the most delicious balsamic orange dressing and be served cold or warm. It is perfect for any time of the year and the festive table on Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.

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Brown Rice, Sweet Potato & Cranberry Salad

Inspired by wild rice and fall harvest salads, this recipe is made with brown rice, which is easily accessible and affordable. It also features cooked sweet potato, plenty of dried cranberries, seeds, crunchy celery, and a tangy, sweet dressing. In fact, the dressing is what makes it!

We use the Instant Pot to cook the brown rice and sweet potato at the same time, which is a fuss-free, speedy way to prepare these ingredients. They can be cooled down or used warm in a salad.

It’s great as a side dish or as a vegetarian/vegan main. We love making it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Brown Rice Salad With Cranberries & Sweet Potato
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Ingredients For Brown Rice Salad

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this salad.

  • Rice – regular brown rice is best for this salad but you could also use wild rice or white rice. The pressure cooking is perfect for doing brown rice AND a lage whole sweet potato as they take about the same time. If using other type of rice, you have to either cook them separately or cut the sweet potato if it needs to cook quicker.
  • Vegetables – soft sweet potato and crunchy celery offer a lovely contrast of textures and you get cooked and raw vegetables in one dish. The green onions for sharpness.
  • Nuts & seeds – we are using dried cranberries, which are sweet and tangy, but you could also use dried currants, sultanas, or raisins here. You can use any nuts and seeds; think of this recipe more as a template. We love pumpkin seeds and pecans or walnuts.
  • Orange balsamic dressing – this is one of the MOST delicious dressings you’ll make, and even though it has a few ingredients, it is absolutely worth the effort. It features salty, sweet, and sour ingredients, plus a little garlic, orange, ginger, and cinnamon spice for that warm, fall flavor. The recipe makes a generous amount; we recommend adding half of the dressing first, then mixing in more depending on how much flavor you want.
Cranberry salad ingredients

How To Make Brown Rice Salad With Instant Pot

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below.

There are two simple stages to making this brown rice and cranberry salad with the pressure cooker. The first stage is to cooked brown rice and sweet potato. The second stage is to prepare other ingredients and the dressing. Once ready, assemble the salad, and voila!

Let’s break it down with this step-by-step video. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.

Brown Rice Cranberry & Sweet Potato Salad

Recipe Tips

  • Make-ahead: You can make all ingredients and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store the dressing separately and mix through just before serving. 
  • Roasted sweet potatoes work really well here as well. You can also replace sweet potato with pumpkin/winter squash or carrots.
  • The recipe makes a generous amount of dressing. It’s got a delicious, punchy flavor and we recommend stirring it in half, to begin with. Taste and add more gradually. Leftovers are good for another week or two in the fridge.
  • For extra nutty flavor, toast or roast nuts and seeds before using. You can also get pre-roasted nuts from the stores. 

More Instant Pot Rice Recipes

Brown Rice, Sweet Potato & Cranberry Salad

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3.50 from 8 votes

Brown Rice, Sweet Potato & Cranberry Salad

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Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 337kcal
Author: Instant Pot Eats


  • 1 cup brown rice uncooked
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large sweet potato whole
  • 1 large celery rib diced into cubes (about 1 cup of chopped celery)
  • 1 green onions about ½ cup chopped
  • cup dried cranberries diced
  • cup pumpkin seeds
  • cup pecans or walnuts diced
  • 1 cup baby spinach or arugula optional

Orange Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder optional (or grated ginger)
  • ¼ stop cinnamon optional


  • Add the rice and vegetable stock to the Instant Pot and stir. Place a trivet on top and pop the whole potato on top of the trivet so the rice will cook underneath. If you don’t have a trivet, simply place the potato in the middle of the rice.
  • Secure and lock the lid and set to pressure cook for 20 minutes on HIGH. Once the timer is done, allow NPR for 10 minutes and then quickly release the pressure. Remove the whole potatoes and place on a plate to cool down. If there is any excess liquid in the rice, strain it. Then spread the rice on a plate or a tray to cool down quicker, otherwise, leave it in the sieve to cool down.
  • Once the potato is cool enough to handle, peel it and dice it into cubes. Sprinkle it with a little salt and set aside.
  • Prepare the remaining ingredients for the salad. Whisk the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  • Time to assemble the salad: add rice and sweet potatoes to a large bowl and top with the remaining ingredients, then drizzle the dressing on top.
  • Then once mixed, serve the salad on a large platter topped with extra scallions, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and nuts.


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Sodium: 623mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 8668IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg
Made this recipe?Mention @instantpoteats or tag #instantpoteats!

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.
PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks delicious. I am oil free, do you think that can just be left out? Or should I replace it with something like tahini?

    1. Hey Kari, you can leave the oil out and dilute the dressing with a little water. Tahini has quite a bit of fat so if you’re trying to avoid the calories in the oil, I would not use tahini. You can also reduce the oil amount to just one tablespoon.

  2. Have tried so many rice salad, but this one is a keeper and will be my go to one. Followed recipe but cleaned out fridge, so added corn, sundried tomato and feta. I also cut sweet potato in small pieces and roasted before adding

    1. Thanks, Christine! Love your additions and it is one of those salads that’s more like a template and you can create many variations.

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