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looking for a recipe for a gourmet cranberry sauce that remains relatively traditional


I am going to a potluck Thanksgiving Day Dinner this weekend (I live in Canada and our Thanksgiving is this weekend).

Anyway, I have been tasked to bring cranberry sauce .... for 58 people. I have been looking online and wanted to do something a little more gourmet but I am cognisant of the fact that most people will want something pretty traditional and I need to make sure I don't get too far off the beaten path.

I have been looking around online but most recipes seem to be either nothing special or at the other end of the spectrum where some serious innovation is going on. I like innovation but don't want to deviate too much.

Are there any recipes people would strongly recommend in terms of a gourmet version, if you will, of a traditional cranberry sauce?


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  1. I don't know if it is gourmet - but it's very tasty. We add sliced candied ginger to cranberry sauce made using the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray package (with a little less sugar) and then add toasted slivered almonds just before serving. It's best to let it sit for a couple of days to maximize the ginger flavor.

    1. I have been making a cranberry chutney from Gourmet's November 2000 magazine issue. The recipes are all amazing. They are a little "gourmet" without straying too much away from tradition and they aren't fussy.
      Cranberry Chutney:

      5 shallots chopped coarsely
      1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
      2/3 cup sugar
      1/4 cup cider vinegar
      1 teaspoon minced garlic
      1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon black pepper

      Cook shallots in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over mederate heat, stirring occasionally until softened. Stir in remaining inredients. Simmer, stirring occasionally until berries just pop.
      **Chutney can be made up to 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.


      2 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        This is a great spruced-up cranberry sauce. Very simple, but it tastes really great and looks fancy, because of all the different ingredients.


        1. re: monavano

          Here is my very favorite cranberry chutney -- I make a more traditional sauce as well (triple cranberry sauce from Bon Appetit/ epicurious (posted below)

          But I love this, and make for me -- hey, the cook can enjoy too, eh?

        2. Have you checked out www.epicurious.com? Bon Appetit magazine always has great cranberry sauce recipes, and they are all archived on epicurious. I have made the dried cherry w/ cloves cranberry sauce many times, and also one that had dried apricots. I remember most of the recipes being fairly traditional... with a twist. Since you'll be serving a crowd, maybe you could make three different sauces: one traditional (trditional to me because it's what I grew up with is the raw relish that includes a whole orange-- I think recipe is on the oceanspray bag), then one that is more adventurous--- something with some spice, maybe chipotle, and one that just sounds good to you--- I do highly recommend the dried cherry clove version. My Mom will just eat a whole bowl full of it for a snack. I have also pureed the leftovers and used it as a dessert sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hollyeve

            another bon appetit recipe archived on epicurious that i like is the piquant cranberry sauce. really simple but spruced up with fresh thyme and dijon mustard.

          2. For this many people, you could make 2 or 3 different cranberry sauces. Here is my favorite... pretty traditional but I love it:

            Makes: 3 1/2 cups, about 12 servings

            6 cups (24 oz) fresh cranberries
            2/3 cup sugar
            2/3 cup brown sugar
            1/2 cup fresh tangerine juice
            1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1 tablespoon vanilla

            Put everything except vanilla in a saucepan, and over high heat bring to simmering. Turn down heat, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender (lots of them pot open), about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla, let cool. Serve, or chill airtight up to 1 week.

            1. For an easy & traditional cranberry sauce, I use the Joy of Cooking recipe. It calls for cranberries (I get them fresh from huge vats at the market), sugar, water and grated orange rind. That's it, nothing else. It's good & it's what I'd make for such a big group. I find it lets the natural cranberry flavor stand out. I like traditional recipes for holidays.

              4 Replies
              1. re: morebubbles

                I do this too - my clients LOVE it, but I also add about 2 ounces of Grand Marnier at the end.

                1. re: maisonbistro

                  We're thinking alike! I was going to add that for those that would like their cranberry sauce with a little different kick, a bit of Cointreau or Grand Marnier could be added at the end. maybe separate a bowl with the different batch & label it as cranberry sauce with whatever added liqueur.

                  1. re: maisonbistro

                    what an awesome idea! I'll be doing that this year. I have found that no one in my family will eat regular cranberry sauce but everyone loves the cranberry relish.

                  2. re: morebubbles

                    I make this one too, and it's great.

                  3. I believe it was epicurious.com that had a three cranberry conserve, with fresh cranberries, cranberry juice and dried cranberries. Everyone loves it at Thanksgiving. I also candy the leftover fresh cranberries. Bake with sprinkled sugar on top and then let sit out and dry.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: travelchow

                      Are the cranberries baked in a slow/low oven? I'm guessing 250* till they're soft.
                      Sounds delicious. Must try.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I will confirm the recipe and post it, I have it written on a blank piece of paper, can't remember where I found it but it has been a tradition for the last several years.

                        1. re: Gio

                          here's the recipe for candied cranberries.
                          2 cups fresh whole cranberries, washed & drained
                          1 1/2 cups sugar
                          generously butter baking dish, sprinkle sugar over cranberries and cover tightly, bake at 350 for 1 hour, stir after 30 minutes, let cool, pour out onto waxed paper and sprinkle with a little sugar, let dry out.

                          1. re: travelchow

                            Thank you travelchow...looks easy enough and bound to be very tasty.
                            I didn't see your post till now.

                      2. Ina Garten's Cranberry Fruit Conserve... http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                        Made this the past couple of years and it's really good! You can leave the nuts out if you want (I always do, I don't like the texture).

                          1. re: chowmel

                            I have made this sauce every year since the recipe first showed up on Chowhound and it is the best. This year, in response to complaints from the peanut gallery (our annual Thanksgiving crowd) I left out the cinnamon and it is, indeed, better, if that's possible. Delicious and easy (and very traditional looking).

                          2. I like this recipe alot -- not too far from traditional w/ great flavor. From Bon Appetit
                            triple cranberry sauce

                            Since your Thanksgiving precedes ours in US, let us know what you liked and recommend! Enjoy.

                            1. This is my ALL time favourite: cranberry sauce with port and dried figs

                              It's still recognizably cranberry but with a twist.

                              For 58 people, I might make 3-4 types -- one traditional and the others a bit different.

                              1. Thanks to everyone for your responses! I decided at the end of the day to go with the Joy of Cooking recommendation but I have copied everyone's recommendations to look over for this coming Christmas when I will be cooking for only 5-8 people and have more freedom to do my own thing!

                                Thanks again!

                                1. I thinly slice dried apricots and soak them in orange juice overnight (at room temperature) and add those to the sauce, or I've made it with fresh sage and ginger.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Megiac

                                    What I make is a friend's mother's recipe that just calls for cranberries and sugar (2 to 1 I think?). Alcohol is optional and I've never bothered. You bake covered in foil, and just stir to make sure the sugar dissolves. You get incredibly bright jewel-colored cranberries in syrup. Beautiful on the plate. I always hated the nasty sharp and pungent bits sticking out of other people's cranberry sauce growing up (my own mother inexplicably always opened a can--perhaps that's what her mother did). This has no nasty bits. If anyone's interested I can dig up the recipe.

                                  2. I make this recipe which has a pint of blueberries in it, it is absolutely delicious. I actually use frozen blueberries.


                                    1. Gingered Cranberry and Kumquat Relish, can be found at epicurious.com
                                      It's WONDERFUL!