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Looking for exciting Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce - it's one of those expected sides at any traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Often unremarkable, unloved. I'd like make a cranberry sauce this year that is exciting instead of just expected. Do you have any great recipes to share? I'm willing to try just about anything as long as it can compliment a turkey!

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  1. I made one that was surprisingly simple but REALLY tasty, we had none left.


    6 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      I made this one yesterday and it is chilling out in my fridge right now. We're pretty big bourbon fans around here, so it was too good to pass up. I used Knob Creek Bourbon and the first taste was fantastic. Not too sweet, and just enough of the Bourbon essence. However there are so many great recipes posted here, I think I'm going to make several for leftover turkey!

      1. re: ExercisetoEat

        If you're a bourbon fan - do the bourbon cream gravy on this site. I'm making but giving our proximity - I'll be using Crown Royal Reserve rather than Knob Creek.

        1. re: ExercisetoEat

          I made mine today, with Maker's Mark...it is chilling now. However, two comments: first: when I added the sugar it just seemed like too much for a pound of cranberries, so I added the rest of a second 12 oz bag of cranberries (the regular recipe for cranberry sauce on the package calls for a cup of sugar per bag, so this was in line with that). But then, I don't like my sauce too sweet....Even with that, I was surprised at how much the volume reduced when baking: two bags of cranberries, and I ended up with just about a cup or maybe cup and a half of sauce! (and this was after cooking slightly less than the recommended time). It does taste good however....

          And of course, since the Bourbon is added at the end the alcohol is still there. One of my guests doesn't drink alcohol, so will be making something else as well....

          1. re: susancinsf

            I added the rest of the second 12 oz bag of cranberries as well, and the resulting sauce is fairly tart, but I like it that way. I will see how it has melded after a day in the fridge, but I was tempted to stir in a small amount of couintreau (sp?) for just a little bit of an orange flavor.

        2. re: rockandroller1

          Wow, this sounds so good, I am making it right now (I had extra cranberries and, yes, there is always Knob Creek in the cabinet).

          I am also trying the one below, as I have a Kumquat tree in my backyard that has to be the most abundant kumquat tree in America. I will let you all know how it turns out.


          1. re: rockandroller1

            Thanks for this rockandroller1. It was fantastic! I made sure that my cinnamon was fresh and followed the recipe. No problems. It was especially good on the turkey sandwich I had for lunch today....

          2. My Asian family doesn't particularly like American food, so I "orientalize" the flavors by adding chopped ginger, a chopped serrano, cider vinegar and a little cinnamon to the pot when I boil down the cranberries. It's usually pretty well-received.

            1. I loved this (different) cranberry sauce from epicurious:


              1. We always had three kinds of cranberries at Thanksgiving.

                1. Brandied Cranberries
                2. Jellied Cranberries from the can, served whole with the ridges of the can
                3. Pearl Onion & Cranberry Conserve

                NUMBER ONE: The brandied cranberries recipe came from a friend of my mother's YEARS AND YEARS AGO, and we have had it for as long as I can remember (I'm 49). The friend is now 86, and I'm having Thanskgiving dinner with her this year as the rest of my family has passed away or moved away. Of course she's making brandied cranberries. I've given this recipe to lots of people, and also have taken them to potluck T-Day dinners over the years (when I wasn't living near home) and people just flip over it. Always gets a lot of compliments and is easy to make. Absolutely delicious.

                Here's the recipe at Cooks.com:


                My 86 year old friend (she was my mother's best friend) says don't double the recipe, but make 2 batches instead. I think this is because two batches would get too juicy.

                NUMBER TWO: How could you have Thanksgiving dinner without jellied cranberry? Happy childhood memories, plus they are great on turkey sandwiches at the end of the day. (Sliced breast, jellied cranberry, mayonnaise - starts with an H, one large crispy iceberg lettuce leaf, nice white sandwich bread - starts with a P, and a lot of salt and pepper. Turkey sandwiches may be the best part of the day, but I guess that's probably another whole discussion.


                NUMBER THREE: This was first published in Bon Appetit magazine in the early 1990's. How do I know this? I am looking at the stained photocopied page that is in my recipe box (last part of the year clipped off. Was '92 or '93). It's FABULOUS!! Is a bit of work, however. My sister in law made it every year until she and my brother moved away. I could eat a dinner plate of just this. I found the recipe online at epicurious.com, but it doesn't mention Bon Appetit magazine. However, it's EXACTLY THE SAME - I checked it against the recipe in my box. I can't go on enough about how good this is.


                Also, there's a NUMBER FOUR: Susan Stamberg, who was the co-host of NPR's All Things Considered for years, gave out her mother-in-law's recipe for cranberry relish each year. (I remember you had to write fast to get all five ingredients and directions from the radio - pre-internet days.) BE SURE TO MAKE THIS - it takes about three minutes to put together and is just fantastic. Sounds so weird, but is so good. I first made this when I was in college in the 70s (after I heard the recipe on NPR.) Great stuff!! (I just made some on Sunday.



                There's my long-winded cranberry story.

                Best wishes to you for a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

                8 Replies
                1. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                  The recipe at cooks.com for the brandied cranberries didn't have an oven temperature, so I did it at 350 and it ended up with an off, burnt flavor. I also used a Le Creuset pot with a lid, which might have stayed too hot. What was the original oven temp? TIA.

                  1. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                    Do you bake the brandied cranberries open or covered? Thanks!

                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      This is for heidipie and Diane_in_Bexley:

                      You're right - that cooks.com link didn't have very many instructions - sorry.

                      Here's my mother's recipe (written by her on an old stained recipe card):

                      Brandied Cranberries

                      1 package fresh cranberries
                      2 cups sugar
                      1/2 cup brandy

                      Wash cranberries - spread on 8 x 8 x 2 glass Pyrex baking dish, cover with sugar, add brandy and mix well.

                      Cover tightly with foil.

                      Bake at 350 F 30 to 45 minutes until berries pop.

                      Store in refrigerator.


                      BE SURE to keep an eye on them so they don't scorch (as heidipie discovered). I add a little more brandy afterwards but of course that's up to individual taste. (By a little more I mean 1 or 2 tablespoons after they've cooled.) Also, they sometimes can be pretty juicy/syrupy. If so, I just drain the excess juice off before adding the extra tablespoon or so of brandy. Keep in the refrigerator.

                      1. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                        Thanks Gloria! Will be making these tomorrow - Happy Thanksgiving!

                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                          Gloria, thanks so much! The brandied cranberries were a big hit on Turkey Day. I used 2 packages of cranberries and had about 2 cups leftover. I found a brundt cake recipe for cranberries, apples and walnuts which I made on Sunday and froze for the office later on in December. If it tastes as good as it smelled, should be great. Hope you had a nice holiday.

                        2. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                          I make a version of this sauce with cranberries, sugar, and bourbon. It's very tasty!

                          But I wonder, after reading the lovely orange-influenced recipes in this thread, if I could use Grand Marnier instead of bourbon. (It would save a trip to the liquor store - I don't have any bourbon in the house.) What do y'all think - would Grand Marnier be too sweet with cranberries?


                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            I only make mine with Grand Marnier, also some orange juice and orange peel. It's great! I put in a half cup at the end.

                      2. Use the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag, for whole berry sauce, but instead of using water, use cabernet.

                        Insanely good.

                        1. I love this one, one of my favorites:

                          Cranberry sauce with cherries, marsala and rosemary

                          But for something different this year, I may make the one rockandroller mentions above - looks good!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Rubee

                            I found this recipe this year and decided to try it - am so glad to hear its one of your favorites.

                          2. Whether added to canned cranberry sauce or made fresh, I like tangerine zest and a little port.

                            1. This sauce is incredible: Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir, from Epicurious.


                              1. Oh wow, these are so exciting! I knew chowhounds would come through. Now I think I'm going to make more than one kind of cranberry suace! Thanks you guys.

                                1. I never even used to like cranberry sauce but this is a really good-tasting cranberry relish, made with pears that are poached in coffee. I've posted the recipe several times before, but here it is again:

                                  Cranberry/Pear Relish

                                  4 ripe Bosc pears
                                  6 cups very strong coffee
                                  3 cups sugar
                                  1 teaspoon vanilla
                                  1 (8-oz.) bag of cranberries

                                  1. Peel and slice the pears lengthwise, rubbing with lemon to keep them from turning brown. Core the halves and remove the stem & bud ends with a paring knife.
                                  2. Pour the coffee into a large sauce pan. Stir in 1½ cups of sugar and bring to a boil. Add the halved pears. When it comes back to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set aside to cool a bit. Discard the coffee.
                                  3. While the pears are cooling, prepare the cranberries according to the directions on the bag, (i.e., cover with water, add about 1½ cups of sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer ‘til they’ve all ‘exploded’ and the mixture is thick). It doesn’t take very long... Remove from heat and put into a large bowl.
                                  4. When the pears are cool enough to handle, cut them into small chunks and put them into the bowl with the cranberries. Toss to mix well, transfer to a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (or at least a couple of hours).

                                  1. I ate a delicious cranberry pineapple relish at someone's house many years ago and went home and experimented and came up with a simple but yummy recipe that has become a family Thanksgiving staple.

                                    I cook half a bag of fresh canberries with 1 cup of sugar and the juice from a small can of pinapple and then pulse that in the food processor with the drained pinapple ( and a whole orange, rind and all, and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Chill well.

                                    It's really easy and fantastically delicious, especially on the leftover turkey and dressing sandwiches!

                                    1. I kind of created this from different recipes My wife calls it my Killer Cranberry Relish:

                                      1-1/2 C sugar
                                      1 navel orange
                                      1/2 tbs. grated ginger
                                      4 C cranberries
                                      1/2 C (2 oz.) toasted pecans
                                      2 tbs. Dark rum

                                      Grate the orange peel and add to a pot
                                      with the sugar and ginger.

                                      Add the juice from the orange into the pot and simmer over
                                      medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
                                      Add cranberries and cook until they pop - about 5 minutes.
                                      Add pecans and cool sauce.

                                      1. Ming Tsai did a cranberry show this week and made two types.

                                        #1 he called a dipping sauce (about the consistency of Asian sweet chili sauce-a little loose)

                                        1 large red onion sliced
                                        2 T finely ch ginger
                                        3 C fresh cranberries
                                        zest and juice of 1 orange
                                        1/2 c rice wine vinegar
                                        2 C sweetened cranberry juice
                                        1 C sugar
                                        s&p to taste

                                        Sweat onions and ginger in large pan, when onions are transluscent, add the rest of hte ingredients and boil, reducing by 25%. add s&p to taste. should coat the back of a spoon.

                                        #2 is more traditional:
                                        2T olive oil
                                        3 sliced shallots
                                        1 C cranberries
                                        zest and juice of 1 orange
                                        1 T minced ginger
                                        (he doesn't mention sugar, but I think this'd need some)

                                        Sweat shallots in oil, add berries, orange juice, zest, ginger; reduce by 50% over med heat.

                                        I make a cranberry chutney instead of sauce for the turkey. Heat 2 C berries in a saucepan till they release their juice, add sugar to taste, then add 1/2 c. chopped dried apricots, 1/4 c chopped candied ginger, zest and juice of an organic orange, and a pinch of cayenne and S&P to taste. Simmer over med-low heat covered for 15 minutes, adding moisture (wine sounds good) if necessary.PDG! great on sandwiches all year.

                                        1. This is the only way my kids will eat whole cranberries, otherwise they only eat the super-sugary jellied stuff. This relish is super easy, yummy tart/sweet & doesn't involve any cooking, but it requires that you prepare it at least a day ahead so the flavors can marry.

                                          1 bag cranberries
                                          1 whole orange, quartered and seeded (I use navel, so there are no seeds). Do not peel.
                                          1 cup sugar

                                          Put into food processor and pulse until you get the right texture. I really let it go for about a minute. Then place in glass container and store in fridge for a day or so. Additional herbs, such as rosemary, or other flavorings can be added, but I've found that there's no substitute for the original and best.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: tkalex9052

                                            Oh, wow - tkalex, this brings back such memories for me! We used to have this cran-orange relish at our family Thanksgiving dinners when I was a kid. My sister and I were assigned the job of making it, as soon as we were old enough not to chop up our fingers. We used a clamp-on-the-counter meat grinder (food processors hadn't been invented yet).

                                            I think I'll do this one again for old time's sake. Thanks for the reminder!


                                          2. I tweaked my Father in law's recipe for our early Tgiving this year, and it was insanely good. 12 oz cranberries, 1.5 c sugar, 4 clementines, separated into sections, 1 c pecan halves, 1/2 tsp allspice, and 1/2 c grand marnier. Cook over medium heat until cranberries pop.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                              This sounds a little like my Grammy's recipe. Everyone I've served it to has asked for it.

                                              Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce
                                              1 Bag cranberries (12 0z)
                                              1 cup sugar
                                              1/2 cup water
                                              1/4 cup orange juice
                                              1/4 tsp each ginger root and salt
                                              1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier or any orange liquer

                                              Heat cranberries, sugar, water and OJ to boiling in saucepan. Cont. stirring until sugar dissolves ,about 3 mins. Stir in ginger and salt. Reduce heat and stir until mixture thickens and berries split, about 5 mins. Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier. Refrigerate at least 3 hrs... better overnight.

                                              I miss my Grammy so much, so every time I see her handwriting on this recipe, it makes me smile. It helps I can spread her love around a little with this recipe.

                                              1. re: foodandscience

                                                This looks great! Definitely on my table this year!

                                                1. re: foodandscience

                                                  This is pretty close to my recipe, the Grand Marnier is what makes it soooo good,
                                                  I add a little lemon zest is all.

                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                    Thanks, That's a good idea. Plus the lemons on my tree are just turning the perfect yellow. I'll give it a try.

                                                    1. re: foodandscience

                                                      Just made this and added orange zest - I'll probably spin in a little lemon zest just before serving, but the spoonlicks were magnificent.

                                              2. After growing up with my mother's quickly cooked (boring) whole cranberry sauce - probably the one on the back of the bag - I wanted the wholesome goodness of homemade sauce but something more exciting. One year I stumbled on this recipe, don't recall it's source, but now can't imagine Thanksgiving without it. It is the quintessential holiday sauce - when I smell it, I think of all things christmas and good. I've even used it to flavor plain yogurt - yummm. Lastly, even those who claim to hate cranberry sauce absolutely love this, and needless to say it is great with roast turkey. You can even take it one step further and can it (process in a water bath) for longer keeping or to give as gifts.

                                                Spiced Cranberries
                                                4 cups fresh cranberries (one 12-ounce bag yields 4 cups)
                                                2 cups water
                                                3 cups sugar
                                                1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                ½ teaspoon ground cloves
                                                Pinch of ground ginger

                                                Wash berries and drain; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. (Use a really big saucepan -- the sugar syrup really boils and foams up). Add the cranberries and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until cranberry skins pop. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool. Chill until ready to serve.

                                                Yield: 2 cups.

                                                Do try this - the fragrance wafts throughout the house and is heavenly.

                                                1. This recipe for cranberry chutney appeared in the NY Times in 1991, according to my note on the well-worn clipping. I've made it every Thanksgiving since. My friends demand it. It's paraphrased below. Note: This should be refrigerated at least 24 hours, so it's a great make-ahead. Two or three days ahead is fine. And it's very good on all those leftover turkey sandwiches.

                                                  1/2 cup golden raisins
                                                  1/2 cup dark raisins
                                                  2/3 cup Calvados (Laird's Applejack is a suitable, and cheaper, substitute), warmed
                                                  1 cup sugar
                                                  1 cup orange juice (original called for fresh; I use commercial)
                                                  1 12-oz pack fresh cranberries
                                                  Zest of one orange, grated
                                                  1 coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple, peel and core removed
                                                  1 coarsely chopped pear, peel and core removed
                                                  1 large coarsely chopped orange, peeled (original calls for navel; I use whatever)
                                                  1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried mango or dried papaya (I've substituted fresh mango)
                                                  1 teaspoon ground cardamom
                                                  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                                                  1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated

                                                  Soak raisins in warm Calvados or Applejack for at least an hour.

                                                  Put sugar and orange juice in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and lower heat to medium. Simmer until berries begin popping, just a few minutes.

                                                  Add everything else and bring back to a boil. (Don't forget the raisins and booze. I have a couple of times and wondered why it wasn't smelling right.) Again, lower heat to medium and cook, stirring now and then, for around 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chutney thickens.

                                                  Let cool, then refrigerate. I bring it to room temp before serving.

                                                  Original recipe included 1 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, added to the mixture with all the other fruits and spices. As much as I like pecans and "crunch", I prefer this with just the fruit. But that's a personal thing.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Old Spice

                                                    My cranberry chutney recipe is much simpler...but it works.

                                                    One bag cranberries, washed and picked over.
                                                    1 cup sugar
                                                    2 tsp. salt
                                                    1 tablespoon cumin
                                                    2 small dried red chilis, crushed.
                                                    about five twists of the pepper grinders' worth of black pepper

                                                    Put it all in the food processor and process until coarse. Taste and adjust seasonings. I suspect you'll want more cumin but its always good to taste.

                                                    (Edit): sometimes I squeeze half a lime into the mix, and you might add a tiny bit of water before processing....

                                                    This is delicious on turkey sandwhiches!!

                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                      I make a version of this that's more on the sweet side (see above). Our Thanksgiving is tomorrow (we visit relatives for insipid T'giving on Thursday), and I made half sweet and half using your recipe. I fresh ground the cumin, and it seems a little strong now, but I am sure it will marry well. Thanks for this recipe!

                                                  2. I made this recipe the other day from a suggestion on this board. It is so yummy! I hope it makes it to Thanksgiving!


                                                    1. Epicurious, I believe, has a cranberry, fig and port recipe that is outstanding and simple-- my husband makes it as his (only) Thanksgiving dish!

                                                      1. I get asked to make this every year: Double Cranberry Apple Sauce

                                                        6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
                                                        1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
                                                        1 small lemon, sliced and seeded
                                                        1 cup granulated sugar
                                                        1/2 cup water
                                                        3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

                                                        Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.

                                                        Reduce heat; simmer, stirring often, 15 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in sweetened dried cranberries. Cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

                                                        Note: Mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

                                                        Yield: Makes about 5 cups

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Tehama

                                                          We made and enjoyed this cranberry apple sauce--thanks very much, Tehama. I found that it was both too sweet and too tart for my taste at first. Added a bunch of cinnamon, some nutmeg, a little salt and some red pepper, and it rounded it out beautifully. We really enjoyed this.

                                                          My sister liked this one more: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/21/din...
                                                          We added less maple syrup than called for (3-4 Tbsps), skipped the dried cranberries, and used sliced almonds instead of pecans. If I use this recipe again, I'll zest an orange and use that, rather than stick a peel in the food processor.

                                                          1. re: rose water

                                                            Hi! So glad you liked it with the additions. I might have to tinker with the recipe and add your ingredients the next time and do a little experimenting. That NY Times recipes looks delish; I'll be trying that, too! Thanks!

                                                        2. The cranberry chutney recipe in Joy of Cooking is wonderful!!

                                                          1. I know I'm late to the game here, but just saw this and thought I'd offer it up for those who are looking for something in the future (it's GREAT for leftover turkey/ham sandwiches). Here's my recipe for chipotle cranberry chutney. I published it in the little tool... hope this works:


                                                            1. I do a typical cookdown of cranberries w/ sugar and water, but I add a ton of horseradish; the bite is wonderful.