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Nov 23, 2010 01:30 PM

My cranberry sauce didn't thicken

I made this yesterday:

The sauce never thickened. I did cook it for 20 minutes, like the recipe said, until the cranberry skins began to split. Did I not cook it long enough? Is my sauce salvageable?

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  1. Have you refrigerated it yet? Cranberries are FULL of natural pectin and generally speaking cranberry sauce will thicken itself, as long as there's not too much liquid in the recipe. Your recipe seems to have reasonable proportions, so it should thicken after cooling.

    1 Reply
    1. My cranberry sauce uses 1/2 cup of water for a 12-ounce bag of cranberries. I would expect your cranberry sauce to be much more loose than mine. I

      9 Replies
      1. re: Becca Porter

        Mine uses 1 cup of sugar, 12 oz. cranberries, and 3/4 cup of water. Before chilling, it has the consistency of a thick syrup, but it firms up to be like a jelly.

        E_M: What is the consistency of your sauce? It sounds like there's a lot of liquid in the recipe.

        1. re: LaPomme

          Yes, there is a dreadful lot of liquid. I thought of straining some of it out. I was hoping it would firm up like a jelly (like the picture!!!) but it hasn't.

          I was sort of wondering if I didn't let it cook long enough. The skins started to split after 20 minutes, but nothing actually "bursted" the way the recipe said.

          1. re: E_M

            If the berries are still mostly intact, then you have not cooked it long enough. You need to release the berry guts into the juice if you want some thickening.

            In the picture, I think the large intact balls are the rehydrated cherries. The cranberries are smaller, and most have disintegrated. This recipe calls for more liquid than most cranberry sauce recipes, but it needs to rehydrate the cherries.

            Have you scanned the comments with the recipe? Sometimes people have encountered the same problem(s), and others have solutions.

            1. re: paulj

              Yes, I read the comments. I didn't see anything like this. (The only comments I read had to do with the amount of sugar used.)

              Can I reheat this and hope to cook it further? If not, is there any other use for this? Or is it destined for the trash.

              1. re: E_M

                I like cranberry sauce thick or thin. It will taste good either way. Just use it as a dip if you have to.

                1. re: E_M

                  Go ahead and cook it some more. If the container is right you could even do it in the microwave.

                  I agree that recipe comments mostly deal with the sugar and cloves level. So evidently few others have had problems with the liquid level. Either they cooked it longer, or had different expectations. Have you used fresh cranberries before?

                  1. re: paulj

                    No, never. Cranberry sauce was always that stuff in a can. I am trying to branch out.

                    What exactly should I be looking for (as I cook this)? Is it possible to overcook it? Will the berries explode?

                    1. re: E_M

                      You should get it to a good boil. Be careful, because it can foam up and can spill, so you have to watch it. The berries should fully split and collapse. I've never seen it "overcooked", though I suppose you can burn it if the heat is too high and focussed. Even on the heat, it should be the consistency of, say, a thick chowder, not a syrup. Once it gets like that, it will firm up plenty when cold.

                      1. re: sbp

                        Just finished heating it. The berries softened and it turned the consistency of chowder (although I did lose some liquid when I poured it back into the pan.)

                        Here's hoping it tastes ok.