Cranberry Sauce for Every Thanksgiving Table

cranberry sauce ingredients laid out on a table

Thanksgiving might look a little different this year for many families. The pandemic has made it difficult to gather together as we traditionally might, but it’s likely that we will still connect with each other through food no matter where we are in the world. Grandmother’s cornbread stuffing will find its way to the table, like it does every year, as will mother-in-law’s green bean casserole and your great uncle’s extra fluffy mashed potatoes. These dishes help us feel close to family members, wherever they are.

However, there’s one dish that receives far less fanfare—cranberry sauce. This Thanksgiving condiment rarely receives the care and attention awarded to the other components of the feast, despite its crucial role in cutting through the richness of the rest of the meal. Many are content to simply crack open a can of Oceanspray and slurp it onto a plate, ideally so it still retains its can-like shape. While there’s no harm in that and many love the canned stuff, making cranberry sauce from fresh berries is almost as quick and easy. Plus, homemade sauce can be personalized with tasty additions and, of course, spices!

We created four delicious Cranberry Sauce recipes and included pairing suggestions for your Thanksgiving table. Perhaps one will become a new family recipe!

 

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

This sauce is a little smokey and bit spicy from the chipotle, and would pair perfectly with BBQ’d turkey and southwest side dishes. 

1 12 oz package of fresh cranberries

1 cup white sugar

½ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp ground chipotle adobo

½ tsp ground cinnamon

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

Heat the cranberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries start to pop. Add a splash or two of water if necessary to get things moving. Once the berries pop and become jammy, add the garlic, cumin, chipotle adobo, cinnamon and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together. Remove from heat, cool and serve. 

cranberry sauce with chopped apple in a sauce pan with a spoon

Cranberry Chutney

Inspired by the end-of-summer green tomato chutney popular in the South, this sweet-tart sauce would go well with a deep-fried bird, macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. 

1 12 oz package of fresh cranberries

½ c brown sugar

2 Tbsp white sugar

1 tart green apple (like Granny Smith), chopped small

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground clove

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Heat the cranberries, chopped apple, brown sugar and white sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries start to pop. Add a little water to get things moving, if necessary. Once it’s simmering, add the mustard seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, cinnamon and clove. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together. Remove from heat and add the apple cider vinegar. Cool and serve. 

mulling spice cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce with Mulling Spices

Inspired by the warm, cozy spices in mulled wine and cider, this sauce tastes and smells like the holidays. Pair with an oven-roasted turkey and traditional sides. 

1 12 oz package of fresh cranberries

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 Tbsp dried orange peel 

1 oz crystalized ginger, very thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

Pinch ground clove

1 tsp orange zest

Heat the cranberries, sugar and orange juice over medium heat until the berries start to pop. Once simmering, add the very thinly sliced crystalized ginger, dried orange peel, bay leaf, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the dried orange peel softens and the flavors come together. Remove from heat. Stir in the orange zest. Cool and serve. 

Ingredients for curry cranberry sauce

Curried Cranberry Sauce

This curry-inspired sauce is earthy and fragrant. The addition of pomegranate molasses at the end adds a sweet-tart compliment. Try it with non-traditional sides, especially if you’re cooking a vegetarian feast. 

1 12 oz package of fresh cranberries

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp garam masala

½ tsp ground ginger

Pinch cayenne

¼ cup pomegranate molasses

Heat the cranberries and white sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries start to pop. Add a little water to get things moving, if necessary. Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a dry pan until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Once the cranberry mixture is simmering, add the toasted seeds, garam masala, ginger and cayenne. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the flavors come together. Remove from heat and stir in the pomegranate molasses. Cool and serve. 


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