In my opinion, cranberry sauce is the unsung hero of the Thanksgiving table, as turkey was only palatable to me with some cranberry sauce and gravy on top. I grew up with the canned variety (you know, the jello-y kind with the can indentions in it) until someone brought a homemade version one year. It was magnificent, and I ate it with everything. I decided I wanted to kick it up a notch and make a spiced cranberry sauce, full of warm holiday flavors…cinnamon, clove, and ginger. You’ll want to start having it all year round!
What is cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce is a thick, jellied sauce or relish that is used as a condiment at Thanksgiving and around the holidays. It’s made by cooking the cranberries down over heat until it thickens and creates a sauce.
Fun fact: Cranberry sauce started as a Thanksgiving staple as early as the 1630s when America was being colonized. Before then, cranberries were used by the Wampanoag tribe for dye, medicine, and food. (Source: marthastewart.com)
How to use spiced cranberry sauce
If you like cranberries, the options are almost endless. Here’s a few suggestions for use outside of the holiday table, especially if you have some leftover and want to use it up!
- Cranberry baked brie
- Cranberry upside down cake
- Cranberry sauce and brie grilled cheese
- In a yogurt parfait with granola
- On top of a cheesecake (white chocolate cheesecake…mmm!)
- Cranberry sauce crumble bars
The spiced cranberry sauce will keep in the fridge for about two weeks and up to 3 months in the freezer. When freezing, place in a freezer safe Ziploc bag and thaw overnight in the fridge before using. If it seems too thick after reheating, you can add a little bit of water and stir it in to loosen back up some.
Tips and tricks
- Great for making ahead! It keeps perfectly in the fridge for a while, so this is one of those dishes you can get out of the way early to save yourself time on Thanksgiving.
- If your sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening during its simmering time, bring it back up to a boil for a minute or two and then bring it back down.
- A little bit of orange zest goes a long way. Keep in mind that it already contains orange juice, so you don’t want to overdo it. Unless you really want a strong orange flavor…then bring it on!
- You can add nutmeg if that’s your thing. I absolutely detest nutmeg, so none of my recipes will ever have it in the ingredients.
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen just takes a little longer for the cranberries to burst.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 pinch of orange zest
- In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Turn down to medium low and let it simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen takes a little longer for the cranberries to burst.
- If the sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening after a few minutes simmering, bring back up to a boil for a minute or two and then back down to simmer.
- Sauce will stay good in the fridge up to two weeks and frozen up to 3 months in freezer safe Ziploc bag.