Featured, Holiday, Sauces, Thanksgiving

Perfecting Thanksgiving: The Ultimate Traditional Cranberry Sauce Recipe

As the holiday season approaches, we all know that one dish holds a special place on the Thanksgiving table – the cranberry sauce. This humble condiment has the power to elevate the entire meal, adding a burst of tartness and sweetness that complements the savory dishes. If you’re tired of store-bought options and ready to embark on a journey of homemade goodness, our Traditional Cranberry Sauce recipe is here to guide you. Picture plump cranberries, a hint of orange, and the warmth of cinnamon coming together to create a symphony of flavors that will leave your guests reaching for seconds. Let’s dive into the magic of homemade cranberry sauce!

Sure, you can grab a can of cranberry sauce from the store, but trust us, there’s something truly magical about making it from scratch. The aroma that fills your kitchen as cranberries burst, releasing their juices, and the satisfaction of creating a dish that outshines its pre-packaged counterpart – that’s why you should make this cranberry sauce. It’s not just a condiment; it’s a labor of love that will be appreciated by everyone at your Thanksgiving table. Plus, the freshness and quality of homemade cranberry sauce are unparalleled.

Ingredients

  • 3⁄4 cups Sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1⁄2 cup Water
  • 12 ounces Fresh Cranberries
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Piece of Orange Peel

Instructions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, orange juice, and water. Stir the mixture to combine.

Add the fresh cranberries, salt, cinnamon stick, and orange peel to the saucepan.

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until all or most of the cranberries have popped. It’s nice to leave a handful of berries whole for texture.

Allow the cranberry sauce to cool for at least 30 minutes. Then, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Expert Tips and Tricks:

  • Texture Matters: For a more dynamic texture, reserve a handful of cranberries before cooking and add them back to the sauce after it’s done.
  • Citrus Zest: Enhance the citrusy flavor by adding a teaspoon of orange zest along with the orange peel.
  • Adjust Sugar: Taste your cranberry sauce as it cooks and adjust the sugar to your liking. Some prefer it slightly tarter, while others enjoy it sweeter.
  • Cinnamon Freshness: For an extra kick, use a freshly ground cinnamon stick rather than pre-ground cinnamon.

Variations:

  1. Grand Marnier Twist: Add a splash of Grand Marnier for an adult-friendly, sophisticated flavor.
  2. Spiced Apple Delight: Include diced apples and a pinch of nutmeg for a festive twist.
  3. Ginger Infusion: Grate fresh ginger into the sauce for a spicy kick.
  4. Vanilla Elegance: Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a subtle, sweet undertone.
  5. Pecan Crunch: Mix in chopped pecans for a delightful crunch.
  6. Cranberry-Orange Relish: Skip cooking and blend the ingredients for a refreshing relish.
  7. Maple Syrup Magic: Replace sugar with maple syrup for a rich, autumnal flavor.
  8. Rosemary Sophistication: Infuse the sauce with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a herbal touch.
  9. Cranberry Jalapeño: Add diced jalapeños for a sweet and spicy kick.
  10. Orange Cranberry Compote: Include diced oranges for an extra burst of citrus.

What to Serve It With:

  1. Roast Turkey: A classic pairing that enhances the savory notes of the turkey.
  2. Baked Ham: The sweetness of the cranberry sauce complements the saltiness of ham.
  3. Grilled Chicken: A versatile sauce that works wonderfully with grilled chicken.
  4. Cheese Platter: Elevate your cheese board with a dollop of cranberry sauce.
  5. Yogurt Parfait: A delightful topping for a Thanksgiving-inspired yogurt parfait.
  6. Pork Roast: Enhance the flavor of pork roast with a side of cranberry sauce.
  7. Pan-Fried Brie: Serve warm cranberry sauce over pan-fried brie for a decadent appetizer.
  8. Thanksgiving Sandwich: Spread cranberry sauce on your leftover turkey sandwich for added flavor.
  9. Vanilla Ice Cream: Turn it into a dessert by drizzling over vanilla ice cream.
  10. Cranberry Mule: Mix a spoonful into a cranberry mule cocktail for a festive drink.

Storage Tips:

Store your Traditional Cranberry Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to two weeks. If you’re making it ahead for Thanksgiving, prepare it up to three days in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.

How Much to Make for Family Gatherings:

A good rule of thumb is to prepare 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce per person. For a family gathering of 10, aim for 5 cups of cranberry sauce. Adjust based on your guests’ preferences and if you want leftovers.

How Far in Advance Can I Make Traditional Cranberry Sauce?

This cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance, allowing you to streamline your Thanksgiving preparations. The flavors meld and intensify over time, making it even more delicious on the day of the feast.

In conclusion, making your own Traditional Cranberry Sauce is a rewarding endeavor that adds a personal touch to your Thanksgiving or holiday celebration. The versatility of this sauce, from pairing with the main course to enhancing desserts and cocktails, makes it a star on any festive table.

Recipe Card

Traditional Cranberry Sauce

4.9 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 14 min Total Time 19 mins Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, orange juice, and water. Stir the mixture to combine.
  2. Add the fresh cranberries, salt, cinnamon stick, and orange peel to the saucepan.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until all or most of the cranberries have popped. It’s nice to leave a handful of berries whole for texture.

  5. Allow the cranberry sauce to cool for at least 30 minutes. Then, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. This cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance, making it a convenient and flavorful addition to your holiday meal. Enjoy!

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Hey family,

My name is Aaron Brown. You can call me “A.B.”

My mission is to help you level up the process of making your favorite mealswith my video tutorials and recipe guides,plus my tried-and-true spices, cookware, and more that make every meal special.

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