Homemade Cranberry Sauce – It’s Easier Than You Think


If you’ve never made cranberry sauce from scratch, you’re missing out on one of the simplest ways to add a grace note to your Thanksgiving table. I’ve made several versions over the past 15+ years. My first batch came from a fantastic, free little cookbook published by Williams-Sonoma around 1992. My sister-in-law assigned the recipe to me and it contained glacé orange peel, which, of course, could only easily be found at Williams-Sonoma. The sauce was so great that my then father-in-law requested it for years afterward. Somehow that secret ingredient stopped being carried by Williams-Sonoma, so I turned to the back of a package of fresh cranberries the next few years and it yielded a very respectable batch of glistening sauce. This year I’m hosting my whole family at my new house and I wanted to try something with just a bit more pizzazz, so I asked one of my friends who’s a terrific cook if he had any suggestions. As luck would have it, he believes he found the world’s best cranberry sauce recipe on Epicurious a few years ago. It was originally featured in Bon Appetit magazine’s November 2001 issue.  He changed it by reducing the sugar by half, insisting that it’s plenty sweet and turns out beautifully with the lesser amount. Apparently, every time he makes this sauce he has to double the recipe because people go nuts over it. I made it today and, while I have yet to taste the cranberries chilled, the warm-from-the-stove sauce passed the spoon-licking test with flying colors!


Happy Thanksgiving and Peace on Earth.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce With Zinfandel
Bon Appetit magazine, November 2001 (obtained from Epicurious)

• 1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
• 6 whole cloves
• 6 whole allspice
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 3×1-inch strip orange peel
• 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients except cranberries in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into large saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Eileen | Nov 24, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    I’m always looking for new cranberry recipes, this one sounds great. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • Eileen | Nov 28, 2008 at 11:42 am

    The cranberry sauce turned out wonderful, the only problem.. I forgot to serve it! I remembered after dinner was done, no one asked about cranberry sauce. It’s great on turkey sandwiches though.