It’s that time of year when we start to plan our menu for the upcoming holiday celebrations. If your family is anything like ours, there are always certain favorites that make it onto the table every year. Homemade cranberry sauce is one of those favorite recipes that we always include. But we also like to try new things! So there are usually a couple new recipes we incorporate to keep things fun and varied year to year. Cranberry sauce is an easy recipe to tweak with fun new flavors. I love trying different variations! So this is one of those menu items that can check both boxes – a classic favorite with a fun new twist.
Whether a classic recipe or a new twist, the holiday meal isn’t the same without some type of tasty homemade cranberry sauce on the table! I feel so strongly about this in fact, that I always volunteer to bring this side dish if we are partaking at a home other than our own. Juuuuussssst to be sure 😀
Cranberry Sauce is Quick and Easy to Make Ahead
This recipe is one of my favorites. It adds just the right amount of flair to the classic cranberry sauce – spicing things up with delicious holiday flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and orange. It’s also super simple to make! All you have to do is follow these three steps:
- Throw less than ten ingredients into a pan.
- Let them simmer away for about 15 minutes.
- Smash the berries a little, let it cool, and there you have it!
This cranberry sauce is also best if made ahead. This gives it time to chill and the flavors to perfectly blend together. Make this a few days ahead and you will be one step closer to getting that delicious holiday meal on the table.
Cranberry sauce is of course a classic accompaniment to that Thanksgiving or Christmas Turkey. But it also pairs really well with a yummy baked ham! It’s an easy, versatile, and flavorful side dish that you can prep ahead. What’s not to love? If you’ve never tried making your own cranberry sauce before, I’d encourage you to give it a try! You won’t regret it. And, it might just become one of your own holiday favorites to grace your table in years to come.
If you are looking for other great holiday recipes, here are a couple other tasty ideas!
- Small saucepan
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Measuring cups
- 12 oz cranberries (whole, fresh)
- 1 orange (juiced and a peeled)
- ¾ cup liquid (split between water and orange juice)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise (whole)
- dash ground cloves
- dash ground ginger
- pinch salt
- Mix all the ingredients together in the small saucepan including the orange peel.
- Place on the stove on medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries begin to pop. Smash some of the berries to help thicken the sauce.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and orange peel from the pot.
- If you prefer a smoother consistency, smash the majority of the berries with the back of the spoon (a potato masher also works well for this). You can even use an immersion blender to get a super smooth consistency. It's up to you and your preference!
- Remove the cranberry sauce from the stove, transfer to a heat-proof dish, and let cool completely in the fridge. The sauce will thicken further as it cools.
- Enjoy as a tasty side dish with your holiday meal!