Cranberry Sauce Recipe

My Dad’s famous cranberry sauce recipe plays such a prominent role in our Thanksgiving traditions that I can’t even remember a time when he didn’t make it. Because it’s a pretty easy dish, he used to solicit the help of whatever young kid was lying around so that they too could feel like they participated in preparing the hugest meal of the year. Who knows, this could have even been one of my first forays into the kitchen!

Since we’ve always had this great homemade cranberry sauce at our holiday dinner, I wasn’t even aware of the omnipresent cylindrical, canned cranberry image until my friend made an off-handed reference to it. It made me wonder what other pop-culture icons I missed growing up. (I’ll chock it up to not having cable until I was 10.)

Cranberries are so good for you, it’s really a shame that they only get their 15 minutes of fame once a year. But who knows, once you try this good stuff you might be inclined to make cranberry sauce more often! I could see this recipe being used as a jam substitute on breads or as a topping on oatmeal or even in thumbprint cookies. Once I start thinking about it, I’m not sure why we only see cranberries at Thanksgiving time.

This cranberry sauce recipe is innovative and classic at the same time. It combines some seen-before-flavors like orange with some more inspired family secrets like brandy or whiskey and raspberries. Go ahead, and see for yourself but once you go homemade it’s pretty darn hard to go back to the old canned stuff.


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries (one bag)
  • 4 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 oz brandy or whiskey
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground clove and pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped (not ground) pecans or walnuts (optional)


  1. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice and brandy, add cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
  2. Stir in the cranberries, raspberries and optional nuts.
  3. Let mixture reduce while cranberries pop and break down releasing pectin.
  4. Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl.
  5. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Have a happy holiday dinner and enjoy this cranberry sauce recipe with other great vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes!

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