Skip to main content

Thanksgiving recipe: Homemade cranberry sauce

11/18/2012 10:46AM ● Published by Curt Guillory

The perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving turkey. Image by Curt Guillory

There may be nothing that compliments your Thanksgiving turkey or pork roast better that this very easy to make cranberry sauce.

No cranberry jiggles

There’s an episode of Frasier I always think about this time of year.  It is one of the Thanksgiving episodes where poor Daphne is trying her best to make a very special meal for the usual cast of characters.  She makes a cranberry sauce from real cranberries, and Marty has a fit.  He insists that it is supposed to hold the form of the can and be “jiggly”. 

What makes it funny is that we can all relate.  For decades now, thanks to the magic of marketing, the only cranberry sauce we know is the canned, “jiggly” sort.  What a shame this is because not only is homemade cranberry sauce easy to make…it’s delicious.

Cranberry sauce anatomy

Cranberries are incredibly tart.  I mean tart like if you eat just one of these things raw you will be able to whistle like nobody else, and a straw will be your best friend for some time after that. 

In order to balance this tartness out we can introduce not only sugar, but some apples and citrus.  These flavors will compliment not only the cranberries, but also the meats on the table.  When it all comes together what you will have is a beautiful cranberry red sauce with sweet chunks of apple and some bright citrus flavors that you will probably find yourself eating out of the pot by itself.

Note:  I used Gala apples because they are sweet yet firm.  But feel free to use whatever apple you like.  If using Granny Smith, some additional sugar will have to be added.


  • 1¾C    Granulated sugar
  • 1C       Water
  • 2C       Fresh cranberries
  • 2         Gala apples
  • 2tsp.    Kosher salt
  • 2med.  Oranges (zested and juiced)
  • 1med.   Lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 3tbsp    Local honey


Add the sugar, water, salt, cranberries, and apples to a heavy, medium pot over medium heat.

Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and stir occasionally until the cranberries start to pop, about 10 minutes.

Add the juices and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken to about the consistency of thin syrup.

Add the zests and honey and remove from the fire.

Note: The sauce will thicken substantially once it is cooled.

Refrigerate for up to a week.

Once Thanksgiving has past, don’t through this sauce out.  A great turkey Panini awaits.

Stay hungry.

Home+Garden thanksgiving cranberry sauce holidays
Read This Months Issue Online



2018 Discover Iberia