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11 Creative Cranberry Sauces

11 Creative Cranberry Sauces

Cranberry sauces have come a long way since the days of being jellified and gurgled out of a can onto a plate for Thanksgiving. 

I hadn’t seen a whole cranberry in my life until I was an adult and learned that they weren’t born as oversweet gel. 

Turns out ruby-red cranberries are versatile and hardy, but very tart and acidic. So you need to work with these important elements to help their flavor shine. 

Part of the reason they seem to be on every holiday feast table is because they tend to cut the richness of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing with their sharp, tangy flavor.

But at my house, we eat them year round, generally in a compote, which cooks the whole cranberries down only slightly, with chunks of apple or pear. 

I add lots of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon and less sugar overall, and I end up with a container of cranberry sauce that stays good in my fridge for WEEKS.

It goes great with salmon, chicken, taquitos, beef dishes, casseroles. I wouldn’t pair it with pastas only because the red sauce is acidic too. 

Versatile, flexible, beautiful. Maybelline. I mean, cranberries. 

Try these cranberry sauce recipes and see if you find your new favorite.

1. Cranberry relish

This cranberry relish is made out of fresh, raw fruit. For this recipe you will need fresh, whole, not frozen, cranberries.

This cranberry relish only has a few ingredients and it is slightly sweet and tart. 

It is made with apples, cranberries, oranges and a bit of sugar. 

This raw-cranberry relish is quite versatile. 

You can serve it alongside your turkey on Thanksgiving or you can serve it with brie as an appetizer.

I say do both!

2. Cranberry orange sauce

This cranberry orange sauce is perfectly tart with a night of subtle sweetness. 

It is made with fresh cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and water. This one is easy peasy to put together.

Cranberries and oranges commingle like they are best friends. 

Considering that you just toss the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes this will easily become a popular cranberry dish in your home.

3. Cranberry Pear Sauce

This made from scratch cranberry recipe is rich with flavor. It has pears, ginger and rosemary.

For this recipe pick out some ripe and firm pears. I recommend that you peel them but feel free to leave the skin on for extra texture. 

You can cook up this sauce in 10 minutes and then let it cool before serving. 

We have this with all kinds of meat, not just turkey.

A bowl of cranberry pear sauce sitting on a wooden table.

4. Cranberry Salsa

Mix up your cranberry routine this year and serve cranberry salsa instead. This recipe adds a Mexican flair to your dinner without it being to obvious.

Cranberry, cilantro, lime and green onion come together to make a salsa that is perfect for dipping and you can eat with your turkey.

The recipe calls for jalapeño but if you are a wimp like me you can exclude it.

5. Cranberry Sauce Without Added Sugar

If you want that tangy cranberry sauce with your meal but don’t want all of that added sugar, this recipe is for you.

There is so much flavor packed in this cranberry sauce that you won’t even notice that the sugar isn’t there.

The sweetness comes from the apple sauce and orange juice. The hint of spice comes from cloves, ginger and ground cinnamon.

6. Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce (5 Ingredient)

Cranberry sauce can be quite delicious even with few ingredients. The beauty of cranberry sauce is the simplicity with which it is made.

This slow cooker cranberry sauce only requires cranberries, orange, lemon, orange juice, maple syrup and a cinnamon stick.

Don’t just save this one for the holidays. Whip it up as a side dish for your next grilled chicken dinner too.

7. Easy Cranberry Sauce With Walnuts

This cranberry adds a bit of smoky crunch because it includes toasted walnuts. 

It is a bright sauce with a hint of sweetness that comes from the cinnamon and honey.

It also includes orange zest and cherry jam. So this is packed with a host of flavors that play together beautifully.

8. Dried Cranberry Sauce

If you can’t find fresh or frozen cranberries grab yourself a bag of dried cranberries. 

If you follow these directions you can rehyrdate those cranberries and make a tasty cranberry sauce. 

This recipe is easy to make in a saucepan on the stovetop and it will be so much better than that tired can of cranberry sauce.

9. Grand Marinier Cranberry Sauce

If you are looking to bring up your cranberry sauce game a notch, this is a fantastic recipe to start with.

The Grand Marinier is added after the sauce is cooked. So this does mean that your sauce will be boozy.

The liquor adds a sweet flavor to the sauce but it is a smooth liquor that is mild. 

I do recommend using fresh cranberries in this recipe.

10. Slow Cooker Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

Speaking of boozy cranberry sauce, this red wine cranberry sauce is full of flavor and of course wine.

The red wine enhances the flavor of the cranberries and the brown sugar offers a unique sweetness. 

I do recommend that you use unsweetened cranberry juice in this recipe. Also, if you have dark brown sugar I would use that as well.

11. Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

This recipe is a bit of a surprise for the senses. You see all of that red and expect nothing but cranberries.

Then you take a bit and there is a sweetness and tartness that you didn’t expect. That is the glorious raspberry. 

Then you will be hit with subtle notes of vanilla. That is because this recipe has a tiny bit of vanilla extract.

11 Cranberry Sauce Recipes

11 Cranberry Sauce Recipes

We gathered some delicious cranberry sauces to help you choose one recipe that will become your year-round favorite!


  • Cranberry relish
  • Cranberry orange sauce
  • Cranberry pear sauce
  • Cranberry salsa
  • Cranberry sauce without sugar
  • Slow Cooker cranberry sauce (5 ingredients)
  • Easy cranberry sauce with walnuts
  • Dried cranberry sauce
  • Grand Marinier cranberry sauce
  • Slow cooker red wine cranberry sauce
  • Cranberry raspberry sauce


  1. Pick a cranberry sauce to try
  2. Follow the directions
  3. Serve and enjoy!

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A plate of whole chicken with cranberry sauce on top

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