When it comes to Thanksgiving dishes, the cranberry sauce gets very little attention. Nobody ever says, “I can’t wait to load up my plate with cranberry sauce!” I totally get that. After all, it’s more of a condiment than a dish. But as far as condiments go, it’s definitely one you shouldn’t omit. Just a small amount of cranberry sauce adds the perfect amount of tart sweetness to balance out all of those other savory dishes on your plate. It also gives that bright pop of color to make your meal more appetizing.
You could just open up a can of cranberry sauce and put it on your Thanksgiving buffet, OR you could try this very simple recipe and decide you’ll never buy cranberry sauce again!
All you need for this basic cranberry sauce is one 12-ounce bag of cranberries, sweetener, orange peel, one cinnamon stick, orange juice, water, and about 20 minutes of stirring over medium heat. That’s all it takes for your kitchen to smell like the holidays!
This is a great recipe to make a day or two before serving because it keeps well in the fridge. And since it’s so easy, it’s also a good one to delegate to a teenager or husband who doesn’t normally cook. Mom win!
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and picked through
- ½ cup maple syrup, agave, or white sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup water
- Pinch salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 or 2 strips of orange peel (use a veg. peeler, avoid white part of peel)
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring often, simmer on medium to medium-low until most of the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, about 20 mins. If the sauce is splattering, reduce heat slightly and continue stirring.
- Taste and add more sweetener if desired, remembering that it's supposed to be a little tart. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 10 mins.
- Remove orange peel and cinnamon stick and discard.
- Transfer to serving bowl, top with orange peel garnish, cover lightly, and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
This sauce keeps in the fridge 4-5 days.
I decided to call this recipe “basic” because there are many more creative ways to serve cranberries. It’s hard to beat the classic cranberry sauce, so I started there. Perhaps next year I’ll try a cranberry relish!
I served this cranberry sauce at a Friendsgiving dinner this week, and a few people asked me for the recipe. So here you go, guys!
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Also try my Peanut Butter Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Raisins!