One bite of this easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce and you’ll wonder why you ever bought the canned stuff! Made in less than 20 minutes, this whole berry cranberry relish with tart cherries and savory shallots can be made ahead of time and frozen - perfect for Thanksgiving!
With all of the food to make for Thanksgiving, I understand if you’re reluctant to take on another recipe. Between the turkey, the stuffing, the potatoes, the pies, it can get to be a lot.
But this Homemade Cranberry Sauce - made with fresh cranberries, shallots, dried tart cherries and a generous splash of blackberry liqueur - is sooooooo easy and far outshines anything you can buy in a can.
Why you'll love this recipe
➤ It's sweet and savory: Most cranberry sauces are a bit tart but primarily still sweet. This recipe also has a healthy helping of shallots that add a lovely savory flavor to the sauce that pairs perfectly with roasted turkey.
➤ It only takes 20 minutes to make: No need to labor for hours on this relish.
➤ Use fresh or frozen cranberries: Both options work beautifully so use whatever is most convenient for you.
➤ Make it ahead and freeze it: A real time saver on a busy holiday.
You only need 6 ingredients for this sweet, savory and tart homemade whole berry sauce:
A few ingredient notes:
- Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this sauce.
- Dried tart cherries: Not every grocery store carries these, but they are regularly available at Trader Joe's, Costco and Amazon.
- Creme de cassis is a blackcurrant flavored liqueur. If you prefer an alcohol free substitute, try a blackcurrant syrup instead.
After the initial chopping, there isn’t much to this recipe other than cooking it on the stove top. Total cooking time is 20 minutes start to finish!
Step one: Saute shallots until tender.
Step two: Stir in cherries, cranberries, sugar and liqueur. Cook until cranberries start to pop.
Step three: Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
Tip: Make this recipe up to a month ahead of time and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
It's up to you! You should always store fresh cranberry sauce in the refrigerator, but I like to serve cranberry sauce at room temperature. Some people swear by cold cranberry sauce and others who love it heated up over warm turkey slices. The choice is yours!
You can store leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to one week or you can freeze it for up to two months. Dollops of this homemade sauce are delicious on these Cranberry Brie Bites or slathered on top of a wheel of Baked Brie.
Yes. You might also see them labeled as Montmorency cherries. Can't find them? You can substitute dried sweet cherries but you'll need to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe so it's not overly sweet.
It goes without saying that cranberry sauce belongs on your Thanksgiving table, right?
- Not hosting a huge crowd this year? Make a turkey breast instead! We’ve got a complete guide for How to Cook a Turkey Breast. It’s way easier than you think!
- No turkey dinner is complete without potatoes. You can reheat these Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes in the Crock Pot which is key during a meal when oven space is in high demand.
- Don’t forget this stuffing! This homemade Cornbread Stuffing with sausage has a robust taste that pairs perfectly with the mild flavor of turkey.
You’ll find all of our side dish recipes in our archives.
P.S. If you end up with leftover cranberry relish, freeze it and use it to top these festive Cranberry Brie Bites throughout the holiday season. Or use it to make this layered Cranberry Jello Salad.
Expert tips for making cranberry sauce
✘ You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. Frozen berries may require a few minutes extra cook time.
✘ The small amount of lemon zest is optional but adds a burst of freshness to the sauce.
✘ Dried tart cherries are also often labeled as Montmorency cherries. Find them at Trader Joe's, Costco, Amazon and other well-stocked grocery stores.
✘ In a pinch, dried sweet cherries can be used instead of the tart cherries but you'll need to reduce the amount of sugar to keep the relish from becoming too sweet.
✘ Want to make a non-alcoholic version? Skip the creme de cassis and use a blackcurrant syrup instead. It will be sweeter than the creme de cassis so you'll need to use less.
✘ Make this sauce ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for two months.
More cranberry recipes
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- ⅔ cup dried tart cherries
- ½ cup blackcurrant liqueur, often called creme de cassis
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and saute for 3 minutes or until shallots are tender.1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- Increase heat to medium-high and add cherries, liqueur, sugar and cranberries. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop.⅔ cup dried tart cherries, ½ cup blackcurrant liqueur,, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, 12 ounces cranberries,
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in zest. Cool before storing tightly covered in the refrigerator.1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. Frozen berries may require a few minutes extra cook time.
- Dried tart cherries are also often labeled as Montmorency cherries. Find them at Trader Joe's, Costco, Amazon and other well-stocked grocery stores.
- In a pinch, dried sweet cherries can be used instead of the tart cherries but you'll need to reduce the amount of sugar to keep the relish from becoming too sweet.
- Want to make a non-alcoholic version? Skip the creme de cassis and use a blackcurrant syrup instead. It will be sweeter than the creme de cassis so you'll need to use less.
- Make this sauce ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for two months.
- Recipe adapted from MyRecipes.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
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