International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Cranberry Sauce

Bowl of cranberry sauce

(American cranberry condiment)

Image by Mattie Hagedorn

Average: 5 (6 votes)

Cranberry sauce is an essential part of any American Thanksgiving meal. Many families serve it for Christmas dinner too. Some people have to have cranberry sauce in the shape of a tin can. Others prefer this more naturalistic version. A less sweet cranberry sauce is served with game birds in northern Europe.

Don't limit cranberry sauce to the holidays. Cranberries are a "superfruit" with amazing antioxidant qualities. Use as a side dish at summer picnics or as a spread on your favorite sandwich.

4 to 6 servings


  • Cranberries, fresh or frozen -- 1 (12-ounce) bag, or about 4 cups
  • Water -- 1 cup
  • Sugar -- 2 cups
  • Salt -- pinch


  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the berries begin to pop, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cranberry Sauce Variations

  • Jellied Cranberry Sauce: Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the pulp to get all the juice. Discard the pulp and chill the strained sauce in a decorative mold until it gels.
  • Instead of water, substitute orange juice, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, apple cider, red wine, or port. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar added. Stir in a shot of bourbon, brandy or cognac just before serving for a nice punch.
  • Try using brown sugar or maple syrup as a substitute for some or all of the white sugar.
  • Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice or nutmeg. Or use a combination of several of the spices. Or add a piece of star anise.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of minced fresh gingerroot. Toss in 1/4 cup currants or raisins. Stir in some chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Simmer with a piece of orange or lemon rind (no white pith).


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