Colorful, tart and a seasonal must-have, cranberries are the perfect complement to holiday menus. Roast turkey, duck and goose all benefit from the mouth-puckering acidity of cranberries. But it’s time to give them a tasty twist. These easy-to-make variations on the classic sauce will have you and your guests asking for more. (P.S. Think beyond Thanksgiving. Whole raw cranberries freeze beautifully for a month, so try later with duck, rack of lamb, or grilled chicken and jack cheese.)

Begin With:

THE BASIC CRANBERRY SAUCE

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 12-oz. package

Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add cranberries, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until berries start to burst. Cool.

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Photo by Adam Finkle

Cranberry-Apple Sauce
Substitute the juice of half an orange for the 4 Tbsp. water. Zest the orange and cut into tiny dice. Chop 1 tart apple into cranberry-sized pieces and add the apple and zest to sugar water with the cranberries. Proceed with the basic recipe. Season with ground cinnamon to taste after removing sauce from the heat. Garnish with apple fan.

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Photo by Adam Finkle

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Add to basic sauce after removing
from the heat:
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
18 tsp. ground allspice
18 tsp. ground cloves
18 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. grated, peeled
fresh ginger
Garnish with crystallized ginger. 

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Photo by Adam Finkle

Chili Cranberry Sauce
Substitute 1/4 cup white wine for 1/4 cup of water. Seed and chop a ripe, mild chili pepper (an Anaheim or poblano; or substitute 1/2 ripe red bell pepper and 1/2 ripe jalapeño pepper) and add to water with the berries. Proceed with the basic recipe. Garnish with fresh red pepper. 

Photo by Adam Finkle

Cranberry-Port Sauce
Skip the water. Cook cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup orange juice and 2 Tbsp. grated orange rind together until just a few berries burst. Add 1/2 cup ruby port and cook another 2-3 minutes, until most of the berries have burst. Garnish with orange rind. 


A Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete without buttery mashed potatoes, check out four tasty twists on the holiday classic.