42 Cranberry Sauce Recipes That Are Truly Special

Find your new favorite with classic takes (and twists) on this must-have Thanksgiving side.

Updated on October 09, 2023

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved


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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Ryan Dausch

Photo By: Ryan Dausch

Our Best Ideas for Cranberry Sauce

Whether you prefer it jellied and cut into slices, on the side as a chunky relish or something in between, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberries on the table. And, as tempting as it is to simply open a can and wiggle that jiggly tube of premade cranberry sauce onto a serving plate and declare it a Thanksgiving side dish, we’re here to tell you that it’s so worth it to make your own. Not only is cranberry sauce incredibly easy to whip up (you can even make it in the microwave!) but it will leave you with the absolute best leftovers. You can stir it into oatmeal for breakfast, spread it on bread for an upgraded turkey sandwich, spoon it over pan-fried pork chops—the possibilities are near endless. Best of all, when you make your own you give it your own special twist. That’s where these recipes come in handy. You’ll find everything from spiked versions to citrus-infused ones, which makes it easy to put something extra special on your Thanksgiving table. If you’re not sure where to start, try Tyler’s recipe. It’s flavored with orange zest and cinnamon for a sweet-tart treat that’s perfectly spiced—and ready in a matter of minutes.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Mulled Cranberry Sauce

Warm mulling spices (like cinnamon, peppercorn, clove and orange zest) turn ordinary homemade cranberry sauce into a show-stopping Thanksgiving side masterpiece.

Get the Recipe: Mulled Cranberry Sauce

Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

Aaron McCargo Jr. uses a whole cinnamon stick to bring the spice into his Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce.

Get the Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Almond Brittle

A simple maple-almond brittle, flavored with a bit of rosemary, adds a welcome crunch to classic cranberry sauce.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Almond Brittle

Cranberry-Chile Sauce

Two different types of chile peppers (guajillo and ancho) give this Thanksgiving staple a sweet-and-spicy kick.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Chile Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Alex Guarnaschelli achieves zesty, perfectly spiced results in her version of this simple, classic holiday staple by using oranges, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon to flavor the fresh cranberries.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Nan's Cranberry Sauce

A sweet cream cheese topping is the perfect way to balance out the natural tartness of cranberries.

Get the Recipe: Nan's Cranberry Sauce

Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Ree takes canned cranberry sauce to the next level by adding maple syrup, fresh thyme and orange zest — and just a little port.

Cranberry Sauce with Pinot and Figs

Dried figs and balsamic vinegar upgrade traditional cranberry sauce into Bobby's elegant version.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Sauce with Pinot and Figs

The Best Cranberry Sauce

Our classic cranberry sauce has the ideal texture of tart whole berries suspended in a sweet jammy sauce; we added citrus peel for a little extra brightness. Don't be tempted to skip the salt and and pepper at the end. It may seem a bit odd, but salt brings out the fruitiness of the berries while pepper gives the sauce a warm and spicy finish.

Get the Recipe: The Best Cranberry Sauce

Ancho-Maple Cranberry Sauce

Maple syrup and raisins bring extra sweetness to this ancho-spiced Thanksgiving classic.

Get the Recipe: Ancho-Maple Cranberry Sauce

Cran-Citrus Chutney

Add unexpected punches of flavor with red wine, crystallized ginger and golden raisins.

Get the Recipe: Cran-Citrus Chutney

Tyler's Fresh Cranberry Relish

Tyler adds a touch of Grand Marnier liqueur to make all the flavors pop.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Mold

Make homemade cranberry sauce look retro by mixing in gelatin and refrigerating in a mold or empty soup cans overnight.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Mold

Whipped Cranberry Dressing

Dress up canned cranberry sauce by gently stirring in freshly whipped cream.

Get the Recipe: Whipped Cranberry Dressing

Classic Cranberry Sauce

This traditional recipe only requires four ingredients: cranberries, sugar, lemon and orange.

Get the Recipe: Classic Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Pomegranate Terrine

Impress guests with this elegant cranberry sauce terrine.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Pomegranate Terrine

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Don't miss out on the perfect cranberry sauce recipe from Food Network Magazine, with just a bit of citrus zest to bring out the flavor.

Get the Recipe: Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Ree's Cranberry Sauce

Ree Drummond prepares a traditional cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving by using fresh cranberries and orange juice, plus a generous dose of maple syrup in place of sugar, for a more natural flavor.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Red Devil Cranberries

Guy's cranberry sauce gets a devilishly spicy kick from two types of peppers.

Get the Recipe: Red Devil Cranberries

Cranberry Citrus Dressing

Michael Chiarello's fresh cranberry dressing gets a flavor boost from orange zest and juice, fresh vanilla beans and a few spoonfuls of Dijon mustard.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Citrus Dressing

Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney

Apples and ginger keep it fresh with Dave Lieberman’s spin on a simple cranberry sauce. It only takes one pot and 30 minutes, too.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney

Cranberry Walnut Relish

Add a little crunch to classic cranberry sauce by mixing in chopped walnuts.

Get the Recipe: Almost-Famous Cranberry Walnut Relish

Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce

Nigella Lawson's sweet-as-can-be recipe uses cherry brandy to add an extra notch of ruby blush.

Get the Recipe: Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Pear Relish

The Bartlett pear incorporated into this cranberry relish makes for a sweetness that your guests probably weren't expecting.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Pear Relish

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Hard Cider

While you may be busy cooking up the turkey on the big night you won’t have to worry about this cranberry side dish! You can actually make this one week ahead and refrigerate up until it’s time to eat.

Get the Recipe: Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Hard Cider

Orange-Cranberry-Pear Relish

The three fruits in the relish keep things fresh and vibrant, while the dose of toasted pecans brings it back to the comforts of Thanksgiving.

Get the Recipe: Orange-Cranberry-Pear Relish

Cranberry-Serrano Relish

Leave it to Bobby to bring heat to the holiday table with this relish that gets kick from grated ginger and a diced serrano chile.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Serrano Relish

Nutty Cranberry Relish

Make extra of this nutty relish; it's great on turkey sandwiches.

Get the Recipe: Nutty Cranberry Relish

Cointreau Cranberry Relish

Ted Allen's relish gets a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

Get the Recipe: Cointreau Cranberry Relish

Spicy Cranberry Salsa

A zap of jalapeno and a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro move this cranberry concoction from traditional to sensational. The question is, will you eat it with turkey or tortilla chips?

Get the Recipe: Spicy Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry-Clementine Sauce

Feature in-season clementines in Anne's sauce, which also gets tang from orange juice.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Clementine Sauce

Cranberry Salad

Fresh, ground cranberries come together with chopped fruit, nuts, sugar and gelatin to form this eye-pleasing mold for your Thanksgiving table.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Salad

Fresh Cranberry Relish

If you can find fresh cranberries, Tyler's recipe will really make the berries shine. All you need are four ingredients for his holiday relish.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Relish

Cranberry-Apple Chutney

Use up the last of this fall's apple haul at Thanksgiving dinner. One chopped apple makes this cranberry sauce a bit more creative than the traditional variety.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Apple Chutney

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

This festive looking dish brings a ton of texture to the classic dish by adding crunchy pistachios to the mix.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

Cherry-Lemon Relish

Sunny makes her holiday relish with frozen cherries instead of cranberries for a sweet twist on the classic sauce.

Get the Recipe: Cherry-Lemon Relish

Alton's Cranberry Sauce

Using pure cranberry juice, rather than cranberry juice cocktail, is a sure way to get your sauce naturally tart and sweet.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Trisha Yearwood shows how easy it is to whip up her sister's cranberry-orange relish for Thanksgiving dinner. Simply pulse fresh orange slices and frozen defrosted cranberries in the food processor until the mixture reaches the desired consistency (Trisha likes a chunky texture — but not too chunky). Then, stir in sugar and chopped pecans.

Cranberry Jelly

Get the texture of canned cranberry sauce without any of the preservatives. This dish can be prepared the night before and left to set in the refrigerator overnight.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Jelly

Cranberry-Horseradish Cream

An unusual but sworn-by combo; try this if you want to be daring and add something a little different to your Thanksgiving spread.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Horseradish Cream

Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce

Give your traditional cranberry sauce a kick this year. Pickled jalapenos add mild heat and a hint of salt for a seasonal salty-sweet side dish.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce