Will you trust me if I ask you to branch out a little in your Thanksgiving Day meal? It won’t be painful, I promise, and it will be delicious.
Do NOT buy a can of cranberry sauce to serve with your turkey. Instead, buy a bag of fresh cranberries, and make my favorite sauce, which is a sweet, spiced version. It takes all of 15 minutes to make it, so don’t even think of using lack of time as an excuse!
I’ve experimented with dozens of versions of cranberry sauce over the years – with Port, with Grand Marnier, with blueberries, with cherries, with raisins and nuts, making it a chutney, with sour cream and onions – even doing a cranberry sauce taste test with three different versions a few years in a row. While the taste tests were certainly fun and delicious, it soon became clear that everyone kept reaching for the same dish repeatedly, year after year.
This is the hands-down most requested recipe. If you make it today or this weekend, the flavors will meld by Thursday, which is important.
Put down that can. You can do better!
Recipe: Best Ever Cranberry Sauce – Hall of Fame version
The best cranberry sauce ever! Winner in countless taste tests over the years, this is my most-requested version. Don’t show up to Thanksgiving dinner without it, and make this a week ahead of your big dinner, for best flavor.
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
- Zest of 1 orange (orange part only)
In a large, heavy saucepan, add sugar, water and spices and cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, syrup is clear and comes to a rolling boil, about 3 minutes. In a colander, rinse and pick over the cranberries to remove any mushy ones. Add cranberries to boiling syrup and continue cooking, uncovered, just until they begin to pop, about 2-3 minutes (set the timer). Be careful not to cook them too long or they will get mushy.
Remove from heat, stir in orange zest and cool to room temperature, uncovered. Ladle into clean jars or plastic containers, label and refrigerate until serving time.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce, enough to serve 6-8.
Cook’s trick: Make two batches and stick one jar of it in the back of the refrigerator, to be discovered two months later. It will be an utterly delicious cook’s treasure!
Other recipes for your Thanksgiving feast