Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 13, 2022

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Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port will be your easy, elegant, complex addition to the Thanksgiving table — sweet and tangy, with bright orange and rich port flavors.

Over the years, I’ve become the cranberry sauce queen, making between 3-5 difference sauces for our Thanksgiving table. One year, I handed out ballots and had everyone vote for their favorite. Another year I had them guess what was in each one. That was pretty funny. And sometimes the sauce that someone thinks is their favorite gets bumped out of first place in favor of a new sauce.Trying new recipes for cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals is as fun for me as it is for my family. I think if I showed up with only one sauce, there might be groans of disappointment. 

Let this easy Skillet Cranberry Sauce be your new one to try this year. Although it has port in it, the alcohol burns off, and it is not at all boozy tasting.

How to make Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port

Variety of ingredients for Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port sitting on a white marble countertopFirst, as always, gather your ingredients. For this sauce, you’ll need…

  • Cranberries (fresh if possible, or frozen is OK)
  • Brown sugar
  • Port (I prefer ruby, but tawny is fine, too)
  • Orange
  • Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal brand. If you use Morton brand, use half as much)

Ingredients for Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port in a white skillet on a stovetopPut all ingredients into the skillet and fire it up!

Cranberries simmer in a white skillet on ShockinglyDelicious.comBring it to a simmer.

Thickened cranberries get jammy in a white skillet as they cookCook for a few minutes, until most cranberries pop and it starts getting thicker.

Fresh chopped cranberries and orange zest are added to the cooked cranberries in the white skilletStir in the chopped cranberries and rest of the orange zest.

A red spatula in a white skillet shows how thick and jam-like the cranberry sauce isd jam-likeWhen it’s done, it should be thick and jam-like.

Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port in a glass jar with a red gingham lid resting alongside it on a wooden boardA word of advice: make any of these sauces ahead of time, as much as 1-3 weeks! They’ll be the better for it, sitting in the back of the refrigerator, awaiting their spotlight on the big day. Be sure to label the jar!

Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 4-6.

Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port

Skillet Cranberry Sauce with Port will be your easy, elegant, complex addition to the Thanksgiving table -- sweet and tangy, with bright orange and rich port flavors.


  • 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup port -- either ruby port or tawny port will work
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Kosher salt -- a pinch


  1. Pour cranberries into a large skillet. Remove about 1/2 cup of cranberries and finely chop them; set these aside.
  2. Add the sugar, port, half the orange zest and a pinch of kosher salt to the skillet and stir. Heat until mixture is simmering, then turn down heat to low, cover skillet and cook until many of the berries have popped and the sauce is thicker, about 6-10 minutes. Stir often during this time. Stir in the reserved chopped cranberries and the rest of the orange zest, and cook for 30 more seconds until everything is combined and jammy.
  3. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. If you're making it ahead of time (highly recommended!), spoon it into a lidded jar, cool and store in the refrigerator for a week or 2 until your special dinner day arrives!
  4. Serves 4-6.


Recipe source: Adapted from a recipe by Sarah DeGregorio in the New York Times.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Radha December 8, 2022 at 5:19 pm

Cranberry sauce is one of my favorites and this is bursting with flavors!


Christie November 19, 2022 at 8:37 am

Port is so delicious on it’s own. I can’t imagine how it tastes with the sweet tart cranberries.


Beti | easyweeknightrecipes November 17, 2022 at 8:23 am

I would love to try this!! It sounds amazing!


katerina @ November 17, 2022 at 8:22 am

This sounds incredibly delicious!! I love it!


Inger November 16, 2022 at 6:50 pm

I’m big on adding booze to fruit so I love this idea.


Catalina November 16, 2022 at 2:53 pm

This cranberry sauce looks so inviting! I can’t resist it!


Allyson Zea November 16, 2022 at 10:44 am

This is a family favorite – thanks for sharing!


Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert November 15, 2022 at 5:42 am

Looks totally amazing! Can’t wait to try this one!


Juliane November 15, 2022 at 4:31 am

Been eyeing on trying this one because of my mom! Can’t wait to finally give this a try! 🥰


Sandra November 14, 2022 at 9:35 pm

This is definitely going to be at my dinner table for Thanksgiving! Looks so good!


Hezzi-D November 14, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Yum! Love that you added port to the sauce.


Karen's Kitchen Stories November 14, 2022 at 5:10 pm

You are the cranberry sauce queen! My favorite one to make has port too!


Wendy Klik November 14, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Great to know that they are make ahead recipes. That is important during the holidays.


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