Holiday Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce with holiday spices.

Cranberry sauce has always been a top favorite Thanksgiving side of mine. But, I’ve always been put off by how much sugar you typically find in this Thanksgiving staple.

On one hand, I get it. You need the sweetness to balance the tart bitterness of cranberries. But there’s got to be a better way right?

That’s what led me to this recipe. I tried to balance the use of sugar, opting for honey and a bit of brown sugar, but also added natural holiday spices to tone down the tartness of the cranberries. The end result is a semi-sweet, still tart, and spiced up take on cranberry sauce using cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and just a hint of chili powder. The spices work perfectly to help bring done the bitterness of the berries. Which has me toying with future concepts (chipotle cranberry BBQ sauce anyone?)

Notes: You can always up the brown sugar, honey, and or spices depending on preferred level of sweetness vs. tartness.

Time You Need

  • ~10 minutes
  • Yields: ~7-8 servings

What You Need

  • 4 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp clove
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or fresh orange juice
  • ½ tsp of orange bitters

What You Do

  • Start by rinsing cranberries and draining excess water. Toss out any mushy cranberries.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, water, juice, bitters, honey and brown sugar.
  • Stir well and then bring to a boil over medium high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, while stirring occasionally.
  • Continue to cook until cranberries begin to pop, around 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and season with cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, and clove. Stir mixture together and taste. If it’s too tart for your liking, add a bit more brown sugar or splash of apple cider until desired sweetness is achieved.
  • Note: sauce will thicken as it cools, reheat as needed. The cranberry sauce should keep for 3-4 days in a covered bowl in the fridge.
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