Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

Cranberry sauce is an essential part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Even though we don’t have the traditional roasted turkey on our table, I take pleasure in preparing the classic Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. I particularly appreciate its vibrant color and tart flavor, which complement a wide range of sweet and savory recipes. I enjoy using it as a cocktail base to kick off the festivities or incorporating it into appetizers for our holiday gathering, such as baked brie with cranberry sauce or cranberry sauce and goat cheese tartines. It can also add a delightful touch to dessert when drizzled over vanilla ice cream. This year, I’m reinventing the simple recipe by switching the technique. Introducing: Roasted Cranberry Sauce!

Roasted Cranberry Sauce

Roasting Technique for making the Cranberry Sauce 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I prefer making cranberry sauce from scratch rather than using the jarred or canned varieties. While I’ve always prepared it in a saucepan on the stove in the past, this time, inspired by a successful experiment roasting strawberries in the summer, I decided to roast the cranberries in the oven for this sauce. The results speak for themselves! Just look at that beautiful deep pink color and the wonderfully smooth texture.

Roasted Cranberry Sauce

Roasting vs Stove-top Cooking

Now, there are both pros and cons to making the sauce in the oven. While it does take a bit longer due to the need to preheat the oven and about half-hour roasting time for the cranberries, you’re free from the need to constantly monitor a stovetop pot. The end result is a sauce with an intense, slightly smoky, and deep flavor, thanks to the roasting process. Personally, I found this method quite appealing and plan to continue using it in the future. If you’d like to follow it, please refer to the step-by-step guide and the short recipe video I’ve put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

Certainly, if you prefer, you can dump all the ingredients in my recipe below in a saucepan and make the sauce on the stovetop faster, by bringing it to a boil and simmering for about 15 minutes. However, don’t forget to stir occasionally while it’s on the stove!

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Roasted Cranberry Sauce


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: 2 Cups 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen whole cranberries (see Variations)
  • 1/41/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on your preference for sweetness
  • 1 medium navel or valencia orange
  • 45 sprigs of thyme, leaves separated and stems discarded (see Variations)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
  • Transfer fresh or frozen cranberries to a baking dish. No need to thaw, if using frozen ones.
  • Add the zest and juice of the orange along with sugar, thyme leaves and salt.
  • Toss well and roast in the oven for 25-30 mins.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool a little, for about 5 minutes.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the cranberries to your desired texture for the sauce.
  • I like mine to be smooth, but you can separate a few cranberries and then mash the remaining before adding whole fruit back into it for a combination of thick sauce with a few whole berries in it.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature (see Notes for serving suggestions and storage information).

Keywords: Quick & Easy, Oven Roasting

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Transfer fresh or frozen cranberries to a baking dish. No need to thaw, if using frozen ones. Add the zest and juice of the orange along with sugar, thyme leaves and salt.

Step: 2

Toss well and roast in the oven for 25-30 mins.

Step: 3

Take it out of the oven and let it cool a little, for about 5 minutes.

Step: 4

Using a potato masher, mash the cranberries to your desired texture for the sauce.

Step: 5

I like mine to be smooth, but you can separate a few cranberries and then mash the remaining before adding whole fruit back into it for a combination of thick sauce with a few whole berries in it. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

How to Store

Store in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How to Freeze

You can freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container for up to 3 months. Beyond that, the taste may get altered due to its water content.

Multiple Uses

Use it in appetizers like baked brie with cranberry sauce or spoon it over vanilla ice cream for dessert or use it as a base for the cocktail.

Recipe Variations

Substitute cranberries with fresh or frozen pitted cherries and orange with lemon to make Roasted Cherry Sauce. You can use or skip the thyme. Either way, it would be a wonderful topping for your pancakes, waffles, ice creams, brownies, pound cake or cheesecake!

You can use fresh rosemary in place of thyme. Rosemary and cranberry are a classic flavor combination that is perfect for the holidays. The pine-like herbal notes of the rosemary balance the tartness of the cranberries.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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