You're going to love this beautiful buttery fresh cranberry sauce recipe made with only a few ingredients. It is, of course, a perfect side dish for your holiday dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This sweet-tangy sauce can complement so many main dishes. Plus, leftovers taste fantastic when served as a fruit spread for breakfast or family brunch or when used as a topping on healthy desserts.
I make this beautiful ruby red condiment every year in the winter season when fresh bags of cranberries pop up everywhere in the store.
It's not just something I prepare to fill up the Holiday table. I am always keeping a jar or two of this jam-like sauce in the refrigerator and using it as a breakfast spread—I told you that I have a soft spot for anything sweet and tarty.
Cranberry sauce or spread is so easy to make from scratch. But what I love the most about these punchy berries is how much room they leave to experiment with their flavors.
It's amazing how a few simple ingredients transform these powerful tangy berries into something delicious.
- The buttery consistency comes through in this fresh cranberry sauce recipe;
- While fresh clementine juice adds natural sweetness and coconut sugar a hint of caramel;
- And if you really want to take it up a notch, and you love a touch of alcohol in your food, a nod of Brandy adds a bit of complexity, especially if you like this condiment to compliment your meat dishes.
You only need a few ingredients to make this fresh cranberry sauce recipe.
It is that time of the year when fresh cranberries and clementines beautifully give color to the produce section at grocery stores.
Clementines are especially juicy and sweet around the Holiday season and, therefore, a lovely option to naturally balance cranberries' tartness.
You only need one cup of fresh clementine juice (the juice of about 6 clementines) to help pop open the cranberries over the stove.
I love my cranberry sauce on the more tangy side, but the rest of my family likes it a tad sweeter, which I accomplish by adding some coconut sugar.
This type of sweetener is now available at almost every grocery store (even at Walmart and Home Goods). Otherwise, get it online.
Like maple syrup, it adds a lovely caramel-like flavor and a mildly sweet taste to the sauce without overpowering it.
Always taste test and add more the the recommended amount, if you love your cranberry sauce or spread on the sweeter side.
If you plan to add a bit of Brandy then I suggest to add at least half a cup of coconut sugar to even out the intensity of the alcohol in the sauce.
Note: Don't have any coconut sugar, or don't use it that often, replace it with brown sugar.
If you want to know the real secret of this delicious fresh cranberry sauce recipe—it's butter. Real butter, in the end, balances out the sweet and tart flavors and adds that irresistible creaminess to this spread.
It is just the magic in this recipe, in my humble opinion. Make sure to use unsalted butter, though.
Want to keep it vegan? Try a buttery tasting coconut butter.
Cranberry season is short—from October to January— and I try to buy them fresh during that time of the year.
You can also buy them in bulk by the end of the season when they are on sale and freeze them for later use. Rinse frozen cranberries in cold water and use them like fresh cranberries in recipes.
For storage, I prefer to use mason jars with an airtight lid. After cooking, I immediately transfer the sauce to the jars. Once slightly cooled, seal them and store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.
How to use cranberry sauce in everyday healthy recipes
A fresh cranberry sauce or spread is so much more than a simple side dish on a fancy Holiday table. At home, I enjoy it in a variety of ways. I literally can't stay away once I have a jar or two in the fridge.
- The consistency of this homemade sauce is almost of a buttery fruit spread. It tastes great on toasted farmer's bread, French toast, or as a topping on your Sunday pancakes or waffles (try it out with my Gluten-Free Buckwheat Waffles with warm Cinnamon and Vanilla.)
- It pairs well on a slice of my orange clove butter bread.
- My daughter loves our peanut butter and cranberry sandwiches. It goes well with any nut butter.
- It adds a delightful sweetness as a topping on yogurts mixed with some crunchy homemade granola.
- Or add it to chia seed puddings, then top it off with pecans for a quick breakfast during the week.
- Serve a couple of spoons to my flourless rich chocolate brownies. Dare even to add some vanilla cream.
- It is divine with seed crackers and a soft ash goat cheese—a lovely crowd pleaser. I am crazy about the super seed crackers from Mary's Gone Crackers.
- Add it can replace the rhubarb compote in my Sweet Rhubarb-Rosemary Biscuits. It adds such a unique flavor, and these biscuits are super easy to make.
- A delicious fresh cranberry sauce also adds a lovely sweet-tartiness to meat dishes, especially chicken, and of course, turkey.
These are just a few suggestions, but reasons enough to make this recipe more often than only around the Holiday season.
How to make this cranberry sauce
Check out our Video: my daughter loves to help me in the kitchen and pretend that she is feeding her stuffed animal friends while cooking. As the cranberry-clementine sauce is simmering on the stove, I keep an eye on it while playing our safari tour.
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- 2 tablespoons organic butter or coconut butter (vegan-friendly)
- 12 ounces or 340 grams organic fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup fresh clementine juice (about 6 clementines)
- ¼ cup coconut crystals or ½ cup if you prefer a sweeter sauce or spread
- 2 tablespoons Brandy (optional)
- In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add the cranberries and stir to coat them with the melted butter.
- Bring the mixture to a steady simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, frequently stirring, allowing the cranberries to pop open. Don't let it come to a boil.
- After 5 minutes, or when most of the cranberries have popped open and started to become mushy, reduce the heat to low.
- Stir in the juice and the coconut sugar. Optional: add Brandy.
- Bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until berries have broken down and somewhat thickened, occasionally stirring. Crush any unpopped cranberries with a wooden spoon during stirring.
- Taste test and add more sugar for a sweeter taste, if preferred.
- Remove from stove and allow the spread to cool.
- Enjoy immediately or transfer to glass jar containers.
- Seal and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Note: if you add Brandy, you will need at least ½ cup of coconut sugar to add enough sweetness.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.
(Note: this post was initially published in February 2017. This post has been updated to include new info and photos)