Giving Thanks With Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is awesome, are we in agreement? If you hesitated because I didn’t specify canned or homemade, a bonus point for you! (This point has no real life value).

I admit to enjoying canned cranberry sauce. I like the whole process.

  1. Opening the can.
  2. Turning it upside down.
  3. Hearing the “whooosh” as it slides out of the can in a tall cylinder shape with the imprint of the can for all to see.
  4. Enjoying the tower of cranberry goodness before smushing it down with a fork.
  5. Eating it with turkey and anything else it comes in contact with on your Thanksgiving plate.

Canned cranberry sauce

I appreciate the canned stuff and it’s good, HOWEVER, it doesn’t taste like cranberries, it’s crazy sweet and not tart like a fresh cranberry.

Enter homemade cranberry sauce. I’ve made it a few times with various recipes and each time it’s been a hit. The whole process is fun, listening to the cranberries burst in the pot, to watching it get all jelly-like and tasting an incredible mix of sour and sweet (because you get to control the sweetness factor).

I was in New York over the Canadian Thanksgiving (yes it’s different from the American one) and I was invited to join some friends of mine to their Thanksgiving dinner (a mixed couple – 1 Canadian/1 American). So with my limited access to cooking up something big, I decided to freestyle some homemade cranberry sauce. The true beauty of making homemade cranberry sauce is that you really can’t go wrong. Play around with what you like and I’m confident it’ll turn out great! It’s not overly complicated and it’s always a big hit. Everything homemade always is!

Across the Border Grapefruit Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 grapefruit – I did a very rough supreme (segments) of the grapefruit
  • 1/2 of the rind of the grapefruit – cut into small pieces (my thinking was that if I cooked it down enough, it would soften and be mild enough to actually eat. I liked the taste and texture of it, but you could definitely zest it in as well without worrying about biting into a big chunk of rind!)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • few drops of vanilla extract (precise!)
  • few shakes of cinnamon (precise again)


  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, mix the orange juice, honey and brown sugar in a pot until sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the cranberries, grapefruit, rind, vanilla and cinnamon to the mixture and stir until the cranberries begin to pop.
  • Once they start to pop and explode. Take the pan off the heat, cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
  • Don’t be concerned if it looks too liquidy (It may not be a word, but it is now). It begins to come together when it’s off the heat.
  • Give it a taste, you definitely can sweeten up at this point if it’s too tart, but enjoy the cranberry goodness.
  • I usually transfer it to a bowl at this point and wait for it to cool down before placing it into the fridge and then it really comes together.
  • Slather on everything and happy Thanksgiving wherever you’re from.

For what it’s worth, having Thanksgiving with new and old friends once again proved my theory right. It always tastes better with friends.

Picture courtesy of one of the new friends from the evening

P.S. There was a crazy good stuffing made with croissants and 6 pounds of butter or something, my goal is to get that recipe for you!


1 Comment

Filed under Brown Sugar, Grapefruit, Thanksgiving

One response to “Giving Thanks With Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  1. we always make our cranberry sauce with orange juice, but I will now embrace the grapefruit too. and we have embraced a stuffing recipe from Ace Bakery (awesome cookbooks!) with apples, cranberries and leeks. now I’m sad that I missed Thanksgiving at home. ..

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