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Thanksgiving’s Best Cranberry Sauce
My absolute favorite meal of the year – Thanksgiving. I’m going to do you a favor – I’m going to share the recipe for Thanksgiving’s Best Cranberry Sauce with you. Unless your family doesn’t enjoy cranberry sauce, they will love this recipe and ask you how you did it. You’ll be in charge of cranberry sauce for years to come. Not. Kidding. When people ask who makes the best cranberry sauce – they’ll point to you!
As soon as the weather turns just a little chillier, and talk of the holidays starts to fill my Pinterest feed, I’m all about getting on that bandwagon and prepping for the holidays. I’m one of those people that likes to plan out every aspect of my holiday in advance. The same person that strolls the aisles of Hobby Lobby WAY in advance of holiday time, and tests Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes all year long.
The history of cranberry sauce:
If you’d like to learn a little about the how having cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving came to be you can do so on Martha Stewart’s site where she can tell you much better than I! I didn’t even think about the history of cranberry sauce until I came across her article. Cranberry sauce is a staple for most Thanksgiving tables throughout America, and one that my Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t ever be without. It’s not only perfect on Thanksgiving day, but on the days to follow. It’s part of every post-Thanksgiving day sandwich I make, on the side of turkey croquettes, and anywhere else I can fit it in. I’m a cranberry sauce lover through and through, and I’m hoping that my recipe will make you one as well!
Cranberry Sauce is super easy – and this is the easiest and best cranberry sauce!
For some reason people tend to get overwhelmed with the thought of making homemade cranberry sauce. I remember when I was as well! We ALWAYS had the cranberry sauce out of can at Thanksgiving growing up – and I loved it. I did. The big, solid jelly like roll that plopped onto the pretty crystal dish my mom would serve it on. (I know you can hear that sound right now while reading this, lol). I loved it, and I never had any intention of changing what was served, until I was asked to bring whole berry cranberry sauce to a Thanksgiving celebration. I figured there was no time like the present to see what I could do, and once I did – I was hooked.
I love it when you start to hear the cranberries popping in the pot. Once you dissolve your sugar in your orange juice – you add the cranberries and slowly cook it! When you realize that all it takes to make homemade cranberry sauce is a few simple steps, you probably won’t go back. (And I’ll never, ever, ever admit that I have a can of the jellied stuff in my pantry. Not ever. 🙂
There really are only two rules to making sure your cranberry sauce is good.
- Rule 1: When you zest the orange, make sure you only get the orange zest, none of the pith. The pith will make your sauce sour. (In case you don’t know – the pith is the white part)
- Rule 2: Cook the sauce slowly so not to burn it. I know you’ll be tempted to just let it rip, but don’t let it happen. The sauce needs time to develop flavors.
Go ahead and make it ahead!
This side dish tastes best the day after it’s made, so go ahead and prep early. You can actually make cranberry sauce several days early if you’d like. It’s never a task that I leave until Thanksgiving day. After it has cooled, just place the sauce in a pretty dish, cover it up and you’re all set for Thanksgiving. Also, take a look at these make-ahead holiday side dishes that I’ve included in a blogger roundup – you’ll love so many of them! The holidays are always less overwhelming the more prep you do. In fact, that would be the biggest piece of holiday entertaining advice I have for you – prep ahead of time.
It’s also something nice to bring along as a hostess gift around the holidays. Make the cranberry sauce, place it in a mason jar, and attach the recipe. Just make sure your hostess knows that it needs to be refrigerated. She’ll be happy that you took a task off of her shoulders when feeding her family this holiday season!
Here’s a hint – make two!
The first year I made this I learned an important lesson. You can’t put just one bowl of this stuff on the table. You need one at each end, and perhaps a third for backup, so usually I double, if not triple the recipe. If you need to use leftover cranberries you can make this Christmas Cranberry Nut Pie – good any time of the year!
They’re going to love it. I love it so much that I not only make two for Thanksgiving dinner, I also make a third. For day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. What would a leftover sandwich be without cranberry sauce? You can even enjoy warmed cranberry sauce on top of some cinnamon swirl pancakes or pecan french toast.
Do yourself a favor and add this recipe to your recipe box. You won’t be sorry. After serving it this Thanksgiving, you’ll be asked to make it again! And guess what? I won’t tell. You can tell your guests you just “thought it up” on your own. Nobody needs to know.
If you are searching for other fun holiday ideas take a look at these posts – all about Thanksgiving and how to make hosting it a breeze:
Enjoy your holidays, and let me know how your cranberry sauce turns out! I’m hoping that your family enjoys it as much as mine, and that this recipe becomes part of your families holiday tradition!
- 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- Zest of 2 medium sized oranges
- Pinch of salt
- In a pan set to medium high combine water, orange juice, and sugar
- Bring ingredients to a slow simmer. This will combine your ingredients.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, add your cranberries, orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
- Lower your temperature to low.;The cranberries will start to pop.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.;Let cool and store in the fridge.
- Take out 1/2 hour prior to serving.
Cranberry sauce is best served at room temperature.