Basics + How-To's Recipe Index

Easy, Spiced-Up Cranberry Sauce


Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Can you believe it? Throughout November, I’ll be excitedly sharing my most beloved family Thanksgiving dishes with you, counting down to the big day. I’ll also share tips for simplifying the holiday cooking madness, and ideas for American expatriates like me who love this holiday, but don’t have all the seasonal ingredients at the ready.

My doctored up cranberry sauce felt like the right place to start: it’s perfect for expats who can’t find fresh raw cranberries, or anyone who wants an easy way to turn the plain old jarred stuff into something special.

I grew up spoiled by my mom’s fresh cranberry and citrus relish every Thanksgiving. When I moved abroad and fresh berries weren’t stocked cheaply in stores, I felt my only alternative to her fresh, flavorsome treat was the the jellified, can-shaped red blob of my nightmares.

Little did I know that with a handful of aromatics and an open mind, even the most basic packaged cranberry sauce could be made delicious and praise-worthy. Plus, whole cranberry sauce can now be easily found in jars, containing only cranberries, water and sugar (thank you Ocean Spray!).

Save your precious cooking time for the pie doughs and game birds that need your TLC. This simple but sophisticated makeover packs the warm, tart and spicy flavors of even the best homemade original, without any of the effort.

1 275g (~9.5oz) jar whole cranberry sauce
Zest of 1 lemon
Scant 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
Optional: 2 star anise pods
Optional: splash of Cointreau
Place the cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon. Grate and add the fresh nutmeg and ginger, and if using, the whole star anise pods. Let sit on the heat for 2-3 minutes to warm through. Add the splash of Cointreau, if using, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until flavors combine.
Remove star anise and serve warm. Alternatively, store the sauce in the fridge, in its original jar and serve cold as a spread on post-Thanksgiving everything sandwiches.
Audio pairing: Two Door Cinema Club, “Something Good Can Work”

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  • Reply El 08/11/2011 at 3:22 am

    It’s cranberry season here so I definitely appreciate your recipe. Thanks!

  • Reply Turmericnspice 07/11/2011 at 3:58 am

    love the color the spices and the fresh look . First time at your blog and love the recipes and the fresh look !! very refreshing

  • Reply Lady Grey 06/11/2011 at 2:44 pm

    Oooh that sounds delicious! I just made cranberry sauce for the first time this year, and it was great… but next time I think I might try this spiced up version!

  • Reply Winston 06/11/2011 at 1:46 pm

    Man I LOVE this! Bookmarked this can’t wait to make this with my Turkey this Christmas! I like that it’s made with storebought, but not really woo hoo. Thanks for this!

  • Reply tasteofbeirut 05/11/2011 at 2:41 am

    Love the idea of a splash of Cointreau!

  • Reply SavoringTime in the Kitchen 04/11/2011 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you very much for your visit, Yasmeen! I also can’t believe Thanksgiving is so close. Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things with turkey. This sounds like a wonderful recipe – thank you!

  • Reply Hotly Spiced 04/11/2011 at 9:28 pm

    You’re making me wish we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Australia. That’s a beautiful and vibrant looking cranberry sauce.

  • Reply penny aka jeroxie 04/11/2011 at 3:51 pm

    christmas turkey! love this sauce and the magic tough you added to it.

  • Reply Von 04/11/2011 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve never had cranberries before…. 🙁 But I love the idea of giving something nightmarish such a wonderful makeover! It looks delicious and I’d love to have a taste 😀 Now to fnd some cranberry sauce…..haha 😀

  • Reply Jennifer (Delicieux) 04/11/2011 at 8:01 am

    I really can’t believe this year has gone by so quickly! Love your cranberry sauce, and the touch of Cointreau you’ve added!

  • Reply Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy 04/11/2011 at 12:10 am

    Ooh I have been really into turkey sandwiches on dark rye of late, I think I will make this to add to them!

  • Reply Gerlinde in Dallas 03/11/2011 at 8:11 pm

    Hmm..the addition of anise and Cointreau is something I will try this year!

  • Reply Emily Malloy 03/11/2011 at 7:36 pm

    Oh, this has me so ready for Thanksgiving.

    This is perfect 🙂

  • Reply Lauren's Latest 03/11/2011 at 4:35 pm

    I love jazzing up store bought ingredients! Makes thanksgiving a breeze!

  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 03/11/2011 at 11:34 am

    I love all the little touches you added to make cranberry sauce from a jar, something special. I’m not familiar with Thanksgiving, but looking forward to more of your posts on the subject! 🙂

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