Cranberry sauce is a classic addition to the Thanksgiving Feast table. It’s also my second favorite holiday dish. Stuffing rates first. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about for this woman! But plopping a big old helping of cranberry sauce, right next to the stuffing on my plate, is one of the things that makes my feast day feel complete.

It’s sort of a shame that this dish is not a more common part of the daily diet. It can be prepared in a way that is reasonably healthy for you. And it goes so well with chicken, pork, and fish. But, for most of us, cranberry sauce is something we enjoy just a few times a year.

And it’s my position, that since this is the case, it should be pretty spectacular when I do indulge.

Homemade is the only way to go when it comes to cranberry sauce. It’s so much tastier than those awful little cans of sugar-laden, cranberry flavored gel that the grocery stores pass off as cranberry sauce. If you’re out there dropping your cranberry sauce out of a can, PLEASE STOP! It’s terrible for you. And it just looks sad 😦 I know because I spent many years doing exactly the same thing. And I never want to return to the days of sh*tty cranberry sauce.

This dish is easy tp prepare. And it can be made a day or two ahead of the big day. As a matter of fact, I recommend it! That way it’s one less thing you need to worry about on Thanksgiving morning. Just grab it out of the fridge and it’s ready to hit the table!

If you have plenty of help in the kitchen on the big day, you can easily prepare it right before dinner goes on the table and serve it warm. This move changes the cranberry sauce game completely. It’s the kind of change that’s pretty easy to get used to as well 😉

Personally, I eat it warm often. Not usually with my holiday dinners. But inevitably it gets served in my house, at some point in the holiday season, with some sriracha chicken ❤ The contrast between the heat of the chicken and the tartness of the cranberries is pretty darn delicious. Do give it a try!

Before I ever made my own cranberry sauce, I was fortunate enough to have a local grocer who made their own and sold it in their deli throughout the holiday season. It was through that recipe that my love affair with this dish began.

I haven’t lived in the same area as that grocer for about 8 years now. And I have to say that, while I’ve had some pretty good homemade cranberry sauces since I lived there, none of them could hold a candle to Mama Ricarrdo’s.

I’ve also made a few cranberry sauces since then. And some of them were really pretty fabulous. But I wanted a recipe that was just right for me. One that brought all of the elements I love about cranberry sauce into one dish.

The only way I know to make that happen for myself is to get to work in the kitchen. So, that’s just what I did! I worked until I was above and beyond pleased with the end result. And I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Mama Ricarrdo (she wouldn’t believe me anyway, LOL), but the recipe I’m sharing with you below is a notch or two above her own. I am even more smitten with this tart, tasty holiday dish than I ever was before.

Here’s the recipe I created if you’d like to give it a try yourself …


1 medium navel orange, peeled

2 tbls salted butter

1/2 c walnuts, chopped

1/4 c fresh maple syrup

1 bag of fresh cranberries, 12 ounce

1 cinnamon stick, 3 inch

1 bay leaf

1 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp orange extract

Separate orange segments.

Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Drop orange segments into the water for about 30 seconds. Quickly strain and allow to cool.

While your oranges are cooling melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Toss in the walnuts and sauté for 1 minute.

Slice the orange segments into thin slices while you’re waiting for your walnuts to cook. Then toss the orange pieces into the pot along with the maple syrup. This recipe is intentionally a bit tart. If you would like a sweeter cranberry sauce add more syrup. If you are using commercially processed syrup be careful with this step, as it is much sweeter than fresh.

Quickly add remaining ingredients and stir well. Turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover the pot and allow the sauce to cook until it begins to break down the cranberries.

Remove from the heat. Allow to sit covered for 15 minutes.

Pull the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf from the sauce.

If you are serving the sauce warm it is ready for the table.

If you are serving the sauce cold, allow it to cool completely. Place it in a covered container and put it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best.

This recipe serves 4-6 people. In a house of cranberry sauce lovers it is definitely a 4 person portion. Adjust amounts accordingly to serve your family/friends.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. I’d be honored if it became a staple in your house for holiday seasons to come. If you try it, please let me know what you think of it. I look forward to your feedback, for sure!

I’d love to hear about your holiday feast traditions as well. Perhaps, some of them can make their way to my table this season! So, let’s meet in the comments and chat all about it 😉

And … connect with me on facebook, instagram, and pinterest to stay abreast of any other happenings here at Bohemian Apothecarist.

As always, your presence is greatly appreciated. I adore that you are here. And I just know that we are going to have great fun together ❤

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