My Favorite Childhood Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 7 years old.

Cranberry Compote. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Cranberry Compote

All Photos: Wendy Goodfriend

Even though I grew up in the 70s, and the can-shaped cranberry “sauce” (gel) graced our Thanksgiving table for as long as I can remember, there was always at least one or two other cranberry options up for grabs. This is the version that fell in love with as a child (which is not to say I didn’t eat my fair share of the canned version). Tangy-sweet, with bits of fresh cranberry, I love the hint of orange. For me, Thanksgiving just isn’t right without it.

If you like, personalize your sauce with one of these yummy additions:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • A pinch (or more) of hot pepper flakes
  • Spice it up with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Chopped, sautéed apples (about 1 to 2 apples)
  • Chopped, seedless peeled tangerine segments (about 2 tangerines)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Cranberry Compote ingredients. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Cranberry Compote ingredients

Recipe: Cranberry Compote

Makes about 2 cups


  • 14 oz (about 4 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice


    1. Put the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan. Stir to combine, then place over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries soften and pop and the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

  1. The compote can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.