Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce

I’ve been a spoiled brat when it comes to food and my childhood. My Pops took good care of me: Fresh sashimi, homemade beef jerky, and fried calamari for a after-school snack when I was in second grade (yeah, yeah, yeah). So it’s no secret that our family never reached for that purply-grey gelatin from the can when it came time for our turkey dinner. My dad always had fresh cranberries boiling down on the stove. Rich in color and the most amazing texture that only comes from homemade cranberry sauce.


The things that I think makes a good cranberry sauce:

  • Flavor: Not too sweet, but with a good amount of tart and tang. 
  • Color: Rich and bright! Just like cranberries are meant to be.
  • Texture: Firm enough to scoop with a spoon, not too runny/juicy, and good chunkiness to give you something to chew on.

So for my first Thanksgiving in NY in 2008, I wanted to make him proud and make this for our Friendsgiving dinner. He passed on his recipe and it didn’t disappoint. It met almost all of my criteria “cranberry sauce wish list,” but this year, I decided to revisit this dish. About four years later (and a little more chopping and sautéing under my belt)–I’ve decided to add a bit of a spin on it. Spiced things up a little and added a richness with a little maple syrup to round out the flavor. I have to be honest, I was pretty darn happy.




  • 1 Package or approx 12 oz. of fresh, whole cranberries
  • 1 Orange, juice and zest
  • ½ Cup of white sugar
  • ¼ Cup of water
  • 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup
  • ½ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon ground cloves
  • Small pinch of salt


  1. Rinse your cranberries and place in a medium pot.
  2. Add orange juice, orange zest, water, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. Turn on heat and bring your contents to a slight boil. Reduce heat and keep an eye on it as it simmers.
  4. Sauce will reduce and thicken for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remember that it will also thicken a little more once cooled and popped into the refrigerator over night.


It smells like Thanksgiving and tastes even better on a buttered corn muffin for breakfast the next morning. (SHHHH–don’t tell my Pops that I think my recipe is better. ;D)