10 Fresh Cranberry Recipes That Aren't Sauce!


These native American berries shine in recipes that go far beyond the classic sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. From sauces fit to dress a moist turkey prepared using our complete tutorial, which you can download here, let cranberries star in drinks, desserts, salads, main courses, and salsas with our favorite recipes.

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Cranberries are synonymous with Thanksgiving. Dreaming up ways to show off these native North American fruits is one of the pleasures of planning that festive meal. Because of their staggered harvest (with crops ripening across the country and on opposite coasts at different times), fresh cranberries are in season from early fall and available through late winter, thanks to their excellent shelf life.

Look for bright-colored, firm cranberries in the produce section. Avoid bags that have brown or shriveled berries at the bottom. Store in the original packaging for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to one year in the freezer. To prep, rinse and discard any discolored or soft berries; if frozen, there's no need to thaw before use.

Cranberries are tart and complex, beautifully suited to every aspect of any cold-season meal, and versatile enough to deserve more than that once-off annual and obligatory seat at our holiday tables. Cranberries have the personality to define and carry off every course from bright cocktails through refreshing appetizers and salads, savory entrées and sweet desserts.

The puckering tannins and tartness of cranberries are a boon to mixologists and cooks, who can use the fruit to add sourness and balance where they are needed. The relatively dry nature of the acidic berries also turns them into sponges for absorbing sweetness without becoming cloying. The crimson berries are as beautifully suited to long, slow braises, as they are to simple skillet-bakes and luscious French toast.

And they make that iconic scarlet sauce. But classic cranberry sauces and relishes are not only an essential side on the Thanksgiving table: They are powerhouses of flavor in a pantry's arsenal. Give them starring roles on cheese boards, in sandwiches, and in the pan juices of your favorite roast or quick sauté.

Read on for our round up of cranberry recipes.

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Cranberry Cider Punch

Apple Cider, Cranberry, and Ginger Punch

Cranberries offer the essential acid element to a chilled and festive winter punch, with warming aromatic ginger beer and fresh apple cider.

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Cranberry Clafoutis

Cranberry Clafouti
Yunhee Kim

A simple winter riff on clafoutis, a French dessert most often made with cherries in the summer. Here, the creamy custard is gorgeous with the bright contrast of refreshing cranberries.

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Chicken with Cranberry Sauce


Succulent roasted sheet pan chicken is cloaked in a lusciously savory cranberry and herb sauce. As an added bonus, the sauce is perfect for leftover turkey, too!

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Cranberry Avocado Salsa


In this brilliantly simple reimagining of classic salsa, cranberries boost the sour volume. The contrast between creamily green avocado and the bright fruit is arrestingly pretty.

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Cranberry Cobbler


An easy cranberry cobbler baked in a cast iron skillet is rustic and delicious. Even better, it takes just minutes to assemble.

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Braised Brisket with Cranberries


Supported by red wine and richly aromatic molasses, cranberries cook down with brisket to make a comforting one-pot wonder meal for a cold night.

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Cranberry Dressing for Red Cabbage Slaw


This vivid dressing is made mouthwatering by the combination of fresh cranberries and smoky maple syrup. The red-on-red of the slaw and the dressing are the perfect colorful antidote for long winter nights.

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Cranberry and Maple Bread Pudding


Classic bread pudding is given a seasonal make-over via the winter weather combination of maple syrup and tart cranberries. A crème fraîche batter adds delicious complexity to each mouthful.

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Cranberry and Pearly Onion Relish


The natural sweetness of pearl onions is emphasized by brown sugar and tamed by sour cranberries, orange, and vinegar. This relish is wonderful with strong cheese, on creamy avocado toast, and adds oomph to pan juices.

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Cranberry and Port Sorbet

cranberry port sorbet

The velvet roundness of port together with tart cranberries makes a luscious, ruby-hued sorbet. It's just the right way to end a warming winter meal that needs a light but memorably beautiful finish.

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