Cranberry sauce is one of the most underrated Thanksgiving sides YES I SAID IT. We all lose our s*it over the stuffing and potatoes but nobody talks about that delicious sour sweetness of cranberries that mixes well with pretty much everything on the Thanksgiving plate. And as an added bonus: if the turkey comes out too dry, you can just mask it with the sauce (I myself am not a gravy girl, I know, unpopular opinion).
A classic Thanksgiving side with a twist!
I grew up eating the cranberry sauce from a can and not knowing any different. It wasn’t until I tasted my sister’s slow cooked sauce in recent years that I converted to team homemade. Though I will say- it does feel good to have a tiny bit of that can shaped jelly roll, just for nostalgia’s sake.
Cranberry sauce has to have the right amount of smack your lips tart followed up by some smooth sweetness to balance it, and this recipe has just that. I always put orange zest and juice in my cranberry sauce, but added apples this year because we have so many, and it just balanced that tartness out really nicely. I would choose a sweeter variety of apple like gala or fuji vs. a tart granny smith. Cooking the sauce low and slow allows those flavors to merry really well, and six hours is just enough time to get that cranberry sauce consistency before it becomes more of an apple sauce.
Inevitably there are always tons of cranberry sauce leftovers though, and I know folks get sick of eating it with turkey for multiple meals in a row. Here are some of MY favorite ways to use leftover cranberry sauce:
- In a yogurt bowl
- As a topping on pancakes or waffles
- Made into muffins or bars
- As a topping on other meats like chicken or pork
- Mixed into oatmeal
- Instead of jam on a bagel or english muffin
- In a peanut butter sandwich
- Heated up and poured over vanilla ice cream
- Made into salad dressing
…the possibilities are endless. How would you use your leftovers? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Want more Fall inspired recipes? Download my Holiday Recipe Ebook!
Cranberry Apple Sauce
- Crockpot or other slow cooker
- 6 cups cranberries
- 4 medium apples peeled and diced
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- Peel and core the apples, and dice them into chunks the same size as the cranberries. Place them in the crock pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot, mix well, and set it on low for 6 hours.
- When the cooking is finished, take a fork and stir the mixture. Smash any cranberries that still appear whole.
- Let cool on the counter 20-30 minutes and then in the fridge 1-2 hours before serving.