This ginger cranberry sauce recipe adds a warm and spicy kick to your meal. It’s also easy to make ahead and serve with the rest of your holiday menu.
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Although canned products are convenient, fresh cranberry sauce has an unbeatable taste and texture. Making homemade cranberry sauce is easy because you add everything to a pan and it transforms into a thickened sauce with little effort! This ginger cranberry sauce version is packed with fresh ingredients to make the flavor pop.
Whole berries simmer in maple syrup, orange juice, spicy fresh ginger, and a cinnamon stick. The ginger and orange infuse sweet and spicy notes into the sauce. It’s a simple side dish ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it can be made days ahead of the big feast.
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries to make the sauce. In the United States, 12-ounce bags usually appear mid-October in the grocery store’s refrigerated section. One bag is the perfect amount, making about 1 ½ cups of cooked cranberry sauce.
Rinse fresh berries with cold water to remove dirt and debris from harvesting. Some berries may have gotten squashed or bruised, so discard them. Depending on when they were picked, some batches are more tart than others. If desired, add more sweetener at the end of cooking.
Prepare the ginger
Grab a fresh ginger root, peel off the skin and finely mince. Mincing will leave smaller pieces in the sauce, which is delicious if you like a hint of lingering spiciness. You can also use a kitchen grater like a microplane to break down the root into a paste that infuses quickly into the sauce, with a strong, pungent taste and fewer fibers.
Simmer the sauce
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer over medium-low heat. As the cranberries simmer, the berries will start to pop! The popping is from the steam being released from the core of the berry, which bursts open the ruby-red skin. Make sure to stir occasionally, to distribute everything for even cooking.
As the berries cook in the orange juice and maple syrup, pectin is released. This process helps to naturally thicken the sauce as it mixes with the acids in the berry and sugar. The citrus oils in the orange zest and sweet spices from the cinnamon stick infuse into the sauce. The longer the simmering time, the thicker the sauce will be. The process takes about 15 minutes.
To take some stress away from your big Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, make the cranberry ginger sauce up to 1 week ahead. After cooking the sauce, cool it to room temperature. Then you can transfer it to an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can even be frozen for up to three months and defrosted before use.
Serve this with
- Roast turkey
- Slow cooker turkey breast or roast turkey breast
- Green beans with bacon
- Mashed potatoes
- Classic stuffing
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Cornbread muffins
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Add ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger for every 1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger.
Cranberries contain healthy nutrients like vitamin C, a polyphenol called proanthocyanidins, and bioactive flavonoids. It’s the main ingredient in cranberry sauce, which is gluten-free but does contain sweeteners to balance the tart flavor of the berry. You can substitute low-carb sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol if you are looking for a lower-in-sugar or keto cranberry sauce option.
The natural pectin in the berry will be released into the sauce, which helps to thicken the texture. You can simmer the sauce longer if you want an even thicker consistency. The sauce will thicken more as it cools down, and the pectin becomes more rigid.
It must be balanced with a sweetener like granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Use at least ½ cup and up to 1 cup of sweetener for every 12 ounces of whole cranberries. Adjust with more sweeteners to your liking.
How you cut ginger impacts the taste
Finely mincing fresh ginger releases spicy and warm flavor into dishes—the smaller the pieces, the quicker and stronger the flavor impact. To add a pronounced and lingering taste to the base, add a tablespoon of the minced root. You get a burst of ginger flavor with each bite. If you prefer a milder flavor experience, add one to two 1/4-inch thick slices, and remove them before serving.
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Ginger Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces cranberries, washed
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
- ½ cup maple syrup, or honey
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick, optional
- Prepare Ingredients – Add the cranberries to a colander and wash with cool running water, set aside. Finely mince the ginger.
- Combine Ingredients – In a medium pan, add cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice, zest, ginger, and cinnamon stick.
- Simmer Sauce – Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens to a jam consistency, about 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more sweetener if desired.
- To Serve – Discard the cinnamon stick. Cool the sauce before serving.
- Recipe Yield: About 1 ½ cups
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Storing: Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; defrost before use.
- Sweetener: Granulated sugar or brown sugar can be used. Add an extra ¼ cup of orange juice or water to the recipe.
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