Make Cranberry Sauce In Your Slow Cooker And Avoid Watching The Pot

Few things better mark the arrival of autumn and the winter holidays like fresh, crimson-colored cranberries. If you live in a region with endless acres of wet-harvest cranberry bogs, you know they're a sight to behold, especially when the fields are flooded to set the berries loose and bobbing.

Cranberries have an inherently tart taste that denies them pop-in-your-mouth popularity. Nobody's complaining, though, since they shine in dressings and condiments like cranberry sauce. Unfortunately, transforming those berries into a sauce can be a time-consuming process, as it requires near-constant pot-watching — that is unless you know the slow-and-easy secret to making cranberry sauce ahead of time, which actually tastes better if it sits overnight or even for several days.

The magic tool for making delicious, perfectly simmered cranberry sauce is your trusty workhorse slow cooker. The sauce may take a while to reach its full glory, but it's surprisingly simple to make: You can just dump fresh or frozen cranberries into your slow cooker along with some other ingredients and leave it all largely unattended. It requires an occasional peek and stir, but you're otherwise free to go about your business while the tantalizing aromas permeate your home.

Convert your cranberry sauce recipes to slow-cooker goodness

When using a slow cooker to create your own cranberry sauce, there's no need to worry about the usual steps. This means you don't have to watch a boiling pot to see when the berries burst, and you don't have to regulate the pot's temperature between boiling and simmering.

This method does technically require four hours of cooking, which is much longer than standard stovetop times of about 15 minutes. Since the slow cooker is essentially self-sufficient, however, you'll be free to focus on other meal components while it sits. Just set an hourly alarm for stirring the evolving sauce, which will thicken as it reaches completion.

Many mouthwatering cranberry sauce recipes easily convert to the slow-cooker method, and a fun part of making any cranberry sauce is personalizing it with delicious additions such as nuts, raisins, and spices. Sugar is a must for most recipes, and you can mix it up between white, brown, raw, coarse, or turbinado, per taste and personal proclivities. Add vanilla extract for a tinge of sweetness, or make your own smoky rendition with cumin spice and smoked chipotle peppers. For a spicy fruitcake persona, slip in some bourbon, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and maple syrup.