Savory Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce is a condiment that seems to be required by law for every Thanksgiving dinner, although it seldom appears at other times of the year and practically never without its BFF, roast turkey. While not everyone is a fan of cranberry sauce, to give the stuff its due, there's a chance the haters may only have experienced the super-sweet canned version, which really doesn't do the sauce justice.

This cranberry sauce, as the descriptor "savory" implies, is one that Christina Musgrave describes as "less sweet than a regular cranberry sauce" as well as being "a great twist on traditional cranberry sauce." What makes it so twisty, apart from the reduced sugar, is the fact that she uses chicken stock and cranberry juice in which to cook the berries. The stock, in particular, is something she feels "helps balance the tartness of the cranberries and adds a savory flavor," while the additional cranberry juice intensifies the fruit's tangy flavor. The result is a truly delicious sauce that, against popular belief, can be served any time of year.

Collect the ingredients to make the cranberry sauce

To make the cranberry sauce, you'll of course need cranberries. If you're making this recipe in the fall or winter you might be able to find fresh ones, but Musgrave notes that "either fresh or frozen cranberries work in this recipe," so you can make it in the middle of summer if you've had the foresight to stash a bag in the freezer.

The cooking liquids, as previously mentioned, are a combination of chicken stock and unsweetened cranberry juice, while the flavorings include a cinnamon stick, thyme, sage, rosemary, brown sugar, and salt.

Simmer the liquids with the herbs

Pour the chicken stock and cranberry juice into a large pot and add the cinnamon, thyme, sage, and rosemary. While fresh herbs are preferred, Musgrave does say "you can use dried herbs, 1 teaspoon of each" in place of the amounts specified here. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer it for 10 minutes.

Cook the cranberries

After the liquid has simmered for a sufficient amount of time, strain out the herbs and return the cranberry juice/stock combination to the pot. Stir in the cranberries, sugar, and salt, and simmer the sauce for 25 minutes over medium heat. As the sauce simmers, the cranberries will burst, and eventually the sauce will become nice and thick.

Let the sauce cool

Once the cooking time is up, turn off the burner and let the sauce sit until it has cooled slightly. Musgrave tells us that the sauce can be served warm (but not hot), but it's also good at room temperature. She also says that turkey isn't the only thing this cranberry sauce would complement, as she feels "this would be a great sauce to serve over grilled or baked chicken." Its tartness might also help to offset the richness of roast pork.

Savory Cranberry Sauce Recipe
4 from 55 ratings
Say goodbye to overly-sweet cranberry sauce, and say hello to this delicately balanced, savory cranberry sauce instead.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cranberry sauce in white bowl
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 sage sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ΒΌ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine the chicken stock, cranberry juice, cinnamon stick, thyme, sage, and rosemary in a large pot or saucepan.
  2. Bring these ingredients to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer them for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the herbs out and return the liquid to the pot.
  4. Stir in the cranberries, sugar, and salt, and simmer the sauce for 25 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  6. Serve the cranberry sauce warm or at room temperature.
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