This maple bourbon cranberry sauce will beat anything that comes out of a can. Learn how to make this classic holiday condiment and the different ways you can punch it up to make it your own.
Maple bourbon cranberry sauce, how good does that sound?
Better than the sound cranberry sauce makes when it’s sliding out of the can, that’s for sure!
When I was a kid, it was usually my job to mash up the jellied cranberry sauce to make it more presentable for the table.
A few of us would put a polite spoonful on our plates and a couple of us, well, just my uncle, would say no entirely. I can’t blame him.
Really, who wants high-fructose corn syrup in their cranberry sauce anyway?
Making cranberry sauce from scratch seems intimidating at first, but it couldn’t be more simple!
MAPLE BOURBON CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE VIDEO
Here’s a little video tutorial walking you through how to make this classic cranberry preserve. I do things a little differently around here when it comes to my videos, so if you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more vintage-inspired tutorials!
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RELATED: How to Make Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
THE PERFECT CONDIMENT FOR POULTRY
What is it about cranberry sauce that makes it the ideal condiment for poultry?
I find that turkey can get awfully dry sometimes, so a condiment like cranberry sauce makes it easier to get down. Plus, cranberry sauce is tasty.
It’s sweet, it’s tangy, and if it encounters a river of gravy, all the better.
Cranberry sauce is terrific on chicken too, so really, it can be used any time of the year to turn a ho-hum chicken breast into something special.
Cranberry sauce sales shoot through the roof during the holidays, but there are folks who enjoy it year round. Are you one of those people?
Have you ever tasted a cranberry in its natural state? It’s going to make you pucker up, I’ll tell you that much!
Fresh cranberries are usually available around October, which is when those little plastic baggies of ruby berries are sold in the supermarkets.
It’s a different story once the holiday season is behind us, however.
Fortunately, it’s getting easier to find frozen cranberries and if you’re able to get your hands on those, they will work just as well.
I like keeping a bag of frozen cranberries on hand to throw into smoothies for a bit of kick.
CRANBERRY FACTS TO BREAK OUT DURING DINNER
Cranberries are full of antioxidants
Blueberries and huckleberries are closely related to cranberries.
They were combined with venison and fat to make pemmican by the Pequots of Cape Code.
Ripe cranberries bounce.
Cranberries grow on vines which are found in marshes and bogs. Sometimes these are flooded during harvest time, because cranberries float!
PLAYING WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE
While I’m thrilled that you’re here for my recipe, I also want to encourage you to play around with some modifiers to make this sauce your own.
Next to tasting, playing is my favourite thing to do in the kitchen. The way I see it if you’re following a recipe verbatim, that leaves no room for experimenting! The very best way to learn and grow as a home chef is through trial and error.
Cooking becomes so much more enjoyable when you give yourself the freedom to deviate from a recipe. Trust me, I know! I used to follow recipes to a tee, but somewhere along the way, I gained the confidence I needed to venture forth on my own.
I highly recommend Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s Flavor Bible if you want to learn which flavours complement each other.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
Swap out the
for sugar, only, double the amount of water.
Flavour it with orange juice and orange zest.
Play with different alcohol. My mom swears by cherry brandy and I love a good splash of Grand Marnier for that orange twist.
Experiment with herbs and spices. I like adding a cinnamon stick, but why not try
? Cloves? Red pepper?
Make it an apple cranberry sauce by tossing in chopped or grated apple.
Mince up some ginger and stir honey and chopped apricots in there.
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY SAUCE FROM SCRATCH
Start out by giving the cranberries a good wash. If you’re using frozen cranberries, you can skip this step entirely.
Next, add everything (except the bourbon) to a medium-sized saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Once that pot starts bubbling, turn the heat down to a simmer. The sauce will eventually thicken, and once it does, it’s time to add the bourbon.
Give it a taste, but be careful not to burn yourself!
Make any adjustments to the sauce as you see fit. If you want it sweeter, add more maple. Do you want to brighten it up? Squeeze in some more lemon juice.
If you’re feeling particularly cheeky (and I usually am), add a bit more bourbon to punch it up.
When you’re happy with your maple bourbon cranberry sauce, fish out the cinnamon stick and let it cool!
STORING THE CRANBERRY SAUCE
One of the things I love about cranberry sauce is that you can make it in advance.
I try to make a point of getting as much prep done as I can before the big day.
Cranberry sauce is one of those things I can make the week before the feast to reduce holiday-related stress.
All I have to do is stash it away in an airtight container, pop it in the fridge, and I’m good to go.
If you’re a fan of this recipe, you can even make a huge batch of it and can it!
MAKING MAPLE BOURBON CRANBERRY SAUCE
Have you made cranberry sauce from scratch before or is this your first time?
Are you doing anything differently? I want to hear all about your cranberry sauce experiments, so drop a comment or give me a shout on Instagram.
Also, what are your favourite ways to use up your leftover cranberry sauce? Do you enjoy cranberry sauce year-round, or do you reserve it for the holiday season?
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. I’m here to help!
SHOP THIS POST
Microplane Zester Grater (for the lemon zest)
MORE RECIPES FOR YOUR HOLIDAY TABLE
Homemade duck prosciutto (this makes a great appetizer and is ready in a week)
Skillet brussels sprouts with bacon and parm
Creamy potato and celery root puree (a tasty alternative to mashed potatoes!)
This decadent dark chocolate raspberry tart
Eggnog French toast with bourbon maple syrup (for the morning after)
MAPLE BOURBON CRANBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
8oz fresh cranberries
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
MAPLE BOURBON CRANBERRY SAUCE INSTRUCTIONS
Combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest to a medium saucepan.
Add the cranberries and cinnamon stick and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Once the sauce starts simmering and thickening, add the bourbon. If you're feeling cheeky, add another shot.
Once thickened, remove from heat, fish out the cinnamon stick, and allow to cool before refrigerating.
PRINTABLE MAPLE BOURBON CRANBERRY RECIPE CARD
Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 8 oz fresh cranberries
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1.5 oz bourbon
- Combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest to a medium saucepan.
- Add the cranberries and cinnamon stick and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sauce starts simmering and thickening, add the bourbon. If you're feeling cheeky, add another shot.
- Once thickened, remove from heat, fish out the cinnamon stick, and allow to cool before refrigerating
PIN IT FOR LATER
Love and gratitude,
I made this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner with a spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate instead of lemon. It was super delicious and so easy to make. I will be making this recipe from now on. Thanks Vintage Kitchen Vixen!
That’s such a great idea, using frozen orange juice concentrate. Cranberry and orange is a match made in heaven. I love that you gave the recipe your own fun twist! Thanks for the rating <3
Donald L. Kerr
Made this for Thanksgiving. It was a huge hit. We loved it. Will definitely make this again, soon!
I’m thrilled to hear it was a hit! Thank you for letting me know how it turned out for you 🙂
Can this recipe be canned?
My family keeps requesting this sauce! Thanks Vintage Kitchen Vixen!
I have a recipe for Christmas roast beef that calls for a can of whole berry cranberry sauce. This year it’s a wagyu roast with homemade cranberry sauce. Can’t wait to see how it comes out! Thanks for a great cranberry sauce!!!
I have used this exact recipe for the last 3 years – Always amazing! It always gets so many compliments. Thank you!!
Oh, wow, that’s awesome! I’m glad to hear it’s always a hit 🙂
Love this recipe! How long can it be stored in jars refrigerated?
It’s best if it’s consumed within a couple of weeks. If you want it to keep longer you can freeze it 🙂
Hi and happy thanksgiving! I’m wondering how much lemon/citrus juice is usually required? I’m going to be using fresh orange juice instead of lemon, and I don’t want to add too much! Thank you. So excited to give this a try!
I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you in time! The best thing to do is to add it in little by little to taste. I hope you had a happy thanksgiving!
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