This post may contain affiliate links. By browsing this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use.

Take your Thanksgiving table to the next level this boozy Bourbon Cranberry Sauce recipe! Sweet, tart cranberries simmered with honey, fresh orange juice, and a splash of bourbon for additional vanilla bean and oak notes that complement the fresh berries and add depth of flavor. 

Closeup of homemade bourbon cranberry sauce in serving bowl with fresh cranberries and orange slices garnish.

Save this Post!

We'll email this post to you, so you can come back to it later!

Why You'll Love this Cranberry Sauce

  • Traditional cranberry sauce with a twist! Regular ol' fresh cranberry sauce is very good and a classic for a reason, but this bourbon orange cranberry sauce is exactly what your holiday table needs. Bourbon contributes notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, which adds depth and richness to the cranberry sauce, creating a more elevated holiday sauce. 
  • It's still cheap. The canned variety is cheaper than making it from scratch, but as far as vegan Thanksgiving recipes go, this bourbon cranberry sauce recipe is one of the cheapest! In fact, you can make this boozy version from scratch for less than $5. The extra few bucks to pick up a few simple ingredients is worth the flavor of fresh! 
  • Make ahead friendly. If you're like me, you like to make the actual holiday as easy as possible. Cook this easy bourbon cranberry sauce 1-2 days ahead during Thanksgiving week, then simply reheat over low heat on the stovetop, or even in a mini slow cooker to the side. 

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for bourbon cranberry sauce measured and labeled.
  • Cranberries: Both fresh cranberries and frozen cranberries work well in this recipe.
  • Liquid sweetener: I like to use either honey or maple syrup, but agave nectar would work well too. I do not recommend using artificial sweeteners as I do not have experience cooking with them and cannot confirm they will thicken in the same way a natural sweetener will. Additionally, please avoid using granulated sugars like white sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar. This cranberry sauce recipe will be too thick without the added liquid from a liquid sweetener. 
  • Bourbon: Don't use your top shelf, good stuff when cooking. The best bourbon to use is a mid-range option that's still quality, but affordable. 
  • Orange: Fresh orange juice and orange zest add essential citrus flavor and enhance the flavor in the tart cranberries.  
  • Spices: You'll need ground cinnamon and ground ginger add warmth and aromatics that complement the vanilla notes in the bourbon. If you love the flavor of cinnamon, you can simmer the cranberry sauce with a whole cinnamon stick, too.  

How to Make Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients in pot.
Texture of cranberry sauce after 10-15 minutes of cooking.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst, the alcohol has cooked off, and the sauce has thickened. If needed, you can use a potato masher to help mash and burst the cranberries.  
  2. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with additional fresh orange slices, and enjoy warm, chilled, or as desired! 
Texture of cranberry sauce after 10-15 minutes of cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Aside from serving as a classic Thanksgiving dinner sauce and side dish, this bourbon cranberry sauce can be enjoyed or repurposed in a number of ways! In fact, homemade cranberry sauce is something I make year round with frozen cranberries. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it: 

  • Sandwich spread: Turn your holiday meal leftovers into a hearty sandwich and use the cranberry sauce as the condiment spread! The sweet and savory combination works beautifully. 
  • Yogurt or ice cream topping: Spoon a warm spoonful of cranberry sauce over your favorite yogurt and vanilla ice cream. 
  • Oatmeal topping: One of my personal favorites! Swirl it in to my Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats or serve it on top of these Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats with additional fruit and maple syrup.
  • Pancake, waffle, crepes, or french toast garnish: Perfect addition for holiday breakfasts on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's day. See this cranberry sauce on top of my Overnight French Toast Casserole here!
  • Salad dressing: Turn your cranberry sauce into a Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette with a few simple additions. 
  • Cocktail: Repurpose the cranberry sauce into a holiday cocktail, such as this Cranberry Smash Cocktail or Old-Fashioned Cocktail.
Bowl of cranberry sauce garnished with fresh orange slices.

Make this Recipe Cheaper

  • Use frozen cranberries. Frozen fruit is almost always cheaper than fresh cranberries. Frozen cranberries work in almost all cranberry recipes, too!
  • Buy generic brands. When pricing the cost of this recipe, I noticed that the cost of name brand cranberries, such as Ocean Spray or Cape Cod Select were double and triple the price of the generic, store name bags of cranberries.
  • Reduce or replace the bourbon: Instead of 1/4 cup bourbon, use 2 additional tablespoons honey and 2 additional tablespoons of fresh orange juice. 
Bowl of cranberry sauce with a serving spoon in bowl and garnished with fresh orange slices.
Home-Cooked Roots Logo

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cost: $4.84 per recipe / $0.61 per serving
Take your Thanksgiving table to the next level this boozy Bourbon Cranberry Sauce recipe! Sweet, tart cranberries simmered with honey, fresh orange juice, and a splash of bourbon for additional vanilla bean and oak notes that complement the fresh berries and add depth of flavor. 

Equipment

  • Saucepan

Ingredients
 

  • 12 ounces cranberries fresh or frozen ($1.50)
  • ½ cup honey ($1.97)
  • ¼ cup bourbon ($0.88)
  • ¼ cup orange juice freshly squeezed ($0.44)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest freshly grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ($0.03)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger ($0.02)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst, the alcohol has cooked off, and the sauce has thickened. If needed, you can use a potato masher to help mash and burst the cranberries.  
  • Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with additional fresh orange slices, and enjoy warm, chilled, or as desired!
Last step!Please consider Leaving a review + commenting letting me know how you liked this recipe!
  • Bourbon: Replace with 2 tablespoons liquid sweetener and 2 tablespoons orange juice.
  • Honey: Can use maple syrup or agave. I do not recommend using artificial sweeteners as I do not have experience cooking with them and cannot confirm they will thicken in the same way a natural sweetener will. Additionally, please avoid using granulated sugars like white sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar. This cranberry sauce recipe will be too thick without the added liquid from a liquid sweetener. 

Notes

This recipe makes about 2 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g

Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Did You Love This Recipe?

Rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 1 vote

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this cranberry sauce in advance of Thanksgiving dinner?

Yes. In fact, I recommend it as the flavor deepens over time (like a good pot of chili!). Simply prepare the recipe as instructed 1-2 days in advance, let cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container, such as a glass mason jar and refrigerate. Then, when ready to serve on Thanksgiving day, reheat in a small pot over low heat until warmed through. Keep the heat extra low – this will prevent it from over-thickening. 

How long will this cranberry sauce keep?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, this sauce will keep for up to 1 week. For prolonged freshness, store in an airtight container, preferably glass. 

Is this cranberry sauce freezer friendly?

Absolutely! Freeze leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container, freezer safe bag, or individual portions in Souper Cubes for up to 2 months. 

Closeup of final cranberry sauce.

Photography by: Your Home, Made Healthy

More Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes To Try

12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook page.
12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook cover.

Wallet-Friendly Recipes & Smart Shopping Tips in Your Inbox

Plus get a free cookbook with 12 Dirt Cheap Dinner Ideas that’ll cost you $2 or less per serving.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

leave a comment

I love to hear from you. Submit your recipe questions or review here and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

related recipes